The Viva Panel is a load-bearing structural panel made of natural straw bales.

They’re pre-finished, meaning they’re nearly 95% complete once installed. 

Pop them up yourself or have your builder or us build them. 

STEP 1 – DESIGN your plans to fit our standard sized panels (they’re the same thickness as conventional building materials)

for best cost savings and easier installation.
They’re 2407mm high x 1200mm long x 255mm thick walls. 

Yes, custom sized panels can be made 

We can help you with plans if you need a plans by our draftsperson or architect

STEP 2 – ROUGH ESTIMATE Contact us with your plans for a rough estimate. Know what your budget is for your home and the walls. 

STEP 3 – COUNCIL APPROVAL Get your application approved and finances ready. Get an all-weather accessible driveway (you don’t want a semi trailer bogged on site as you’ll have to pay to get it out

STEP 3 – PRICING Finalise your plans and we’ll give you a firm price.

STEP 4 – ORDER Put an order in, we’ll give you an ETA. Get your foundations ready!

STEP 5 – INSTALL Get some carpenters or builders on site for installation. Ensure you have tarps to protect the walls and ensure the roof goes on immediately after they’re installed. This is important

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about the Viva Panels

Do they come in standard sizes?
Yes, the main standard size we try and build to is 1200x2400x255

Do you have standard window and door sizes?
Yes, please see our standard window and door size information

What if what I want isn’t standard?
That’s ok, we understand that some panels won’t be standard size.
We can create custom sizes for you (custom panels are more expensive than the standard sizes)

Can you draw up plans for me?
Yes, we have a design service. It covers building to your site, your area, is solar passively design, to the Viva Panel system, we’ll even have our architect look over the design for any ideas. 
You’ll also receive a panel plan, window and electrical schedule with your plans and would make sure that the dimensions sizes match our standard panels and window sizes.
Our plans are fully ‘council ready’. We’ll need a geotech report, surveyor’s plans and photos from you.

I already have my plans drawn up, can I still use them?
Yes, we will need to have a panel plan done for your plans.
We would need to do that before we would be able to give you an accurate quote.

What’s the cost? 
Give us a call as it depends on the size of your build. Transport to site and electrical fit out will need to be allowed for.

Standard sizes 1200L x 2400 H x 255W
(600mm and 900mm wide panels are also standard)

Why choose the panels over strawbales?
Save space inside – They take up less floor space
They’re less expensive
Way quicker to install than straw bale wall systems
Less skill needed as we’ve done all of the planning and hard work already
Less rendering! 
Healthier than man-made materials that use glues and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) 

What’s the R value?
R4.1
Considering usual wall systems with conventional materials are either 0.25 (bricks) to R2 max, the Viva Panels are double most other materials
Standard Straw Bale walls are R7.1 on their edge. R4 is still a lot more than conventional building products. 
We recommend R4 in your ceiling insulation and double glazed windows. The windows are the weakest point in your home if your walls and ceilings are R4. 

Are they load bearing?
Yes and structural meaning that they support the roof

Can I build two storey with them?
Yes

Are they only for granny flats or can I use them on a house?
You can use them on both

Can I use them on a concrete slab or just bearers and joists?
Yes both

How are they attached to my foundations?
A rail is attached to the slab and then the panels are attached to the rail.

Can I use them as internal walls?
No we recommend cob or walls that are solid to get thermal mass into your home. This keeps the temperature constant and comfy throughout the seasons

Do they come with render on both sides?
We have two different options, you can have them with render on both sides (Earth render internal/Lime render external) or you can have render on the inside and cladding on the outside.

Can I use other cladding?
Yes depending on your bushfire zone you can use Colorbond/custom orb, Weathertex, weather boards, fibre cement sheeting,

How do you finish them off?
Once onsite and in place then we set the joints with a layer of mesh and then apply another coat of render to smooth off the walls and give you your finished product.

Cladding is joined externally with whatever fixing method is required for the type of cladding you use.

Can I paint the render?
Yes, once they are installed and finished off you can paint them with breathable paints, or you can just leave them as they come. 
They’re versatile – whatever look you are after.

Are they easy to transport?
They are transportable, they go onto pallets and a crane is needed to unload them.

How heavy are they?
300kg render both sides
250kg render internal, ply external

How do you get them to site and into place?
They are delivered on a truck with a crane on pallets, they are lifted off the truck and put as close to possible to final installation spot.
They are heavy and can be moved with a dolly (on wheels). They require more than one person to move them around.

Can I install them myself?
Yes, we’ll give you full instructions and videos on how to do it

Can you install them for me?
Yes, we’ll just quote beforehand for installation fees. Our team know the panels so they are fast. 

How do I install my electricity?
We run conduit and put electrical boxes into place before we seal them with render, so you’ll need to have your electrical plans ready with everything you need.

Can I install plumbing in the panels?
Yes you can install plumbing into the panels, there will be more cost involved.  We often use standard frames for wet areas.  

How long does it take to install them?
Depends on how big the house or granny flat is. For most houses or granny flats we can install in less that a day ready for the trusses to go on.

Can they get wet?
No, it’s best if they don’t, you’ll need to protect them from any rain with plastic and have everything organised so that you can install your trusses and your roof as soon as possible.

Can I hang things on the wall? What about my kitchen cupboards?
The panels have solid timber frames every 1200mm (if it’s a standard panel) so you can easily hang what you need to on the walls.

Are they cheaper than strawbale houses or other full sized straw bale wall systems?
Yes, a lot cheaper. On a standard 200m2 straw bale home, you’d save around $60,000 ($300 per square metre saving from our estimates). 

Are they cheaper than conventional materials?
We’re aiming to have them at least the same price as conventional wall materials. It might take us a few homes to get it right, but the more people who use them, the easier it is to get economies of scale.

What’s is the bushfire rating? 
The rendered walls (Polar Bear) can go to 90/90/90 which is Flamezone
The clad walls depend on the rating of the cladding. Usually at least to BAL19

Pest control, termites / white ants, rodents and other critters
The walls are rendered so animals don’t want to just dig through dirt or lime.
It’s like any other house. Best to keep the critters out in the first place. 

We deliver your Viva Panels to site. The truck leaves the panels on the slab or flooring on pallets.
You or the builder organises the crane on site to move the panels off the truck and into place. 

The Essential Straw Bale Home Building Consumer Guides…

Four ‘must-have’ Reports When Building Any Straw Bale Home, Studio or Granny Flat

#1 The 65 Fundamental Building Steps
#2 Viva’s “Lickity Split” 2 Bedroom Plans
#3 Two Proven Lime Render Recipes
#4 Vital Budgeting Spreadsheet

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