A berm house is a house that is banked with earth. The design and building methods that are used aid the building to require less energy being put into the building when construction is complete and the building is being used as its intended.
The Caer Llan berm house was “designed to be “massive” rather than “lightweight”. The use of vast quantities of block, concrete, etc, is intended to act as a stabiliser, both structurally and thermally.
For any berm house that is being built there needs to be consideration of some factors taken into account. These factors are location and soil type of site, regional climate, and also design preferences.
The construction of a berm house means that most, if not all, of the exterior walls will be situated under ground. This will protect the walls from severe weather conditions. The earth surrounding the building will act as a natural sound proofing agent.
The topography of the site will affect the ease of which the construction takes place. A site with a steep slop will require less excavation, than that of a site with a modest slope. A flat site will require extensive excavations to be undertaken.
Due to the possibility of there being an underground water table, there was a need for the building to be constructed on a reinforced concrete raft foundation. This foundation rests on bedrock. The bedrock plays an essential interaction with the footings of all walls and is also reinforced. Due to the pressure that is acting on the back wall of the building through the soil that is behind the wall, a kicker was needed in order to act as a prevention measure. This was to prevent the soil pushing the wall forward on the foundation.
The berm house needs to be waterproof to prevent any water moving through the earth that surrounds it and causing damage to the building’s walls. This can be done by using a method called tanking.