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RE: Straw House structural values

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Stan
Send it to me with some information about it and about building it and
I'll post it on the Alternative Housing section of the Structuralist
Public Forum (this is what the forum is for). 
I suspect that one of the reasons you got it through plan check was
because of your qualification. Your lateral system is the metal frame
building so the Strawbale are working as an infill. I don't see anything
wrong with this, but the clients I have had who were interested in
Strawbale were not educated in the need for shear resistance and thought
I was being overly conservative by suggesting a primary shearwall system
(as I mentioned, I designed it to accept either a Simpson Strongwall cut
into the bales with a chainsaw (or a Hardy Frame as an approved
alternative). Instead of a steel system, the architect / owner had
exposed beams and round bark stripped columns. He too salvaged much of
the wood, doors and windows. 
I did not finish the project and recommended it back to another
engineer. My main problem was the offset of the Strawbale walls at the
second floor and the problem with transferring shear down to the first
floor when nothing lined up. Also, the house was constructed in Anza -
an area up in the mountains and the site was on sandstone. We designed
part of the foundation to be directly installed into the sandstone rock
outcropping.

I would assume it is finished, but I don't know how he resolved the
shear problem.

Stan, you have a thing for Unreinforced or old structures :>) I'll be
the Strawbale came out nice. They do make excellent southwest style
homes because of the thick walls. 

Send the information via e-mail and I will be happy to post it.

Dennis S. Wish, PE
California Professional Engineer
Administrator - The Structuralist.Net
Website: 
http://www.structuralist.net
 
Professional Forum: 
http://www.structuralist.net/cgi-local/yabb/YaBB.cgi
 
Public Forum on Housing: 
http://www.structuralist.net/cgi-local/yabb2/YaBB.cgi
 

-----Original Message-----
From: sscholl2(--nospam--at)juno.com [mailto:sscholl2(--nospam--at)juno.com] 
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2001 7:16 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: Straw House structural values

My house is in Fallbrook which is in San Diego County. I started with a
conventional metal rigid frame building and used the straw bales as
infill wall elements. The second floor is supported by the bales. To
facilitate some architectural elements, I have portions of the bales on
edge while most are not. 

 I got my permit about two years ago with no trouble and also had no
trouble with the building inspectors.  It is on a 2.5 acre site. It has
a
stucco exterior and drywall interior. The windows are steel frame from a
50 yr. old school in LA.
The house was not less expensive to build. I did it as a hobby project.
I
have it for sale now for $350,000.
I can send a photo or two electronically to anyone who is interested.

Stan

On Mon, 3 Dec 2001 18:43:50 -0800 "Dennis Wish" <dennis.wish(--nospam--at)gte.net>
writes:
> Stan,
> 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
> Website: 
> http://www.structuralist.net
>  
> Professional Forum: 
> http://www.structuralist.net/cgi-local/yabb/YaBB.cgi
>  
> Public Forum on Housing: 
> http://www.structuralist.net/cgi-local/yabb2/YaBB.cgi
>  
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: sscholl2(--nospam--at)juno.com [mailto:sscholl2(--nospam--at)juno.com] 
> Sent: Monday, December 03, 2001 8:02 AM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> 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
> I
> know of. The State of Calif. set certain standards and the local
> building
> 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)juno.com
> 
> 
> 
> 
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