Straw Bale Construction


  • Straw bale building has been around for about 100 years, originating in Nebraska in the USA.
  • Straw bale building is easy to construct and suitable to use with unskilled labour of all ages and genders.
  • Straw bales are an annually renewable agricultural waste product that is often wasted or burnt by farmers.
  • Technical information:
  • Straw bales are dry packed either as in-fill between structural frames or as load bearing walls where a ring beam plate is tied to the foundations.
  • Straw bales are stabilized with horizontal & vertical timber saplings and finished with clay and lime plasters.


  • Straw bales walls have phenomenal acoustic and thermal properties, resulting in a very high level of human comfort, way superior to any other building material available.
  • As the straw is too tightly packed to support combustion and due to its high insulation properties (R value = R6 to R7), a plastered straw bale wall is exceptionally fire-proof.
  • Straw bales are an abundant agricultural bi-product and South Africa currently grows enough straw to provide enough material for 1 million homes every year – more than double the countries present capacity!
  • Straw bales are inexpensive to buy as well as dispose of as all waste can be mulched for landscaping purposes.
  • Building with bales is relatively easy to learn and lends itself to self-builders and community involvement.

Company track record/examples of work:

  • House Mendel – Hout Bay, Cape Town, Cape Town, 2021
  • House Patience - Greyton, Workshop, Western Cape, 2019
  • House Larsen – Workshop, Hilton, KZN, 2014 and 2019
  • House Botes, Agte Paarl, Western Cape, 2014
  • Smith’s Guest House - Workshop, Napier 2013
  • Green Kruger Lodge - Workshop, Marloth Park, Crocodile Bridge, Mpumalanga 2013
  • Orphanage at Village of Hope - workshop, Grabou, Western Cape, 2013
  • Starflower Project house & conference/training facility – consulting and workshops, Midrand, Gauteng, 2012
  • OR Tambo Narrative & Environmental Centre - Consulting, Leeupan, Johannesburg, 2010 – 2012
  • House Morris - Barrydale, the Karoo, 2008
  • House Lula - consulting, Gauteng, 2008
  • Upgrade of Nieuwoudtville Caravan Park, Namaqualand, 2004-2007 (Won Silver 2005 in the Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction in the Africa Middle East region)
  • Wolvekloof Academy consulting & workshop, Ceres, Western Cape, 2006
  • Stanford Valley Conference Centre - workshop, Western Cape, 2006
  • House McConnel - Betty’s Bay, Western Cape, 2005
  • Gary’s Barn -Oude Molen Village, Cape Town, 2005
  • House Brodie - Scarbourgh, Western Cape, 2003
  • House Patience - Greyton, Western Cape, 2002
  • House Salters - Teslaarsdal, Western Cape, 1999
  • House Prinsloo - Elands Bay, Cape West Coast,1998

We offer a number of construction & info manuals on our website on natural building technologies which specifically refer to the South African context. The info manual "A LIME DUNG PLASTER RECIPE" has recently been added to the collection.   Click here for more information.

All our manuals are also now available as E-Book downloads. Click here for the E-Books.