Sandbag Building Technology Print



Sandbag Building Technology


  • Various sandbag building systems have been used over the last 100 years or so, originating in the military.
  • In 2003 Eco Design Architects developed their own generic design for using sand bags in conjunction with timber ladder frames for use in the Twin Streams Staff housing project.


  • Allows for use of freely available local and scrap material.
  • Is a very solid durable construction
  • Has excellent thermal and acoustic properties
  • Involving Community: Allows for the setting up of a series of Micro-enterprises with use of local material, i.e.
  • Harvesting timber poles
  • Treating timber with non-toxic timber preservative
  • Collecting sand/rubble and salvaging small dimensioned timbers
  • Timber ladder manufacture
  • Bag manufacture.
  • Cost effective as the simplicity of construction means one can used unskilled labour to build the walls.
  • Technical information:
  • Aside from the foundations, this system requires no cement or binder, and besides sand, the bags can be filled with clay, rubble or gravel.
  • Bags are dry-packed between timber ladder frames, which are positioned vertically at approx 1,0m centres and reinforced with a timber ring beam plate at 2,4m height.
  • The clay and lime plastered walls provide superior insulation when compared to regular concrete block construction.

Company Track record/examples of work:

  • House Olivier, Kromme Valley Farm Clan William, 2019
  • Office Renovations – Eco Design Offices 2014 and 2018
  • House by Marion Whiteman, Bathurst, Eastern Cape 2012.
  • Jozini Lodge, Swaziland, 2010
  • Building system design used for 8 chalets for West Coast National Park by Studio 44, 2008
  • Twinstreams Environmental Centre Staff Housing – Mtunzini, KZN, 2004. This project was awarded the Sustainable Building Best Practice Award for Africa at the Africa regional Sustainable Building Conference held at Speer 2004.