Earth building
About Lesson

Rowland Keable
CEO and Project Officer, UNESCO Chair on Earthen Architecture
Earth Building UK and Ireland, Rammed Earth Consulting CIC

Rowland Keable


Rowland has worked with rammed earth technology since 1985. This includes building as part of Passivhaus projects such as UK local authority classrooms where thermal and humidity loads are more of an issue than some domestic situations. Acting as consultants in each case the work was carried out by non-earth specialist designers and contractors.

Rowland is also involved in writing construction codes and standards both in the UK and abroad, with a strong interest in Africa. After the 15 countries of SADC voted to harmonise ‘Rammed Earth Code of Practice’ the African Regional Standards Organisation have harmonised the standard across the whole African continent.

Rowland was an active member of a group working on a European wide skills training standard to complement work already completed on training standards for earth plasters. Through his participation this lead to the publishing of UK standard training documents for earth building and plasters.

Rowland continues to pursue standards harmonisation with the national body British Standards in the pursuit of a first Euro norm for earth building.

Work in standards is another facet of a career which has involved building, teaching, training, researching, publishing and taking a ‘by all necessary means’ approach to acceptance and use of earth as a building material.

Earth Building UK and Ireland

Earth Building UK and Ireland is a registered charity established in 2009. Its aim was to bring together all the earth building interests, commercial, design, academic, training and research.

We recognised there was interest in earth as a material to design and make with, as a tool for de-carbonising construction, and as a way to shift relationships within both creators and users of the built environment. We knew that earth buildings feel good, but we didn’t know exactly why. We knew there was satisfaction to be found in the manipulation of these materials and techniques, but didn’t have a system or institution to train new users.

Over the years we have partnered with universities and colleges, private institutions, and companies to further the use and understanding of earth building and finishes.

Our mission is to cheerfully foster low impact, healthy construction with earth in the United Kingdom, Ireland and beyond.

Rammed Earth Consulting CIC

Rammed Earth Consulting CIC are a not for profit consultancy dealing with a wide range of projects concerned with the built environment. With many years experience there are plenty examples of rammed earth buildings which we have both built and consulted on.

We offer services in soil selection on or off site. This may involve mixing more than one other material to site soil, more sand to a clayey soil, more stones where the soil is very fine. And once a soil is looking ok we take it to commercial labs for testing.

We offer design help, often at the start of a design process, helping architects, engineers and surveyors to better understand how rammed earth fits into a job, how strong it is, the shapes it can be formed into and of course the cost.

We train contractors on site and liaise with specialists where a main contractor can’t manage the work. We work with contractors on site, and we are working on training standards which can be applied on site or at a training centre.

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