The remains of ancient homes and monuments remind us that yesterday’s construction techniques had enormous merit. In fact, many historical innovations still serve as foundations of modern construction, with the Roman invention of concrete being one example. Today, more and more civil engineers are looking to these old ways of building homes in the interest of sustainability, replacing high-energy modern construction methods with older, more natural techniques where possible. Let’s take a look at home building technologies that have been forgotten, and how they are making a comeback on construction sites across the globe.

  • Rammed earth

Rammed earth construction is arguably the oldest method of building homes and other structures. This building material originally consisted of soil, water, and a stabiliser like animal urine or bitumen. Rammed earth construction has existed for centuries, having been used in iconic construction projects including the Great Wall of China. Today, countries across the globe are experimenting with cement-stabilised rammed earth (CSRE), a mixture of cement, water and soil (locally sourced). This makes the material much stronger and more sustainable.

  • Nubian vaults

A regional housing crisis in Sahelian Africa has prompted engineering leaders in the region to find affordable, effective home-building solutions. The challenges faced include a lack of timber to build with because of deforestation, and the high expense of importing corrugated iron sheeting. Ancient Egyptians would build homes called “Nubian vaults” which featured vaulted roofs made from dried mud blocks. This home construction technique uses only local materials and eliminates the need for wood entirely, making it extremely sustainable and cost-effective.

  • The use of Cob

Cob has been the primary material used to build homes in England and France for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, due to weak thermal insulation properties and structural integrity concerns, cob-built houses wouldn’t pass today’s construction regulations. The University of Plymouth has been investigating additives that could render Cob strong enough to build homes out of while coming in as a solution to out-of-control CO2 emissions and excessive construction wastage.

RJB Projects: Consulting Civil Engineers

Consulting civil engineers should hold high ethical standards, making them trustworthy and respectable in their fields. RJB Projects (download our company profile) delights clients with consistently high-quality, error-free project completion. You can expect constant and effective communication throughout the project, and our service offering is friendly, seamless, and flexible. If you’d like to discuss an upcoming home build in KwaZulu-Natal, contact RJB Projects today.