Building with Sandbags

We are licensed to Ecobeam Technologies to manufacture Sandbag Building Kits and Build using the Ecobeam Sandbag Building System originally developed by Mike Tremeer the "Father" of Sandbag Building in Southern Africa.

A revolutionary simple and easy building system has been developed in South Africa: building houses with sandbags.

While providing a high-quality home for the customer, the system is environmentally friendly and economical.

The system consists of the following elements:
  • Manufacture of “Eco-beams” to form the framework of the structure.
  • Erection of the framework on a conventional foundation.
  • Filling the framework with purpose made Geo-fabric sandbags.
  • Covering the walls with mesh.
  • Plastering or cladding the walls.
  • Finishes on the structure are as per a conventional build.

Using sandbags piled up to create a wall is nothing new, for decades or even centuries people have been aware of the good qualities of sandbags for flood protection, for sound insulation or in providing shelter against the elements. (Even bullets)
But the idea of using sandbags as a construction material for ordinary housing is fairly new.

The completed structure is waterproof (sand does not have the intrinsic capillary action found in cement), fire resistant and soundproof, and has extremely good thermal properties. (Cool in Summer – Warm in Winter)
While standard walls may develop cracks in the plasterwork that can carry through the entire wall, this will not happen with this process, as cracks cannot run through sandbag walls.
Once the framework is in place, filling and stacking sandbags can be undertaken by semi / unskilled labour reducing labour costs and potentially providing job and entrepreneurial opportunities to the local community. Much of the sand required to build the structure can be obtained from the site.

This form of construction is ideal in isolated areas, as the weight and design of the construction material makes it easy to transport.  Building using the Sandbag building system not only dramatically decreases the cost of building but also is extremely environmentally friendly.

Sandbag homes can be produced and built in a very short period of time, as no actual brickwork needs to be done. Once the beams and bags have been transported to the site, the framework can be erected within a few days.
This construction alternative offers design flexibility, environmental responsibility, energy efficiency, long-term structural integrity, durability and lower home-operation costs.

Build Quality

The system exhibits tremendous thermal stability. The occupants will be kept cool in summer and warm in winter, due to a high thermal mass. Millions of small air spaces between the grains of sand are responsible for good thermal insulation.
It also has excellent sound-absorbing properties which help to provide a measure of privacy in close-quarter living or within the house between different units.
Another feature that guarantees high living comfort and a healthy room climate are the “natural” walls. Due to the enormous weight of sand these structures are wind and water proof. The security and fire protection properties of the walls are also excellent

Reduced Construction Cost
Due to its flexibility, the system offers several cost saving options, depending on the needs of the builder. The superstructure will not only be more cost effective to build but ecologically friendlier and of better quality compared to a conventional structure.

The weight of the construction materials makes transporting easier and cheaper while allowing for construction in areas without adequate road infrastructure. (e.g. 1,500 eco bags can fit in the trunk of a car; this is the equivalent of 4,500 bricks). Unskilled labour can be used to fill and stack the sandbags, further reducing labour costs.

Reduced Construction Time

The ease of transportation of building material will reduce construction time significantly. The only “wet” trade is plastering and no mechanical tools, equipment, skills or electricity is needed on site.

Most specialized trades like electrical and plumbing can be installed during the build process further reducing construction time. There is limited construction residue at completion of a construction project.

Reduced environmental impact
The system has a low carbon footprint as very little energy is consumed in the process of designing, manufacturing or building a kit.
The factory can be run without any electricity if required and on site construction requires no mechanical or electrically operated equipment.
Due to the relative weight of the building materials, a Sandbag Building kit is easy to transport and can be delivered to inaccessible regions and areas without heavy transport requirements.

The system has been extensively tested and exceeds all the required building code standards in terms of structural durability, fire ratings, thermal stability, water penetration etc. Detailed technical reports are available on request. The Building system is Agrément SA Certified and accordingly approved by the NHBRC.