Further Technical Guidance

The number of texts and organisations covering technical aspects of earth walling undoubtedly is growing, and the list below cannot be regarded as comprehensive.  Nevertheless, it serves as a starting point.

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings have produced a number of information sheets, which, although not dealing solely with load-bearing earthed-walled buildings, include relevant content.  Subjects dealt with include the need for old buildings to breathe, dealing with rising damp, and timber infili panels.  Details of these leaflets can be obtained directly from SPAB at 37 Spital Square, London, El 6DY,

Also, a number of Local Authorities have produced guidance leaflets dealing with the earth building types within their areas, for example Hampshire County Council with Test Valley District Council. jacky Wilkinson, the former Conservation Architect for South Norfolk Council, in consultation with Dirk Bouwens, a Surveyor in private practice, has produced a useful video and leaflet dealing with East Anglian Earth Construction practical maintenance and repair.  Whilst the video is set in East Anglia, the principles apply to most earth construction. jacky Wilkinson and Dirk Bouwens are also founder members of EARTHA, an East Anglian earth buildings group.  For further information, contact EARTHA, c/o Dirk Bouwens, Ivy Green, London Road.  Wymondham, Norfolk NR18 9JD.

The Devon Earth Building Association (DEBA) offers useful advise on earth building, and has produced the following leaflets:-

1.Appropriate Plasters, Renders and Finishes for Cob and Random Stone Wails in Devon

2.Cob and the 1991 Building Regulations.

DEBA also publishes newsletters regularly, which include case studies on current repair and newbuild projects.  Information on these publications can be obtained from DEBA, c/o Peter Child, Historic Buildings Section, Environment Directorate, Devon County Council, County Hall, Exeter, Devon, EX2 4QW.

The Devon Historic Buildings Trust (DHBT) has produced thefollowing leaflets:-

The Cob Buildings of Devon

1.History.  Building Methods and Conservation.  The Cob Buildings of Devon

2.Repair and Maintenance

These are obtainable from:
Mrs D Parnall, Company Secretary DHBT, 22 Clyst Heath, Exeter EX2 7TA
or contact our website www.dhbt.org.uk

Other useful texts covering technical aspects include:-

* Historic Scotland: Technical Advice Note 6: Earth Struciures and Construction in Scotland (Edinburgh 1996)

* Houben H. and Guillaud H  Earth Construction - A Comprehensive Guide . (Intermediate Technology Publications 1994)

* Norton J. Building with Earth - A Handbook (intermediate Technology Publications 1986)

* Pearson G.T. Conservation of Clay and Cob Buildings (Donhead 1992)

* Clough Williams Ellis - Building in Cob.  Pise and Stabilised Earth (1919 revised 1947 and republished by Donhead 1999)

* English Heritage Research Transactions: Earth - the Conservation and Repair of Bowhill, Exeter (1999)


Other bodies associated with technical studies of earth walling include:-

The Centre for Earthen Architecture, University of Plymouth, Notte Street, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2AR.

The Centre runs various courses and research programmes relating to earth wall construction.

ICOMOS U.K. has established a national earth structures group, one of its aims being to offer local regional contacts.  ICC)MOS U.K. is based at 10 Barley Mow Passage, Chiswick, W4 4PH.


The guidance in this leaflet is offered in good faith by the IHBC and is based on current good practice.  It should not, however, be taken as appropriate for every eventuality and owners should generally seek expert advice before undertaking works to earthwalled buildings, The IHBC accepts no liability for loss or damage which may occur as a result of use of this leaflet.