Elephant Barn


Skanda Vale Monastery – Elephant Barn
Carmarthenshire, West Wales, United Kingdom


In July 2011 Integraspec received an email from Brother Stefan of Skanda Vale Monastery in Carmarthenshire, West Wales requesting a quotation for the supply of the IntegraSpec ICF wall system to build a barn. But this wasn’t just any barn; this was a purposed built home for Valli the Temple Elephant. This elephant barn looked set to be one like no other and our most unusual project to date.



In 1981 Skanda Vale temple was presented with a young elephant by President Jayawardena of Sri Lanka in appreciation for their work inBritain.  For the last 30 years Valli had been living next to the Shaki Temple with her keeper and at 33 years of age, and weighing in at over three tonne, the time had come for Valli to upgrade to a new pad with more space.
The team at Skandavale under the direction of Brother Stefan and of course Valli set about making this mammoth task a reality. Having secured planning permission and after much research on different building methods available in the market, Integraspec was chosen as the preferred method of construction due to the complexities of this unique barn. For example the independent IntegraSpec panels made easy work of Valli’s Curved Wall which is just one of the aspects of the Integraspec’s Wall system makes it the most User Friendly ICF on the market.

“Progress has been really quick. The Integraspec Panels stack up on top of each other just like Lego, so we can build a whole wall in a day” -Brother Stefan, Skanda Vale Monastery

The user friendly Integraspec system also allowed easy installation of curved walls and in-wall columns which acted as wind posts on the larger wall spans.

The team at Skandavale undertook the excavation, drainage and preparation work themselves to keep project costs down.
Valli’s impressive 500 square meter residences would consist of a steel framed barn, IntegraSpec ICF Wall System, innovative heated walls using the unique exposed concrete face from Integraspec and all the home comforts, including sandpits, a waterfall feature and a plunge pool. 

The foundations had to be very deep to accommodate the meter deep sand pits that would take up a large area of the floor space.
In January 2012, with the concrete foundation and steel framework complete, work commenced on putting the IntegraSpec Wall system in place. The barn quickly began to take shape. 

Once all the external walls were complete the internal heated walls commenced.

The heated walls are for Valli to lean/ doze against. She obviously liked this idea and told Arthur, our contractor all about it!!  


Integraspec independent panels allow for easy installation and fixing of both steel reinforcing and heating tubing.  



Plywood strips are now fitted between webs and inside the HIPS plastic strips, formwork is now ready for concrete.







After sufficient curing time the plywood and HIPS plastic strips are stuck off leaving the “Exposed Concrete Face”.









The project is now nearing completion and the ICF walls have been finished with a thin coat of acrylic render.











The render is applied directly to the ICF wall and comprises of a base coat, mesh, top coat and finish coat. In this case the material was all hand applied however machine application can also be used.







The team at Integraspec wish Valli many happy, warm and comfortable years in her new ICF home!


Posted by Sue Maher on 20 March 2013 | 0 Comments

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