Post and Beam Infill Systems

> In any form of post and beam construction, structural loads are handled by a series of upright , members (posts) that support suitable horizontal beams.With this type of structural system, some t kind of insulative infill is used to close in the walls. Straw bales and plaster make an attractive option as an infill wall system. : Post and beam construction has a long his tory, and many builders, architects, and building . inspectors are familiar and comfortable with its application. Most commonly, large-dimension . lumber is used to construct the load-bearing ; structural framework, but concrete, steel, or

Advantages to bales on-edge:

• less floor space used

• need fewer bales for same wall heigh

• two-string bales create 16-inch-wide walls, well-suited to efficient use of standard building materials

• less compression and settling

• little or no trimming required

Disadvantages to bales on-edge:

• no testing data (yet) to support load-bearing applications

• more difficult to notch around framework

• can be more difficult to plaster if mesh is not being used

Each builder must decide which way to orient the bales for a particular building, based on which of the points above are most important. You can't really make a wrong choice; they work well in either orientation!

combinations of these materials can also be used. By infilling with bales, all the excellent insulation capabilities of straw buildings are retained. Bales still offer an unbeatable price; walls can still be put up quickly and easily; and the character of the plastered bales will remain the dominant feature of the home.

There are two major reasons typically cited by those who choose post and beam systems for bale buildings. The first is the familiarity of the materials and engineering, which can make bale building more approachable and understandable for designers, building officials, and builders used to conventional materials. The second is the ability to complete the framework and the roof prior to installing the bales, reducing some of the weather-related concerns that can arise when working with bales.

There are many ways to make a post and beam frame, and many ways again in which to blend the bale walls into the frame. Each offers advantages and disadvantages, and very different results can arise depending on the combination you choose.

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