‘Building beautiful and resilient homes’

Welcome! Thanks for checking out Natural Building Works.

Most people's first question about strawbales is: what happens if they get wet?  Like any good earth builder knows, as long as you give the house a good hat and good pair of boots, it will last forever.

Since moving to Northern NSW three years ago from the UK, I've built three Strawbale houses and am in the design process for two new homes.  Having built Strawbale, Rammed Earth, Cob and Timber frame buildings in Devon, I’ve gained 25 years experience in how to protect natural materials from the weather...and anything else!

Strawbales were originally used as a building material because- as a by-product of agriculture,- they were cheap and easy to access. Traditional building methods, alongside 21st century technology, have now made strawbales one of the most effective natural building materials- in response to our current need for homes that are healthy, ecologically sound, have high insulation and fire retardant properties. And most important to owners, strawbale homes are aesthetically pleasing, temperate and economical to live in.

Working with natural building materials, including timber, cob, rammed earth, strawbales and natural renders, allows me to design and build homes based on the inherent nature of these beautiful and resilient materials.  Also I’d have to reference Christopher Alexander’s ‘Pattern Language’ as a great resource  in constructing a language to understand how clients live in and use their spaces, identifying the archetypal patterns in nature and building design.   My work with owner-builders on their journey has been to ensure that the design, engineering, and construction are integrated as these are critical elements to a successful building.

On this website, I’ve also provided a quick calculator for owner builders, as one of the most common questions is “How much does it cost to build a strawbale house?”  Have a look at the info page as a rough guide.

There are lots of existing sites that provide information on the FAQs about strawbale building.  Check them out,too, on our info page.

If you’d like to discuss your project, just give me a call.

Robert (Amiten) O’Keeffe

Northern NSW, Australia

 

In the media...