We are looking at land in Southern Spain that has a strawbale roundhouse built 6/7 years ago. It is Nebraska method (bales supporting the roof - no timber frame) with a reciprocal log roof.
During that time it has only been partially rendered. The inside and the eaves under the roof have been left as bare straw and there are holes in the floor. There is some evidence of animals in the straw including a birds nest under the eaves outside and wasps in the roof logs.
No evidence of water damage right now in boiling August - it is hot summer Mediterranean climate close to semi-arid in Summer but with cool damp winter months - some frost in January.
We are assuming the only solution here is to take the building down to the base, get rid of the straw, make good the floor, treat all the timber and start again.
Would everyone agree? Would anyone consider trying to treat it standing - and if so, how?! I realise this might be tricky without pictures...
not necessarily so , if the straw has no damage from water, I'd clay slip it all , then apply a lime render as per normal and regarding the timbers , without seeing them they are difficult to give advice on. One could go round tapping them with a light hammer to check for rot / soundness and treat as necessary.
I’ve shared my house with many a bird, or mouse. Last year I had a wall full of wasp. Just opened the wall and remuded. The timbers are treated with nothing more than a light coat of lindseed oil. A natural method of construction should be forgiving. It is easy to over think things.
If you are unsure of the structural integrity of the bales, I'd definitely dismantle and rebuild - no matter how safe the method is, it's not worth the emotional toll of constant worry and fear of collapse(not to mention the danger of an actual collapse!)
If the concern is only aesthetics/preservation of the materials, I'd fix as is standing, like the others mentioned.
Best of both worlds? Add adequate timber framing along the interior of the bale walls and resurface the existing bales; if you do end up having issues you know the house won't collapse on you.