Is Straw Bale Construction suitable for Self-Builders in Britain?

Written by Jakub Jirku

britThe aim of this study is to assess the suitability of straw bale construction for self-builders in Britain. In this study self-build refers to projects which are either physically built or managed by their owner. The projects range from garages and workshops to two storey family homes. Before introducing straw bale construction the study first examines the history of self-build in Britain and why people choose to self-build. A review of available literature has been carried out to appreciate the resources available to would be straw bale self-builders. In order to assess the suitability of straw bale construction for self-builders however it is necessary to consider the experiences of those who have followed this route. Six case studies have been selected and analysed in order to provide primary evidence regarding the success of straw bale construction.
The six case studies vary in size and ambition but all fit the defintion of self-build set out above and use straw bale construction for the majority of the building. Each case study has been presented and then the success of the projects has been analysed under the headings of design; planning permission and building regulations approval; sourcing of materials; the build; and after the build. The study concludes that straw bale construction can be suitable for self-builders in Britain but that it has certain limitations which need to be taken into account during the planning and preparation of any project.

A dissertation submitted at the Welsh School of Architecture in partial fulfilment of the degree of M.Arch, 2007’





About the author

Jakub Jirku