Ausbale Committee

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Lance Kairl (House of Bales)

Lance is South Australia’s most experienced strawbale builder. He set up House of Bales in 1997 to promote and facilitate the construction of strawbale building in South Australia, and to be a resource for owners and builders. Lance has been working in the building industry and with owner builders for nearly 30 years.

Lance lives in his 2 story strawbale home, near Goolwa in South Australia. The house described by some as a strawbale earthship is equipped with a stand alone solar power system, reed bed waste water treatment system, composting toilet, ample fruit trees, and large vege production area, along with a handful of chooks.

Lance has previously served on the Ausbale committee as the SA state rep, and as secretary, and is looking forward to a productive year as President of Ausbale in 2016.

For any enquiries he can be contacted on 08 8555 4223

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Bohdan Dorniak

Bohdan Dorniak established Bohdan Dorniak and Co Pty Ltd in 1989. Since then this South Australian practice has been engaged in a diverse range of projects encompassing the disciplines of architecture, planning, permaculture and interior design. Architectural services include design, documentation and contract administration. With a client-centred approach which respects the client’s wishes, needs budgetary constraints and lifestyle and energy efficiency and sustainability to create a design to fulfil client needs and site conditions.

Bohdan has been involved in the design of strawbale buildings since 1998 designing over 120 projects, including houses, wineries, tourist developments, commercial, additions and retrofitting of existing buildings. Bohdan has been involved with AUSBALE since its inception and was the original Secretary. Positions held with AUSBALE include Secretary, President and Treasurer.

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Sarah Johnson
International Strawbale Conference Representative, NZ

Sarah, 41, is from rural Pennsylvania, USA. Her mother, a rag rug weaver and her father, an antiques dealer brought an eclectic perspective of design during her childhood.

She has focused on sustainable design methods and materials, including straw bales, for the past 20 years in hopes of creating both indoor and outdoor environments that work with existing site, local and occupant conditions. She has designed and consulted on many strawbale residences in Colorado, USA and now in New Zealand (since 2004).

In 2000, she co-founded and was the Executive Director of the Colorado Straw Bale Association (COSBA), a non-profit promoting and educating the Colorado community in strawbale and other natural building technologies. She is currently the South Island representative for Ausbale, the Australasian Straw Bale Building Association.  She also is a Licensed Building Practitioner through the Department of Building & Housing.

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Michael Brady
NSW/ACT Representative

Michael Brady is a chartered professional environmental and civil engineer and an accredited building surveyor. Michael is inspired to fight mediocrity in residential engineering design. After spending 8 years in the Royal Australian Air Force as an Airfield Engineer Michael went on to establishing an engineering consultancy focused on providing engineering design for natural building materials. With this focus, Michael has helped his clients achieve visionary sustainable construction outcomes including many single and multi-storey straw and earth dwellings. Michael lives on a small farm in Delegate NSW with his wife and 3 children where he enjoys close proximity to world class fly-fishing waters.

Michael has recently been awarded Young Engineer of the Year 2017 in the Engineering Excellence Awards for the Canberra Division of Engineers Australia.


Michael can be contacted via   

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Ian Redfern
NZ Co-Representative

Ian has been designing, and mentoring owner-builders of strawbale eco-healthy sustainable homes for about twenty years. He has presented at international strawbale building conferences and run many workshops to introduce folk to the simplicity and healthiness of building with strawbales.

All his projects are plastered and lime washed, inside and out for greatest vapour permeability and healthiness of lime plasters with traditional matured lime putty plasters.

Ian’s philosophy is to provide an affordable design service whilst creating cost effective and sustainable designs appropriate to the environment. For example in our wet sub-tropical upper New Zealand climate he prefers liveable verandas to smaller or negligible eaves overhangs. His houses are set above the surrounding ground to prevent inundation and many homes have warm stabilised earthen floors.

Ian and Chris (his studio potter sculptor wife) have recently sold Adobe Cottage and will be building their next (retirement) home in straw!

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Graeme North
NZ Co-Representative

Graeme North is a New Zealand Registered Architect who has been pivotally involved with the natural building renaissance in New Zealand for over 45 years.

He has used a wide range of natural building materials, including strawbale, earthen walls of all types, earthen floors and plasters, lime plasters, natural timber, and fibres, and has designed numerous houses using these materials.

He carries out peer reviews for owners, consent authorities and other designers, to provide expert assistance on the use of many natural materials.

Now he is helping set up the YIMFY (Yes! In My Front Yard) Trust – see to foster wider use of appropriate building technology.

He has received various awards and commendations during his career.

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Kurt Piccardi
Qld Representative

Kurt is a registered architect in Queensland and NSW with 20 years’ experience. He has designed buildings using strawbale, earth, adobe, earthbag & mudbrick and has spent the last 7 years owner-building his own strawbale house and office. He has designed over a dozen strawbale houses and has advised clients on their construction. Clients are predominantly owner-builders.

Kurt works from a strawbale office building on his property that incorporates Permaculture design principles as he also has a Permaculture Design Certificate. He has also redesigned over 100 timber buildings in the Brisbane area to allow clients to retain these houses for contemporary lifestyles.

Kurt is a firm believer in the integration of internal and external areas and empowering people to personalise their surroundings.

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Scott Goldie
SA Representative

Scott has been involved in strawbale building since 2006 and been involved in over 70 strawbale builds, along with other alternative builds. He discovered this form of building when he moved from the Blue Mountains in NSW (where he was a rural contractor) to South Australia. During this time he has worked closely with Lance Kairl from House of Bales as a project manager, working with owner builders and builders.

He enjoys the flexibility of strawbale and earth renders in the construction of homes and feature walls, creating a unique place for customers to call home with endless possibilities.

He is now into his second year as SA rep for Ausbale. For any enquiries he can be contacted at or 0425 317 071.

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Stephen Cole
Tasmania Representative

Stephen Cole works as a Civil & Structural Engineer with 15 years’ experience, and is based in Coningham, Southern Tasmania. Stephen’s work includes the structural design and inspection for low rise (1-3 storeys) buildings, with a particular interest in natural materials and systems.

Stephen’s aspiration is to create healthy, sustainable buildings that relate harmoniously to their environment.

Stephen’s vision is a world where the structures we build relate harmoniously to the natural environment, and support the physical, social and spiritual nourishment and evolution of living beings.

For any enquiries he can be contacted on 0417 650 474.

Contact Us

You can contact Ausbale by phoning the Ausbale Representative in your state, or email us.