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RE: Straw House structural values

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I've had the opposite experience in Riverside County with Strawbale. My
experience was (and I posted this to the list) with an Architects design
and not with a prescriptive method for Strawbale design. Riverside
County is not normally difficult to pass alternative styles of
construction and I know of a two story SIP project under construction
now that would not have been allowed for use in Los Angeles. 
However, the feedback I received from Riverside County plan checkers on
the Strawbale project was a request for adequate testing based on cyclic
loading unless I wanted to design an alternative lateral restraining
system (which I did). 
They were also concerned as they had a couple of Strawbale projects
under construction. In their opinion, it is more of an Owner/builder
type project and in the case of the projects they currently had, the
owners had been building the homes for more than one year each. They
were frustrated that construction constantly became delayed for one
reason or another (usually financial) and believed that although they
wanted to help an owner who wished to build an alternative style home,
they wanted it done expediently and felt that this was not happening. 
The building official was so frustrated with the considers of the
projects that they had, that he indicated how reluctant he was to issue
another permit.

I'm not sure what was issued to the state for prescriptive construction
methods, but what testing has been done that you know of to justify the
materials for use in a high risk zone OR is it simply assumed to be a
post and beam structure with straw infill and a separate lateral
restrained system?

Dennis S. Wish, PE
California Professional Engineer
Administrator - The Structuralist.Net
Professional Forum:
Public Forum on Housing:

-----Original Message-----
From: sscholl2(--nospam--at) [mailto:sscholl2(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2001 8:02 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Straw House structural values

I have designed and built a two story straw bale house in Fallbrook, CA.
There is a lot of information available if you search "straw bale" or
similar places. There is no problem getting a permit in So. Calif. that
know of. The State of Calif. set certain standards and the local
dept. "shall issue a permit" if you follow the standards. 
However I have no idea what you are talking about with "clay". You use a
concrete foundation. 
For other information you may e-mail me privately. 
Stan Scholl, P.E.
Laguna Beach, CA      sscholl2(--nospam--at)

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