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[Cob] An good example of why we need a cob building "standard"Deborah Terreson foodandart at comcast.net
Sat May 26 08:56:09 PDT 2007
Ocean, don't get all bent out of shape about cracks (Now granted, I don't know how big they are so this may seem a bit cavalier on my part - if so, my apologies). In many instances, codes aren't the panacaea for building problems, in fact they can allow for a lot of dishonesty in building quality - I've got 27 years in the building trades, working in brand new homes, the kinds being stapled together, and please believe me, you see enormous amounts of structural failure and stress in these new ticky-tacky, crap-built modular blight eyesores being foist off on the homebuying 'consumer'. Caveat Emptor. Had one house I was in some years ago - a 5,600 Sq. Ft. McMansion w/ a 500,000 dollar plus price tag on it, and TWELVE weeks after the drywall went in, the house split at the peak, front to back by 2 inches, because the front corner of the foundation, which was built over a changing layer of sand/clay substrate, compacted and settled. Cracked right through. The 'builder' fixed the problem by covering the walls with an extra layer of 1/4 inch drywall, threw a vented roof crown cap across the peak, finished the wall in the basement to hide the crack and called it 'good'. The buyer never had a clue as to the crap construction. Alas, this was/is one of the more minor building problems I've seen covered up in my time. I've seen it in multi-million dollar homes built by some of the best firms in this area (Seacoast New Hampshire). I can't even count the number of homes and developments put up in the 80's that are now falling down and in terrible shape - mostly due to poor architectural design and cheap building materials - but hey! It's got the proper number of wall studs and joists and everything to code and all hunky-dory. I mean the code enforcement officer has the plans and measured everything so it's all good, right? Hoo-boy! Never mind that they're made of pressed particle-board and mill scrap glued and sistered together to make the right length. Sub-flooring made of lightweight MDF - the kind that compresses in two years and Mr. Homeowner's got a rippled kitchen floor, or ceramic tiles popping up.. Let's not EVEN get into the damage when those materials get wet! I guess the thing is, that everyone here should realize that even buildings made to current structural codes often times are pretty shoddy. More often than not the codes are there to protect the town, NOT the buyer. I won't live in a home built after 1960, and I haven't seen decent wood go into a home since 1985. Is there a chance that you can address the cracking going on in your building? Is it structural and dangerous or unsightly and annoying? I'd love to hear what fixes you come up with for it. I think the information on repairs will prove to be the best tool to aid proper construction. Deb. On May 26, 2007, at 4:31 AM, Ocean Liff-Anderson wrote: > The following coblist post is a good example of why we need a cob > building standard and also why, lacking a standard, we should never > expect building officials to take us seriously: > > In the first paragraph, the author doesn't offer any description of > how an arch should be built, except you can have "any kind you > want". He doesn't specify the need for more straw, as Linda and > Ianto teach in their classes. The author then says you need a > "strong enough board" over windows, but doesn't help the original > poster determine what is strong enough. > > In the second paragraph, the author discounts any concerns over wind > and seismic forces, offering cute patter about the big brother > tornado. He disregards any concerns of builders who may be in high > wind locations (like the Deep South, where land is cheaper?). Later > on he does say "taller" walls need to be "thicker" for seismic > strenght. This answer is like many found on the coblist, off-the-cuff > HERESAY, which offer no specific information on just how to build > with cob! > > The cob building at Ahimsa Sanctuary has many structural cracks which > have appeared due to a foundation which lacks a concrete-rebar bond > beam, with differential settling in the soil under the walls. We > have yet to figure out how to repair it, or if the building will > eventually need to be demolished. And this was a building created > through a Cob Cottage workshop with much advice from cob "experts". > > As a result I may have become more cynical about cob than necessary, > but when I imagine folks creating homes without proper training - and > following off-the-cuff advice and heresay they find here on the > coblist - I get very nervous and concerned for their safety. > > I suggested the Independent Cob Building Standard as a way to protect > the home builder first, and second to appease the building > department. If for the moment, we abandon the quest to get building > permits and official approval, at least we should be concerned that > the cob houses we build will be strong enough so they don't collapse > on us! > > Do you think building advice given on the coblist should be so > cavalier and unfounded? > > Ocean Liff-Anderson > Steward, Ahimsa Sanctuary > http://www.peacemaking.org > > > On May 25, 2007, at 7:56 AM, Jon Kerr wrote: > >> >> On May 24, 2007, at 1:55 AM, Shody Ryon wrote: >> >>> Are any cob houses built with gothic arch windows and >>> doors? >> Yes! from the reading I've done you can have basically any kind of >> arch you want. They're just harder to make since you have to use a >> form to fill in the hole while you're layering cob up around it. With >> regular rectangular windows, you just lay a strong enough board over >> the top. There are tons of building in the middle east with arched >> windows, go for it! Here's one at Ahimsa sanctuary: >> >> http://www.peacemaking.org/ahimsawebfiles/main.html >> >> >> >>> I assume that cob walls are usually built lower >>> rather than taller so there is not usually room for a >>> lot of wall between the top of the window and the roof >>> for a gothic arch (that would not require a header), >>> and the load on the wall would increase from wind and >>> seismic forces and incresed labor of more cob which >>> would usually be more of a problem than most would >>> wish to deal with. >> Nah, wind forces on a cob wall are just going to make the cob wall >> laugh until the wind gets really pissed and comes back with it's >> tornado big brother. OTOH, seismic forces don't care how big your >> wall is, it'd be like us caring about the difference between the >> lifting the weight of a post-it or a full sheet of paper. The taller >> walls will be thicker at the bottom, so proportionally, it's the >> same. I'll see if I can find a picture of the gigantic welsh or >> english farmhouse. I think I saw a picture of it in the Hand Sculpted >> House, but it's just HUGE. Twelve foot ceilings I think. >> This isn't it, but it's a 2 story addition in UK: http:// >> www.cobcottage.com/node/121 >> >>> >>> As for up-lift on the roof, >> -snip- >> I think someone else pointed out about putting dead men in the walls >> as you build the walls. You can simply cut notches in the logs and >> insert your rafters' ends into the notches. >> >> Good luck! >> >> Jon >> >> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ >> "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or >> that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only >> unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American >> public." >> -- Theodore Roosevelt, speaking on President Wilson's crackdown >> on dissent after the U.S. entered W.W.I >> >> http://www.freehugscampaign.org/index.php?categoryid=1 >> >> >> _______________________________________________ >> Coblist mailing list >> Coblist at deatech.com >> http://www.deatech.com/mailman/listinfo/coblist > > > _______________________________________________ > Coblist mailing list > Coblist at deatech.com > http://www.deatech.com/mailman/listinfo/coblist >
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