Earth Building Solutions was established in 2012 by Peter Hickson to offer services related to Building, Training and Consultancy in Earth Building Technologies.
Peter Hickson is a Professional Master Builder currently Licensed to conduct Building work in NSW, Australia. He has 31 years experience specialising in designing and constructing homes of raw unfired earth and promoting earth building through training, education and practical example. He was a founding member of the Earth Building Association of Australia, EBAA and has served on the EBAA committee for many years including two years as Vice President and three years as President. He believes homes built of earth have always been the closest in achieving sustainable building practice.
Ethos and Philosophy
The work we undertake reflects our passion for earth building and for all other appropriate, renewable and sustainable technology. We are committed to social/economic, spiritual/cultural and ecological sustainability. The quintessential bottom line. We are fortunate to have had clients who share the same ideals.
Passion for Earth
“To dig the earth from beneath your feet, wet it and mould it into a brick so that when it dries in the sun it can be used to build a home - is a very simple and beautiful thing.” “I discovered the magic of earth as a young child, using it in cubby houses and for building toy sized roads and bridges.” “I can remember being amazed how it would become so hard and withstand Brisbane’s tropical rainstorms, even when fully exposed to the elements.”
Peter rediscovered the use of earth in 1982, as a young adult, when he built his first mudbrick home. His appreciation and respect for earth, as a building material, has grown the longer he has lived in an earth home and the more he has learned how to better use earth through building with earth. “Inspections of Historic earth homes in Australia, research of earth building throughout the world and a trip to the ancient neolithic site of Catalhoyuk in Turkey, makes me aware that there is so much more to learn and rediscover about this ancient building material.”
The science of earth building technology, of observation, trial and error, is around 11,000 thousand years old. Today Earth Building (EB) is still being studied and developed throughout the world in dedicated earth research centres. Earth buildings currently house between 1/3 to 1/2 of the world’s population.
“I believe earth is the ultimate “Green Building” material for the future. Earth Building is ancient and yet still most relevant.”
Experience and Knowledge
Peter was a carpenter when he rediscovered his passion for earth building. His knowledge has grown during the 31 years since building my first home and then working with self builders to achieve their earth homes. He started making mudbricks by hand and later developed equipment, machinery and process to manufacture mudbricks commercially. He completed an Advanced Certificate in Building Supervision that qualified him to apply for a Builder’s Licence. He has operated as a building contractor specialising in design and construction of mud brick and cob homes for more than 20 years.
In his building business, Peter trained 9 employees and 2 apprentice carpenters in earth building techniques. He has also instructed and supervised and trained countless participants of employment programs, as well as school and university students. Peter has been conducting weekend workshops for the past 13 years.
Peter’s experience includes working with community projects, self builders and for clients in Australia overseas having completed three volunteer assignments with Australian Business Volunteers and one working with indigenous Higaonon people of Mindanao. He introduced Earth Building to Gingoog City, Mindanao, in the Philippines. Whilst there, he developed a model sustainable low cost housing solution, for SE Asia, using cob reinforced with bamboo.
Peter later, built a model house and tested the strength of this new construction system on the University of Technology Sydney earthquake simulation shake table, with two undergraduate engineering students. Following this testing, he worked at UTS with two more engineering students and a PhD candidate, on two seismic earth building research projects.
All his knowledge and experience went into a recent project - The Yallah Green Skills Training Centre at Yallah TAFE, NSW. The brief was to design and build a state of the art sustainable building to demonstrate what is possible with earth and other renewable and sustainable technologies.
More recently, Peter worked with Charles Darwin University, as a lecturer in Construction, training aboriginal countrymen at Utopia in NT, Central Australia. He used Superadobe construction in a training program that involved skills development and capacity building in exploring self-help, low cost, self-sufficient housing in aboriginal homelands. Unlike the 20 defined Growth Towns, building new homes in Remote Aboriginal Homelands is unfunded. There is a policy of self-sufficiency.
Peter has a good knowledge of climate responsive design principles and a basic knowledge and appreciation of permaculture principles and appropriate, renewable, sustainable technologies. He has completed an Advanced Certificate in Building Supervision, an Ecovillage Design Certificate, and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.
Through Earth Building Solutions, Peter wishes to share his knowledge and experience, so earth building is available to all as the Ultimate “Green” building material.
“We are inspired by the rich earth building traditions from around the world, including Australia. We are proud of our own contribution to earth building. We are confident of the contribution earth building will make to the future of sustainable green building.”