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Case Study

Over the past 18mths Rob has worked with Ancre Hill Estates on their new Winery. The vineyard practises biodynamic agriculture and owner Richard Morris was keen for the new Winery to be constructed from materials that are as natural as possible. The new building also had to be highly insulated to regulate temperate, and breathable to regulate humidity - therefore straw bale technology was opted for.

The Winery is a first for straw bale construction due to the size and height of the building, being 7 metres high and 3,500 cubic metres in overall size, thought to be the biggest straw bale building ever constructed in the world. During 2013 Rob worked with the architect to develop new straw construction methods and engineered new compression techniques by building the straw walls in two lifts.

Two of Richard’s local builders came on DCRS’s straw bale building course, and during 2014 Rob made several visits to engineer solutions on the build which was a first of its kind. The new Winery is breathable and contains no chemicals, the straw bales sit on a breathing block base with a combination of lime mortar render and cedar cladding to the external walls, and uses a green roof system

Richard Morris commented: “We very much enjoyed working with Rob on this project and greatly appreciated the technical skills and advice he brought to the team. The building is the most efficient, sustainable building of its type and is ideal for the production of top quality wines.”

The new building will be operational in 2015 and will enable the Winery to produce more of their award winning, world class wines


Rob Buckley Consulatancy Dorset Cob Old House Damp Straw Bale Build and Design

Rob Buckley Consulatancy Dorset Cob Old House Damp Straw Bale Build and Design

Rob Buckley Consulatancy Dorset Cob Old House Damp Straw Bale Build and Design

Rob Buckley Consulatancy Dorset Cob Old House Damp Straw Bale Build and Design

Rob Buckley Consulatancy Dorset Cob Old House Damp Straw Bale Build and Design

Rob provides a consultancy service both to homeowners and to the industry.


If you live in an old house and require advice, please contact our office to book Rob in for a consultancy visit.

Rob is an expert when it comes to cob, both clay cob but particularly chalk cob which is unique to the Dorset area. If you are concerned about maintenance issues, Rob will either put your mind at ease or give you traditional, practical building solutions or method statements clearly telling you how traditional cob repairs should be carried out.

The most common problem Rob experiences is concerns about damp. Often these are due to cement renders and can be rectified with lime renders, but there may be underlying issues which Rob can identify on site. Depending on several factors such as the severity of the damp, land drainage etc, the urgency to replace cement renders with lime will differ from property to property.

Other maintenance issues may need to be addressed and in some case French drains are recommended.

Damp testing and written reports are also available on request.

Building Advice

If you are considering a new build, whether it be an extension, full build or annex and are considering either traditional or sustainable materials such as straw, timber or cob you may initially be overwhelmed by the options available to you.

As well as aesthetics, Rob is an advocate of simple, straight forward building options that use the site to the building's advantage such as solar gain. As a builder, rather than architect, Rob will provide solutions for buildings that do not contain unnecessary details and therefore will keep realistic building costs down.

Having a clear plan of what you want to archive from your build, what materials you want to use and how you would like it to look will save you time and money in the long run and in some cases dispel the need for architectural services or keep these services to a minimum. .


Buildings which use straw bale technology or green roofing systems have certain design details that should be factored into the plans for a successful building.

To have Rob review these elements of your design, or to learn more about straw bale technology before you embark on a straw bale project, Rob would delighted to meet with you and advise you to ensure the success of the building and encourage the continued use of practical, straw bale construction.


If you would like to build with straw, Rob can lead your team so that they learn basic straw bale construction on the job.

This has successfully been been done with several building teams who have won tenders for commercial and public buildings that contained a straw bale element in the design.


Our Consultanacy Fees are available to view here.


Please contact us to book Rob for a visit.

DCRS, Willow Barn, Farrington, Blandford, Dorset DT11 8RA

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