Prefabricated rammed earth

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Prefabricated, but on site...

History :   

In 1986, after five years of various experiences in earth construction, Nicolas Meunier invented a prefabricated rammed earth technique, in order to adapt the traditional technique of rammed earth to the economic and social context of modern Europe.
In 1987, Nicolas Meunier experiments with the lifting and assembling hypothesis of the rammed earth panels. The following year he built an individual house with prefabricated rammed earth panels. 

Principle :

On site, the rammed earth panel is prefabricated on the ground, in formworks of variable dimensions. In the formwork the soil is rammed in successive layers.
The formwork is immediately removed from the rammed earth panel, lifted with a crane and joined onto the wall with a lime mortar.
Maximum dimensions should not exceed 2.20m in length for a height of 1.00m and a thickness of 0.50m.

  Characteristics :   

  • The architectural flexibility remains the same as with traditional rammed earth.
  • All the materials qualities are preserved.
  • Low investment in specific material
  • Heavy lifting crane required
  • No storage needed
  • No drying time before application
  • Less material transport on site
  • Construction possible even under rainy conditions
  • Making the form work, filling, compacting and removing it is easier on the ground level
  • Increase in productivity due to more routine handling and fabrication
  • Quality control of panels before installation
  • Ease to handle particular points during the construction : stabilisation, tracking, chamfer, rabbet, etc..

Centralising the production of panels, storing and transporting them over many kilometres is feasible however it is a social and environmental burden.