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Natural Building – Rendering and Finishing Techniques Workshop

September 7 @ 9:00 am - September 8 @ 5:00 pm


This weekend workshop is for anyone interested in Natural building and specifically different rendering and finishing touches of the rendering process.

Through theory and hands-on practical experience, you will gain a great deal of knowledge and learn a range of skills by working on a specific real project.

The Project –  Rendering & Finishing touches

Over this long weekend you will be rendering a small straw bale round house and completing final touches. You will be constructing some light straw walls and applying render to walls at different stages of the production. You will learn how to source and make different natural renders as well as apply it to different stages of production.

It’s a creative project that involves a range of different natural building skills and learning, particularly working with earth and earth materials.

Natural Building Workshop

Workshop Outcomes

This workshop will provide you with basic natural building and rendering skills. It combines theory with practical hands-on sessions over two full days. It will equip you with the skills and knowledge to be able to make your own earth floors, walls or other creative earth features and structures in your home garden, school or community garden. The workshop also includes theory, evening discussions, presentations and films after dinner Saturday. This allows for further information and theory on natural building to be gained.

You will be taken through the process from sourcing the materials from the land to construction and completion so you will be able to replicate the process yourself. You will also learn:

  • What natural and ecological building is, its terminology, concepts and principles
  • Passive Solar Design
  • Choosing appropriate natural building technique suitable to place and situation
  • Rendering techniques and options for different situations.
  • Identifying suitable materials from your site
  • Soil testing, how to make render and different rendering techniques.
  • Different render options and recipes
  • Render finish coats, speciality finishes and sealants
  • Cob mixes
  • How to make earth floors
  • How to repair, restore and maintain natural renders
  • How to add windows doors or other features to straw bale walls
  • And much, much more

There will also be opportunities to see and discuss other inspiring natural buildings and on-site structures such as a straw-bale building, bamboo, wattle and daub and an earthbag dome building.

Natural Building workshop

About the workshop

For thousands of years, ever since humans decided to build a shelter in which to live, earth shelters and natural building techniques have been used to construct homes throughout the world. Natural building structures are becoming popular again as a sustainable building choice

Earth has been used as renders have been made from the site to make strong, long lasting, energy efficient, inexpensive and beautiful protective coverings on over the selected building material such as straw or wattling. Unlike concrete, brick or wood, no energy is needed to produce the earthen fill other than gathering on-site soil. So, it uses very little energy compared to other durable construction methods.

These simple natural building techniques are versatile, sustainable, healthy and fun providing endless options for artistic expression to combine in your home and garden, as well as other projects around your house such as fences, tool sheds or animal housing.

About the Trainer 

Sam Vivers

Director, Viva Living Homes – www.vivahomes.com.au

  • Environmental straw bale building company
  • Bachelor of Economics (Agriculture)
  • Diploma in Building
  • Licensed Builder and Supervisor
  • Master Builder with Master Builder’s Association
  • Cert IV – Training & Assessing
  • Certified Carpenter
  • Building Thermal & Assessment Course (Australian energy rating course)
  • NSW Representative & President of Australasian Straw Bale Building Association (Ausbale)
  • Member of Earth Building Assoc of Australia (EBAA)
  • Runs straw bale demonstrations at the Mudgee Small Farm Field Day
  • Straw bale building course (TAFE accredited) to builders, owner builders,
    engineers, architects and councils
  • Teaches Strawbale Building Courses at AREC, Natural Building Courses at Milkwood and Narara Eco Village


  • 22 years+ building homes. 17 years straw bale & earth homes, started in the year 2000, building one of Australia’s first straw bale homes
  • Built 3 of his own straw bale and earth homes.
  • Built 50+ straw bale and earth complete homes for clients.
  • MBA Excellence in Housing Award Winner in 2014, 2018, 2019, 2020


Onsite accommodation:

Workshop participants receive PSI rates for on-site accommodation. Rates include breakfast and dinner. See camping; twin share or private double accommodation options here.

Natural Building Workshop



September 7 @ 9:00 am
September 8 @ 5:00 pm
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Bandusia Country Retreat
1056 Upper Macdonald Rd
Upper MacDonald (St Albans), NSW Australia
+ Google Map
(02) 4568 2036


Sam Vivers
See onsite accommodation options.
Includes morning and afternoon teas and lunches. Accommodation fee includes Room dinner and breakfast.