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  • improve shelter worldwide
  • empower more communities to build schools and clinics
  • reduce deaths in earthquakes
  • reduce energy and costs for building and heating or cooling

That’s why Build Simple blogs, teaches, advises, researchs, and provides free info for builders and engineers.

What’s the Latest News?

Better Shear Strength Test Results Coming Spring 2018

Engineering students build walls for shear tests

Four large contained earth (CE) walls will be tested soon at Santa Clara University. Two student teams directed by professor Tonya Nilsson are creating smaller tests about
splicing and anchoring rebar and evaluating BSI’s field soil test protocols.
Architect Martin Hammer’s advice has been helpful. With engineer Anthony Dente he is also directing structural testing of cob walls by other student teams.

Test Results Prove Earthbag can be Stronger than Sandbags

Funded by the builders of more than a thousand needed homes in Nepal, BSI proved that strongsoils increase earthbag wall strength. Rebar embedded in soil is stronger than rebar on wall edges. Rebar anchored at the base makes walls stiffer to reduce damage by strong earthquakes.

Read the report Estimated-Shear Strengths-CE (1.7 MB pdf).

Simpler Field Soil Test Instructions

Builders and designers can test small samples with very simple equipment (a 3′ long scrap wood lever) to estimate soil compressive strength. Samples are made in halved toilet paper tubes and oven baked to test within 24 hours.

See builders’ and engineers’ information links from Resources.

Earthbag is Spreading

Since 50 earthbag buildings survived in the areas devastated by Nepal’s 2015 quakes, Good Earth Global  trained and other builders gave work experience to thousands of builders. The Nepali government included earthbag in their residential code for rebuilding.

The government of Nepal wants more test results before allowing needed schools and clinics to be built out of earthbag. BSI continues research into strengths of contained earth for high seismic risk.