FAQs Straw Bale Training for European Professionals (STEP)

Who are the Trainers in STEP-Training?

step-trainer-herbert-gruberHerbert Gruber: Chairman of ASBN – Austrian straw bale network, Head of StrohNatur, member of ESBA board (European Straw Building Association), straw bale builder since 2006, book author (building with straw, new building with straw in Europe), partner in the project BuildStrawPro BuildStrawPro (Erasmus+) and Make Your City Smart! (TU Vienna, FFG).


step-trainer-toni-auerAnton Auer: Professional clay plasterer for 26 years, trainer at ASBN workshops at the Virtual Building Site for five years, trainer at Lehm Austria and at his own workshops (clay plasters, rammed earth, tadelakt);
Expert for clay plasters, spray plaster, light-clay, natural remediation and renovation, lime plaster, tadelakt


virko-kadeVirko Kade: Founder of Stroh & Lehm (Styria), Straw bale builder and consultant, clay plasterer, loadbearing construction, trainer and instructor in numerous workshops.
Lecturer in Sustainable Building at the University of Stuttgart – Institute for Light Design Design and Constructions (ILEK), at the Green Tech Cluster (building with straw) u.m.m.


step-trainer-johannes-breitlingDipl. Arch. ETH Johannes Breitling: Certified expert for ecological and energy-efficient construction, state-of-the-art klima: aktiv-competence partner, chairman of the House of Baubiologie Graz, member of the IBO (Institute for Baubiologie and Ecology), master-builder, civil engineer for architecture), Building physicist, energy consultant (Styria)


step-trainer-paul-adrian-schulzMag. arch Paul Adrian Schulz: Straw Bale House-planner for StrohNatur and straw bale-builders, staff of the Vienna University of Technology (Continuing Education Center), Partner in the Institute for Convivial Practices (ICP), co-founder of the vienna.transitionBase, Sprungbrett Aspern and Stroh2Gether- Simple Building Together, expert for eco- and community housing


step-trainerin-marta-rakowskaMarta Rakowska: „Moving away from conventional lifestyle, career in corporation and comfort zone, was the best decision I ever made.“

Partner of Minoeco (professional natural plaster), expert for light clay / straw, clay plaster, lime plaster, tadelakt since 2012, member of the OSBN (Polish straw bale network), trainer at StrohNatur since 2015


step-trainer-manolis-ximerisManos Ximeris: Partner at Minoeco (professional natural plaster), expert for light clay / straw, clay plaster, lime plaster, tadelakt, straw bale construction, Hempcrete, trainer at StrohNatur since 2015.
Engaged in commons and DIY projects, parallel to Minoeco he is IT specialist, where he has been active since 2001, in the area of system and network administration as well as in the area of technical troubleshooting..


step-trainer-alejandro-lopezAlejandro Lopez: Founder of Okambuva Coop (SB-Prefab-System), straw bale construction and clay plaster trainer (workshops since 2012), expert for CUT technology, reciprocal roofs, load-bearing straw bale construction and sustainable, ecological building.
Instructor at the University of Valencia, Partner and Trainer at StrohNatur


step-trainer-georg-barthelsGeorg Barthels: Master carpenter, straw bale construction (training Fachkraft Strohballenbau at FASBA / BiWeNa),
Baubiologie at the IBN Neubeuern), expert in timber construction and traditional wood-connections, COB, Adobe, mud brick, stone walls
Partner and trainer at StrohNatur (wood construction, carpentry, development of a hobbithouse).


What is included in the costs of the STEP-Training?

The costs cover the expenses for our trainers, all practical and teaching material, seminar rooms including drinks (fruit juices, coffee, tea), the training-pass as well as access to a password-protected course platform with all presentations and films, your reviews and further links. At the practical building sites, tools and materials are available for all participants. The meals are also covered during the construction workshops (largely vegetarian) and – in most cases – the possibility to overnight in a tent or in comunity rooms during the practice workshops.

Not included are private rooms (these are however gladly mediated, approx. € 30, – / night / person), the arrival and departure to the training or the construction sites as well as work clothes (solid shoes, work gloves) and – in case – own tools.

What are Practical Building Sites?

In nearly all cases, private construction sites are in Lower Austria (4), Styria (2) and Vienna (1), where the ASBN or StrohnNatur straw ball houses are being built with the participation of workshop participants. You learn not only from the coaches, but also from each other.

For whom, the STEP training is suitable?

Straw Building Training for European Professionals is:

  • a higher qualification for employees in planning offices, carpentry, construction companies, etc.,
  • secondly, an additional training for (independent) architects, carpenters, builders, plasterers, dry-wall-installers and insulators,
  • thirdly, basic and further training or retraining for persons not coming from the construction sector who wish to work in a specialized (straw building) company in Austria or Europe (not self-responsible)
  • and a professional training for craftsmen who want to become self-employed or found a start-up (with existing building-licence or a professional partner, which brings a corresponding license into the company to be founded). In some cases, a restricted license may be given (ie an individual qualification for a part-activity if the competence of building a house)
What means ECVET?

In June 2009, the European Commission issued a Recommendation on the introduction of a European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET).

ECVET is a (European) system of transfer of learning outcomes of vocational education and training on the basis of a structured description and documentation.

More Infos über ECVET (in Österreich)

In which NQR-Level (Niveau) the Training will be offered?

At this time we offer the STEP-Training according to NQF (National Qualification-Frame) in Niveau/Level 3. (In some Modules we also teach content from Level 4)

Link zur OEAD: NQR-Deskriptoren

PDF: Beschreibung des Level 3

What if I can not visit a module for reasons of time or illness?

The eight theory modules are held on fixed dates. If you can not attend one or more of these courses, you have the possibility to make up the modules from autumn 2017 (start of the European course, partly in other EU countries, mostly english) or next year in Austria (from March 2018).
Or you have the opportunity to learn the content yourself (you get the written documentation from us) and in a practical exam in the practical building sites to prove that you master the required learning results.
For the practice sites, there are usually alternatives to other appointments. In addition, you have to be present at the ten-day workshops (with subsequent practical examination) for at least five days, so you are somewhat more free in your time.

What if a module is not offered due to insufficient number of participants?

For the theory modules it can happen that less than five people register for it, then we may not offer this course for reasons of cost. If we have to cancel some of the theory modules (you will be informed in good time before the start of the course), you have the possibility to start these modules from fall 2017 (start of the European course, partly in other EU countries, mostly english) or next year in Austria (as of March 2018) or to learn the contents by yourself (you receive the written documents) and prove in a practical exam that you have mastered the required learning results.
The workshops at the practice sites also take place with a smaller number of participants (min. 1), because we usually build a building for a customer. If a practice workshop is delayed due to delays in the construction preparation (builder, carpenter), the practical workshop takes place on another construction site either during the same period or there are alternatives to other dates.

Cancellation and charge for cancellation

In case of cancellation after the payment of the course fees, the same conditions apply as with our 3-day workshops:

Cancellation: after the payment of the workshop fees and thus FIXED reservation, a reimbursement of the full amount is only possible up to 3 weeks before the start of the workshop.

In case of a later cancellation we reserve half of the amount paid. For cancellations from 1 week before the start of the workshop, we reserve the full amount (because we no longer have the possibility to find replacement).

If a module does not take place because of too little participation, all prepaid amounts will of course be returned.

Are there any grants for the course?

Please inform yourself in your country about grants for vocational trainings, support for unemployed people,… If you are Austrian and are interested in Austrian grants, please go to the German site.

Erasmus Internship: In some cases it is possible, that Students make Erasmus Internship at ASBN and during internship visit the Training. Please contact us for details: asbn@baubiologie.at.

We grant: We have decided to offer the course cheaper (student prize) to students, apprentices and the unemployed (who are proven to receive no funding).