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, president of ESBA  (European Straw Building Association), straw bale builder since 2000, book author (building with straw, new building with straw in Europe), partner in the projects BuildStrawPro (Erasmus+), Make Your City Smart! (TU Vienna, FFG), Jump! – Training for Change (Erasmus+) and ACTeco – Online Training for Ecological Building (Erasmus+)

step-trainer-toni-auerAnton Auer: Professional clay plasterer for decades, trainer at ASBN workshops at the Virtual Building Site since 2012, trainer at Lehmkunst and at his own workshops (clay plasters, rammed earth, tadelakt);
Expert for clay plasters, spray plaster, light-clay, natural remediation and renovation.

Peter Fleischhans: Trainer esp. for practical workshops (carpentry and construction, straw bale infill, electrical installations) with a paedagocical background and training as a carpenter and electrician. Trainer also for Photovoltaics and energy-efficient (tiny) houses.

Ing. Viktor Gach: Building engineer, designer (construction and permission plans) and skilled construction worker (carpentry and construction, straw bale infill), STEP-Trainer for Building Physics (Heat, U-Value, Moisture) and for practical workshops. Partner in Strohnatur.cz

Karsten Bäsmann: Heating engineer and skilled construction worker (carpentry and construction, straw bale infill, mass ovens), STEP-Trainer for Building Physics (Heating), energy-efficient and Off-Grid houses and esp. for practical workshops.

Heinz Michael Fischer: Trainer at BiWeNa (lime and clay), professional lime plasterer (Germany and France), STEP-trainer for lime renders, partner in the Jump! Training for Change project. Expert in natural building. Will teach you lime renders in Theory and Practice.

Mike Deveria: STEP certified straw bale builder, additional trainer and helper in most of the courses, also Online-courses, translator (English native speaker), member of ecosystem restauration camps, member and trainer of SBN in the Netherlands.

Jakub Jirku: focused on load bearing straw bale construction, but has many skills as STEP certified straw builder (load bearing Nebraska style, straw bale infill, clay plasters), STEP-Trainer for Loadbearing Straw Bale Construction and for practical workshops. Partner in Strohnatur.cz

Alejandro Lopez: Founder of Okambuva Coop (training center in Sagunt, Spain), 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 of asbn.

Dipl. 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)

Marta 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

Manos 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..

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. During the construction workshops you have – in most cases – the possibility to overnight in a tent or in community rooms.

Not included are accomodation and food (€ 25, – / night / person incl. 3 meals/day, showers and washing your laundry in our training centre), the arrival and departure to the training or to the construction sites as well as work clothes (solid shoes, work gloves) and – in case – own tools.

What are Practical Building Sites?

In many cases, private construction sites are in Lower Austria (Ravelsbach, Gmünd,…), Upper Austria and Vienna, where asbn or StrohnNatur builds  straw ball houses or parts of it with the participation of workshop participants. You learn not only from the trainers, but also from each other. Daily working hhours are the same as with Theory-Courses 9:00-13:00 and 14:00-18:00 (7-8 hours/day).

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 (beginners) who want to build their own straw bale house house or wish to work in a specialized (straw building) company in Austria or Europe (not self-responsible) But to be clear: you will not become a carpenter in the STEP-course and most probably you will not be able to build your own straw bale house alone without the support or help of many other crafts(wo)men or engaged people.
  • and a 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 and Level 4

Link to OEAD: NQR-Deskriptoren

PDF: Beschreibung des Level 3

What if I cannot visit a module for reasons of time or illness or Corona-restrictions?

The eight theory modules are held on fixed dates. If you can not attend one or more of these courses or if Corona-restrictions does not allow the majority of STEPpers to participate physically, the course will be held ONLINE with full-time trainer accompaniment in the same scheduled time, but additionally or instead you have also the possibility to do the course ONLINE without trainers during the whole year. Or you do the course later.
For the practice sites, there are usually alternatives to other workshops. In addition, you have to be present at the five-day workshops (with subsequent practical examination) for at least three days from the start (introduction), 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 a theory Unit (you will be informed in good time before the start of the course), you have the possibility to make this Unit online or start this Unit later or the next year(s) in Austria or you decide to learn the contents by yourself (you receive the written documents and online-courses) and prove in a practical exam that you have mastered the required learning results.
If a practice workshop is delayed due to delays in the construction preparation (builder, carpenter, bad weather), 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 4 weeks before the start of the STEP training.

In case of a later cancellation we reserve half of the amount paid. For cancellations from 2 weeks before the start of the workshop, we reserve the full amount (because we no longer have the possibility to find replacement).

If a Unit does not take place because of too little participation or other reasons and there is no alternative date for this either, 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).