Patti Stouter of Build Simple.org has another great idea for reinforcing earthbag walls at low cost in earthquake zones. For context, please see the blog post from last week called Low Cost Village Housing for Nepal and note how the corner is built.
The new option shown in the drawing above uses a similar buttressed corner except ¼” rope ties are added to connect the barbed wire between courses. The rope ties are shown in red. Tie wire could be used, but 1/4” poly or nylon rope would be stronger and easier to use. Also note how the barbed wire is tied together with tie wire where the strands cross. In addition, add vertical ½” rebar pinning through the wall, build with polypropylene tubes if possible, overlap each course and build the bond beam so it joins the walls and buttresses together.
Buttressed earthbag corners are one of the most popular methods of reinforcing earthbag walls in Nepal, because they’re so simple and easy to build. Buiders here want simple techniques like this to make earthbag buildings stronger. More complex methods probably won’t be used much if at all. The method shown above gets an A+ rating from me for strength and practicality, and so I highly recommend it for earthquake regions. Combine this method with other methods described in the link above and you can have an extremely strong earthquake resistant earthbag home.
Patti Stouter has lots of good advice about earthbag building. Be sure to check out her website at Build Simple.org.