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Contents Part One. Earth Construction: Methods and Materials Introduction: Earth as a 'Green' Building Material Some terms used in the environmental assessment of building materials and construction methods 1 The performance of earth based materials 5 Chapter One. Earth Building in Britain - International Context and Historical Background British earth building in an international context: A brief history 8 The earth building revival 10 Earth buildings in Britain - types and distribution 12 Earth walling types 14 Wet mix laid in situ (cob and mudwall) 15 Mud and stud 17 Clay lump 18 Rammed earth 19 The distribution of earth buildings in Britain 20 Ireland 20 Wales 22 North West England/South West Scotland 23 North and East Scotland 24 Lincolnshire 25 East Midlands 26 East Anglia 27 Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire 28 South and South West England 29 Summary 31 Chapter Two. The Raw Material: Soils for Use in Building Earth as a construction material 34 Classification of Soils 36 Soil classification in detail: identification, analysis and testing 39 Identification of soil type 40 Particle size distribution 41 Sedimentation analysis 43 The clay fraction 44 Soil consistency 45 Soil expansiveness 47 Compressive strength 48 Soil Density and porosity 51 Clays and aggregates, including chalk 52 Stone and gravel 52 Sand 53 Silt 54 Clay 54 Chalk 57 Chapter Three. Earth Construction 1: Preparation and Mixing Constructing mass earth and earth block walls 61 First, find your soil... 61 Soil stabilization 63 Modifying soils 65 Storage of soils on site 68 Soil preparation and mixing 68 The use of organic fibre reinforcement 70 Wet methods - cob, cob blocks, clay lump and adobe 72 Cob mixing 73 Mixing procedure for adobe, clay lump and cob blocks 76 Fabrication of mud bricks and cob bocks 78 Compaction methods - rammed earth (pisé) and compressed soil blocks 80 Rammed earth 80 Compressed soil blocks 82 Foundations and plinths (underpin courses) 82 On-site access and safety 86 Chapter Four. Earth Construction 2: The Building Process Cob wall construction 87 Tools and equipment 87 Forming door and window openings 87 Placing the cob 88 A note on shuttered cob 90 Placing the cob (continued) - fixings and structural Supports 91 Notes concerning shrinkage and settlement in Mass earth walls 95 Fireplaces and chimney stacks 96 Building with rammed earth 98 Formwork 99 Methods of compaction 105 Building with earth blocks and clay lump 108 Earth based finishes for earth walls 111 Composite earth/lime renders 113 Mixing and application 115 Paint finishes 117 Chapter Five. Standards and Regulations Introduction 118 Planning legislation, policies and guidance 119 Building Regulations 122 The Building Regulation Approved Documents 123 Approved Document to support Regulation 7 - Materials and workmanship 125 Approved Document A - Structure 127 Approved Document B - Fire safety 131 Approved Document C - Site preparation and resistance to moisture 134 Approved Document E - Resistance to the Passage of sound 137 Approved Documents L1 and L2 - Conservation of fuel and power 138 Technical standards and codes of practice for earth wall construction 149 Part Two. The Conservation, Repair and Maintenance of Earth Buildings Introduction Historical background - public perception of earth buildings 152 Why preserve earth buildings: the need for conservation. 155 Statutory protection 156 Chapter Six. The Principal Causes of Failure in Earth Walls and How to Recognise Them Inherent defects associated with original construction materials and methods 159 Walls, plinths and foundations 159 Roofs, carpentry and other building elements 162 Problems arising from later alterations and interventions 166 Alterations to roofs 166 Alterations to walls 168 The use of inappropriate materials and ineffective repair methods 169 External interventions 169 Internal alterations 174 The need for maintenance 177 Physical damage from external sources 178 Ground settlement (subsidence) 178 Plant and rodent damage 179 Erosion, abrasion and impact damage 180 Dampness in earth walls and associated building Materials 181 Wall finishes - plasters, renders and paints 184 The measurement of dampness in earth walls, plasters and renders 186 Hygroscopicity, soluble salts and freeze/thaw conditions 188 Determination of critical moisture content in earth walls 189 Chapter Seven. The Diagnostic Survey and Repair of Earth Buildings A suggested diagnostic survey procedure for earth Walled buildings 193 Checklist: Characteristics and features of building and Site to be recorded 194 1. External environmental conditions 194 2. Details of original construction 195 3. Later alterations, repairs or inappropriate maintenance 195 4. Condition of building 196 5. Suggested procedure for dampness surveys 198 6. Analysis and testing of earth samples 199 The repair of earth buildings Principals of repair 200 Appropriate repair materials 202 Making buildings safe, specifying repairs and monitoring dampness 204 The repair of hollows, cavities, minor surface erosion and abrasion 207 The repair of structural cracks and fissures 209 The repair of severely eroded areas, rodent and plant Damage 213 The re-building of walls following major structural failure or partial collapse 215 Repairing failed masonry plinths, underpinning, replacement of failed brick and stone facings, installation of land drains 221 Organisations 224 References and Bibliography 226 Index 232
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