The suitability of Rammed Earth as a Construction Method in the UK as a Sustainable Building Technique

Haining, Thomas, A (2016) The suitability of Rammed Earth as a Construction Method in the UK as a Sustainable Building Technique. [Dissertation]

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Earth construction is a very interesting building technique, throughout the world there is a wide selection of different methods to choose from. It has strong historical traditions, but has all the necessary qualities to become a more popular building method in the UK due to the finite amount of readily soil available.
The aim of this dissertation was to study what rammed earth construction actually is, and understand if the UK has the means for this type of construction. The study focused on certain aspects of earth construction in order to comprehend what process is involved and why rammed earth is not a common building material in the UK.
The areas to be analysed are; development of rammed earth technology, advantages and disadvantages of using stabilised rammed earth in either EU regions; western regions and rammed earth technology in UK construction for residential purposes.
Quantitative research methodology was chosen for the investigation as this allows the chance to investigate and discover the views from individuals within the construction industry.
The dissertation study identified a number of areas as to why UK house building firms do not favour earth as a modern building material compared to other solid wall construction.
Due to very little legislation there appears to be a lack of knowledge regarding the material and techniques that can be used to construct earth walls. Developers are not aware of the potential earth building could have on the construction industry in the UK. From the data collected, there appears in some of the questions asked that contractors just made assumptions, such as with funding/insurances or earth construction not complying with the Building regulations.
However, there were observations that were encouraging and that have significance regarding the future of rammed earth construction within the UK. The literature review suggested that earth might be considered a ‘novelty’ idea due to the process involved in constructing it and its generally uncommon use. The responses from the questionnaire survey proved this untrue.
Overall if National standards were to be produced it would only benefit the use of rammed earth as a construction material.

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