One of the most common asked questions we get is how much does it cost to build with rammed earth.
This is a broad question as there are so many elements when it comes to building any structure, for example, how thick are the wall’s, how many stories is the building going to be, what quality finishing do you want, the gradient of the land, these are just to name a few.
When you are planning to build a rammed earth structure in Ghana you will need to have the following in place:
The land that you would like to build on. Preferably, the land will be walled and gated so that there is a clear boundary to show that this is in fact your land and to minimize the risk of litigation when construction starts;
You will need to work with an architect for them to design & provide you with full working drawings for your structure. Without this the cost cannot be determined;
From these working drawings a full-itemized bill will be prepared;
Once the land is secured, the design and the bill complete, a permit will then need to be obtained;
Once the permit is obtained then work on the land can start. At Hive we scout the area for the best possible soils to use for the project. We produce 4-5 different samples; this will help to determine the colors available and compressive strength of soils available.
When it comes to the overall cost of your build, below are a few factors that can affect the cost.
Land & Location
Building on flat land does not cost the same as building on the mountain or on a steep gradient, in fact building on land that has a steep gradient can be extremely costly, a lot of money goes into excavation and filling for the foundation works before you have even started building your walls.
Waterlogged land can also be costly to prepare for your foundation. A good tip is to search for land during the rainy season so you can see how the land and the area is impacted by rainfall.
The location of the land can effect the operation costs of your build. Building in an area that is remote may cost you more.
Getting the right material can be difficult in the rural areas and finding the right material pit can take some time.
In some cases materials can be found on the land, but it is likely that several inconsistencies can arise with different earth types being meters of each other on the same land.
Access to infrastructure for your site can also be an issue and therefore costs more money for the overall build. In a lot of cases if you are building in a remote area you will have to provide water, electricity and basic amenities to your site.
The most common enquiry we get is how much do we charge for a 2 or 3 bedrooms home. We understand that people want a ballpark figure but considering the different element that it takes to build it can be difficult to give a rough cost.
Lets take the floor plans below for example. Both are 2 bedroom homes but they vary in size and finishing’s.
One house may want traditional style louver blade windows where the other home may want modern louver blade windows with solar blades.
One home may want a clay roof the other a shingle roof, one home may want designs and textures on the rammed earth walls the other may want plain rammed the walls.
So how much does it cost to build with rammed earth?
We currently charge anything from $250 to $700 per square meter.
This price is just for the walls and does not include any interior fixtures, fitting and finishings.
Although building rammed earth can be expensive in the long run it is a wise investment as opposed to building with any other materials that is available on the market; the advantages of building with earth out weigh any conventional building materials.
Rammed earth walls keep the indoor temperature cool, its sound proof, has a high fire resistance rating, eco friendly just to name a few.
For more advantages click the link below to the 13 advantages of building with rammed earth.
Rammed earth done well can be 5 – 10% more costly than building with concrete, even though the materials can be cheap and readily available but the work that goes into building does take skill, sturdy equipment and is extremely labor intensive.
The process of building rammed earth walls is not just a case of pouring earth into formwork the finished product is truly a work of construction art. With every pour there is a thought process behind it.
How to build affordably using rammed earth.
Because of the labor-intensive process of rammed earth, labor is one if the biggest costs.
For self-builders rammed earth construction can be very affordable as you cut out the labor cost and any mark ups on materials.
It has taken us years of experience to get to where we are with rammed earth construction and the best way to get great walls is to practice, practice, and practice.
We have put our years of knowledge into online training material so you practice and build in your own time.
Free Video Class
Check out our free rammed earth class
Click the link below for the video link.
Rammed Earth Ebook
Below is the link to our step-by-step rammed earth eBook where it teaches you everything from how to make your formwork, test for soils, ramming techniques and curing.
Rammed Earth step by step online course
Sign up for our in depth online rammed earth course which will teach you step by step how to construct your formwork, select and test your soil, ramming techniques and curing.
We will be releasing part 2 of our online training where we will show you how to put plumbing and electrical wirings in your rammed earth wall, subscribe if you have not already to be notified when that ebook comes out.