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Cob in Cornwall & Other Ecological Building Projects

Posted by Northface Construction  - Owner & Founder

We believe in being inspired – by ecological building projects such as Cob in Cornwall.

From Cob in Cornwall’s Site

We are ecological builders.

We offer the following services:

• The design and construction of new cob and strawbale walls and buildings.

• Sensitive restoration of ancient and listed buildings including full repairs to existing cob walls, minor patching and total rebuild.

• Plastering, rendering and lime washing in appropriate materials including earth and lime plasters.

• Garden design and construction including cobbling, stonewalling and decorative and functional garden structures made out of cob such as bread ovens, courtyards and benches.

Environmental policy
We are sensitive builders; when we work on a project we aim to:

• Leave the site as clean or cleaner than when before we started.

• Use as many materials from the site on the site – clay for cob walls; stone; some timber.
We feel this is spiritually important and present in the finished item.

• We investigate the environmental impact of all products that we use.

• The work we do needs patience, both from the client and ourselves.

Origins of Cob

The word ‘cob’ comes from an old English root word meaning a lump or rounded mass. It is essentially a building material composed of sand, straw and a clayey sub-soil, which is mixed with water to produce a moist, homogenous and malleable material. It can be mixed either by foot on a tarp, or in larger quantities using a JCB.

When fully dried it becomes extremely hard, and will last for hundreds of years as long as it has a solid stone foundation and a good roof.

Earth buidings have outstanding thermal capabilities. The walls are generally built up to two feet thick, making it an ideal material for both cool and warm climates. These properties make cob an ideal material for creating garden courtyard spaces. The ability of the earth to absorb and then re-radiate the heat of the sun can create a micro-climate suitable for growing tropical fruit trees and for personal comfort.

Despite the industrial revolution, earth is still the most common and versatile building material in the world. It is non-toxic, non exhaustible and will literally ‘return to the earth’ when it has served it’s full life.

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