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Subject: re: straw bale homes

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The strawbale wall assembly has mesh reinforcment in the plaster skins and thewall acts as a composite structure (think airplane wing ??)  the proposed appendix to the code refers to being able to use a part of ACI 318 where the wall assembly can be modeled as a restrained , thin shell, reinforced concrete element - an this is proposed for all types of plasters including hemp mesh reinforced earth plaster. This is all heavy engineering thinking to a childhood story
   and yes, most have designed have wood framed post and beam gravity load systems and wood framed roof diaphragms and all that I have designed have a steel braced frames on each wall line (Hardy Frames). So to make construction easy any not count on a stucco guy to do structural work.   this also makes the neighbors think you building a giant cabana  This is some of what it takes to build in high seismic areas in California - that's why engineering is required for thoes wacky owner builders who think straw is the new gold. bottoms up!!
Tim Rudolph
Not to rain on the nursery school rhyme parade, but I have a few minutes to kill before I haul out of here for happy hour... But isn't the logical choice of straw, wood, or bricks, going to be wood? Of course, I am assuming the properly designed wood structure would have the correct load path and uplift connections, clearly detailed for the same language speaking field framer. I am also assuming a single wythe brick construction with no grouted reinforcement. We know how that does in seismic and not much better in wind. Had the piggies had time to do double wythe brick with reinforcement, different scenario. But with the wolf on the way, permits were circumvented, uplift straps ommitted, no load path, improper or no nailing, and the Category 4 wolf winds brought it down.
Have a great weekend and Turkey Day next week, I have a Tucher with a slice of orange with my name on it!
Andrew Kester, PE
Principal/Project Manager
ADK Structural Engineering, PLLC
1510 E. Colonial Drive, Suite 301