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With only a little water to form a very stiff mud, a large Lump is roughly moulded into the shape

of a huge elongated egg. The usual size is anything between 12 to 18-inches, (30 to 40 cm) long and about 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. A row of these cobs of mud are laid neatly side by side, preferably somewhat pressed together. Then another row of cobs is laid on top. When three or four courses have been laid, one above the other, the sides are smoothened over so that the holes and cracks disappear.

This technique has been used all over the world since memorial times Adobes are made of thick malleable mud, often added with straw. After being cast they are left to dry under sun. They are traditionally either hand shaped or shaped in parallel piped wooden moulds. Adobe production has been industrialised in Western USA. Several states in USA have codified adobe making and its construction.

Wattle and daub method is an old and common method of building mud structures. There bamboo and cane frame structure support the roof. Mud is plastered over this mesh of bamboo cane and straws.

After being excavated, the soil is thoroughly sieved, to break the lumps and make it lighter. Big rocks should be removed but some stones could be kept. This method has developed from the cob wall so as to standardize or regularize the thickness of the wall. It is also an attempt to increase the strength of the wall by ramming it. Two parallel planks are held firmly apart by metal rods and clips or bolts, or by small crosspieces of wood. Stiff mud is thrown in between these two planks and rammed down with either a wooden or metal ramrod.

This chapter mainly tells about the problems associated with earth construction and is divided into four parts according to the various stages of a building process: 1. Designing 2. Construction 3. Maintenance 4. Demolition/reuse Now, there are innovations, detailing and some necessary precautions that can overcome those problems, limitations and make earth construction as a viable system for building.


When building with earth, one should pay a lot of attention of the management of resources and raw materials. Top soil should be scraped away, so as to be re-used for agriculture or gardens. Sieve the soil preferably in the quarry: the waste soil can be re-used on the spot to finalize the landscaping. One should always plan how the excavation would be used afterward. Design the quarry (area and depth) according to the future use of the hole. various possibilities for the use of quarries: as water harvesting ponds, waste water treatment ponds, pools, basement floors or shallow Biological wastewater treatment depressions which are used for landscape design,, etc . Various stages of making blocks from raw materials Sieving Measuring Dry mixing Humid mixing Moulding Initial curing First stacking Final curing Final stacking

The roof frame must be built strong enough to support the weight. The best earth tiles are made with stabilized soil Also, wooden strips or metal rods (called stringers) must be placed in the roof at close enough intervals so that each tile rests on two stringers, either directly or indirectly. Tiles are often made with a lip or groove near the upper edge so that they will be positioned securely on the stringers. Earth tile have also been used for roofs. They can be pressed in a block making machine by using fillers.

There is an alternative where pivoted windows are used where there is no need of wooden frames and so the windows are directly attached by pivots to the two sides of the walls.

Rammed earth houses can be built in one of three basic ways. Individual, rammed earth bricks can be formed and used with standard building techniques; in fact, such bricks may be used to form the floors in a rammed earth house built with other techniques. Oxide flooring is used nowadays by which various colored flooring can be produced from earth techniques. Rammed earth flooring with covering of wooden blocks and strips are also a good solution to achieve flat floors from earth.

CSEB walls and the introduction of stabilized walls for rammed earth has given more easy ways of making large openings of various shapes and sizes.

The joint of the wall with the plinth has to be carefully designed so that the rainwater can flow down unhindered without entering the joint between wall and plinth.

One method of preventing rain from coming into contact with a loam wall is to provide it with a roof overhang. A sufficiently high plinth (30 to 50 em) can protect from splashing rain. Solutions Band C may be acceptable in areas with little rain. Solution D is common, whereas E and F show perfect designs for combating this problem.

Loam elements which act as infill between floor joints also provide sound and thermal insulation. In Hungary in 1987, Gernot Minke developed load-bearing infill elements with cement-stabilised lightweight loam. various designs for load-bearing floor panels were developed at that time.

As loam plaster is susceptible to mechanical impact, corners should preferably be covered by wooden profiles, baked bricks or similar lippings.