2012-2015 : Pirate

Funding: Leonardo da Vinci DOI (development of innovation)

Project number: 528117-LLP-1-2012-1-FR-LEONARDO-LMP

Number of partners: 18

Countries represented: Czech Republic, France, Germany, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain and UK.


Main products

New specific Units for load-bearing systems:

  • P-Production of prefabricated elements
  • B-Building
  • F-Formwork

Reviewed and renamed Clay plaster Units (former U1, U3, U6)

  • M-Raw Material
  • R-Renovation/Rehabilitation
  • E-Marketing



To develop competence standards for EQF levels 3 to 6, the project pursued two different objectives:

  • Outputs, by describing learning outcomes and gathering them as units classified according to the main working and market activities;
  • Dissemination, by involving decision makers to get these units recognised and used in national qualifications.

The work was divided in three groups: MONO, BRICK and SUPERV. The first two groups focused on EQF Levels 3 and 4 monolithic and masonry earth systems (walls, vaults, domes, stairs, etc.). The third group applied for EQF Levels 5 and 6 both for monolithic and masonry systems. There were links between all the groups that allowed convergence, merging the units to a common output. In a long process of several feedback loops and translations from national languages in and out of English  the partners have analysed the existing crafts and trades involved in earth building, presenting earth as a building material which can be assessed to a common standard.

After PIRATE kick-off in 2012, the first step was a consultation process in eaach partner’s national network of earth building practitioners: about 100 specialists from different earth building cultures and trends from all over Europe helped the partners define the skills, knowledge and competence required by a professional to build and repair earth structures.

The second step was sharing and merging the national written proposals into a single European one, agreeing on a preliminary list of Units, for each group: Mono, Brick and Supervision. Several sectorial meetings took place during 2013 and 2014 hosted by most partners, to achieve this result. Merging the European sectorial work into a single PIRATE result began during a second overall meeting in 2014 where many plenary decisions were made and completed that year.

As a third step, in 2015 after a final plenary meeting which gatheredall the outputs, a final document was produced. This had all the new units and assessment criteria for 4 Levels, translated into the eight project languages.

To evaluate the process itself beyond the meetings and the dense online work, feedback of two kinds has taken place: trial assessments for Mono and Brick groups, and frequent contact with national teams.

Key stakeholders have been invited to set the possible certification scenarios in each country. The UK  process has already been successful, in other countries the strategies and efforts  continue.



A guide to earth building training in Europe and beyond

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