Straw Bale House in the City, Part 1: Designing to Code

| 3/28/2019 8:51:00 AM


Photo by Ziggy Liloia

Recently, a developer contacted me to build a straw bale “spec” house in the city limits. She had contacted me, because the company I lead had built her family’s high-performance home and she knew my reputation. She also knew that I had drawn a straw bale house before.

The developer asked me what I had learned after dealing with the building officials on the first straw bale house that I had drawn for another client.

Referencing Building Codes for Straw Bale Building

When I drew the first straw bale house, I had spent a considerable amount of time researching straw bale construction and also the building code book’s section on straw bale construction. Michigan’s building code book has an entire chapter dedicated to straw bale construction and is very specific as to what the code allows.

I drew the first straw bale house following the guidelines listed in the code book. The structure that I designed was very similar to a pole barn with 6-by-6-foot treated posts and headers that sat on top of the treated posts. Straw bales would be stacked in between the posts and brick stacked up to the roof line with “pins” every 24 inches.

3/29/2019 12:47:38 PM

Helpful article, however a follow up citing sections of the Code book could be helpful to those following in your footsteps. I have written on the subject of straw bale post frame homes as well:

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