The Eco-Beam Sandbag System was developed in South Africa as a low-cost housing solution. Today, Eco-Beam sandbag homes have found their way into many suburbs across South Africa and the world. Ecosteps has completed projects across South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique over the past 3 years.
The method consists of three elements:
• A framework of Eco-Beams (timber and metal beams that form the framework for the sandbag walls).
• Specially formulated geo-fabric bags, filled with sand and stacked between the beams; and, finally.
• Cladding of the beams with wire mesh and either plaster, timber or plasterboard.
The completed structure is waterproof, fire resistant and soundproof, and has extremely good thermal properties. (Cool in summer – Warm in winter) While standard walls may develop cracks in the plasterwork that can carry through the entire wall, this will not happen with this process, as cracks cannot run through sandbag walls.
Once the framework is in place, filling and stacking sandbags can be undertaken by semi / unskilled labor or by the owners themselves, reducing labor costs and potentially providing job and entrepreneurial opportunities to the local community. Much of the sand required to build the structure can be obtained from the site.
This form of construction is ideal in isolated areas, as the weight and design of the construction material makes it easy to transport. Building using the Eco-Beam Sandbag building system not only dramatically decreases the cost of building but also is extremely environmentally friendly.
Eco-Beam Sandbag homes can be produced and built in a very short period of time, as no actual brickwork needs to be done. Once the beams and bags have been transported to the site, the framework can be erected within a few days.
This construction alternative offers design flexibility, environmental responsibility, energy efficiency, long-term structural integrity, durability and lower home-operation costs.
The factory can be run without any electricity and on site construction requires no mechanical or electrically operated equipment.
Due to the relative weight of the building materials, an Eco-Beam building kit is easy to transport and can be delivered to inaccessible regions and areas without heavy transport requirements.
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