Quail Springs Permaculture group in Maricopa, California has announced a collaboration with Cal Poly San Louis Obispo to do earthquake testing on cob walls. Cal Poly has offered to support this public benefit project with deeply discounted access to earthquake testing equipment and expertise ($10,000 rather then the usual $70,000!) Testing is needed to get basic engineering values to plug in to the equations engineers use to show that cob can take the required loads.
In parallel with this testing, Art Ludwig and others are working on a permit application for what would be a landmark precedent for sustainable affordable housing: a small village of five two-story cob cottages in downtown Santa Barbara, California. The video below is a fly-through of how this project would look on completion.
Part of the objective of having the tests done on the monolithic cob is to evolve building codes to make monolithic adobe (“cob”) easier to permit. Lack of seismic and fire performance data is a major reason why cob has not been accepted by building officials across the country.
If you would like to help support this important project for testing and getting code approval you can make a donation at www.quailsprings.org.