Win a copy of 5 Acres & a Dream this week in the Homestead forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Mike Haasl
  • James Freyr
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
  • Kate Downham
  • Jay Angler
  • thomas rubino

Form Blocks from Australia

Posts: 46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I found these guys for a while, then "lost" them while their site was undergoing some restructuring.  This is pretty fascinating to me.  They use a mixture of earth and up to 10% concrete.  Here is some information from their website

     FORMBLOCK is a wall building system in which stabilized earth,  or concrete blocks are cast in-situ to produce a solid load bearing wall. In use now for over 15 years in a range of conditions throughout Australia and New Zealand, it has been thoroughly tested by professionals, architects and owner builders.

The FORMBLOCK method significantly reduces the labour required  to produce an earth wall to only fraction of that compared to adobe (mud brick) or pisé (rammed earth) methods of earth building. As the handling of the earth material is minimised, by the in-situ nature of block making. Once the blocks are poured, the wall is effectively complete, with no further need of on going maintenance.

Making the FORMBLOCK system a cost effective and affordable method of masonry wall construction.

The FORMBLOCK Wall Kit  requires no expert skill, it is easy to use and simple to understand and is ideally suited to tradespersons, owner builders, and handypersons, alike.

This is a completed house made using formblocks

Their website is at

I have been fascinated by earth building for a long time, since I first heard of Rammed Earth.  I am a long way from building my own place right now, and plans continue to percolate in my head.  I am now considering a mixture of PSP and Formblock.

One thing interesting to me is they have been making a mixture of up to 10% concrete work for casting their blocks.  I had understood that was not very workable, but they have been doing this for a while, and it seems to be working fine for up to 15 years for some structures.  Sure, there are rammed earth structures hundreds of years old, but I think they'd know by now if their system wasn't working.

Stop by their website and check it out.


Posts: 31
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It seems only thought is why use blocks.  Wouldn't custom forms that span the length of the walls be less work.  Blocks are good if you moving them, i just don't see the point.  Why make mortar weakness in the wall for no apparent benefit?

I don't know , just posing a question.
Posts: 20
Location: Edge of the World - PNW
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I realize this is a dormant thread, but thought I'd chime in anyway. I too followed the FORMBLOCK stuff for a while but concluded that their mold system was too expensive, unless you plan on building a number of structures.

Instead I looked at homebuilt molds that would give similar characteristics. What I came up with is very similar to what the guy in this blog used:

Scroll down to where he is building the garage to see block details. The molds are inexpensive and easy to build from wood and provide key-ways at the ends to interlock blocks as they are cast.

Reasons for not casting too-big blocks - avoids cracks from shrinkage and it keeps the mix size manageable. It also produces the esthetically pleasing and familiar appearance of block construction.
Posts: 861
Location: Bendigo , Australia
dog homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have been involved in many earth houses.
I have not seen this system but I see merit in it.
For reasons that include;
- blocks are heavy to lift to the wall
- filling a small mould is easier
- there will no be a discernible weakness at the joins because the soil will naturally stick a bit.
- small sections can be done at a time, which is good for owner builders
- larger moulds often require air operated hammers to compress the soul, whereas a smaller drop hammer , slammer will be OK in theses forms.
I wish to win the lottery. I wish for a lovely piece of pie. And I wish for a tiny ad:
Permaculture Technology Jamboree: June 29th-July 10th, 2020, Wheaton Labs
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!