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Old 09-08-2008, 09:03 PM
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Next-Gen/Alternative Housing (Yurts, Domes, Shipping Containers, etc)

Styrofoam Domes, Fibreglass Yurts, Shipping Containers, is this the future of housing in Australia or other parts of the world?

It seems that every now and again (generally when affordability of housing is being questioned) alternative housing pops up in the news and general discussion.

I know that shipping containers as homes have been discussed on SS before, but I only recently heard of dome homes and wondered what the general consensus was.

Once you get over the fact you are basically living in a smurf/hobbit home, I can see that there would be a lot of benefits to dome homes. Construction costs would be cheaper, the material is not prone to historical housing problems like termites/rot, cheaper to heat/cool (materials act as insulation), environmentally friendly, the list goes on. It also seems like a relatively easy way to create high density housing without building up.

Some of the designs are incredible inside and work well with an open plan design. Have a look through some of the videos on the sites linked, they seem relatively easy to put the basic construction together, infact if you were handyman inclined you could probably do much of it yourself.

My worry would be that it might be difficult to get something like this approved through council as it probably wouldn't fit in with surrounding homes...Any thoughts on this? Considering the environmental benefits surely it would be public suicide (with environmental awareness at an all time high) for a council to outright deny an application for this sort of home simply on it's looks?

Has anyone here built or thought about using non-conventional materials or designs in their property adventures?

Links

Domes:
Dome Shells
Dome House
Article About Above Dome Houses

Yurts:
Alternative Buildings
Grey Water

Shipping Containers:
Out of the Box Developments
Realestate.com.au Shipping Containers Article
The Age Article
SMH Article

Other Alternatives:
Mixture of Designs
Styrofoam Panels - Regular House Designs
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Old 09-08-2008, 10:18 PM
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I am a massive fan of Yurts.
In fact I was looking around a 30 foot yurt last weekend in Jamberoo. Yurts are fantastically easy to build and only take about 3 days for the larger ones, then of course, you have the choice of adding services and whatnot.

For about 16k (usd) with most of the bells and whistles, I think they are a perfectly acceptable and unique home. They have a good insulation rating, and size wise, a 30 foot yurt with a loft works out at the same size as my 2br unit that I currently live in. Also Yurts have a wonderful "feel". My partner and I fully intend to live in one for a couple of years whilst we save and build our home.

In so far as councils are concerned, goulburn yurtworks have wooden yurts, that are supposedly council approved for mostly anywhere in AUS. Although the council that I'll most likely be dealing with said no as a permanent dwelling, but I might be able to stretch them to 10 years as a temporary dwelling.....
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Old 09-08-2008, 10:36 PM
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I love the RALS. There are various ones around in regional western victoria, where councils have approved them as permanent buildings.

We looked at them seriously about 6 years ago when my son was looking to buy land and build but he ended up buying an older weatherboard instead, as it was cheap and he could move straight into it.

I would love a RAL as a holiday house, as soon as you arrived you would feel relaxed, they have such a great feel to them.

http://www.ralhomes.com.au/

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Old 09-08-2008, 11:18 PM
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I want a castle, but with modern passive solar considerations, and a nice veggie patch. Not asking for much am I?

I quite like geodesic domes too. There's a mob somewhere that sells them in kits that you can clad in whatever, I reckon a couple would look lovely in my backyard for greenhouse/shadehouse/chookhouse. You can also put them on a slab and clad them in something a bit more solid and make a house out of them. I have a hundred metres of rural B pipe here that would possibly make a nice geodesic dome base for shadecloth if I could figure out how to attach it all together ...
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Old 10-08-2008, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hobo-jo View Post
[URL="http://www.i-domehouse.com/"]
Has anyone here built or thought about using non-conventional materials or designs in their property adventures?
Yep,
We use the equivalent of chiller or freezer panels.
Will be used for a commercial warehouse development as well as resi construction.
Energy rating has come in at 8 stars rated. The highest we achieved was 9 stars. No one believes it till they see the certification.
Looks something like this:



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Old 10-08-2008, 12:50 AM
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You guys are all barmy.
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Old 10-08-2008, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kph View Post
Yep,
We use the equivalent of chiller or freezer panels.
Will be used for a commercial warehouse development as well as resi construction.
Ah, but can you make castles out of that stuff
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Old 10-08-2008, 10:56 AM
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Wattle & Daub?

I remember a book by Stephen Fry (I think) about this method of construction.
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Old 10-08-2008, 11:35 AM
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There is a dome house in my town and it has been sold twice already. Both times it was a long time on the market and eventually sold at bottom of the market price. People are scared of new technology I guess and also think twice about buying a property that could be difficult to offload if need be.

Those RAL homes have been around for a while Chrispy. There is an old cluster of them located in a Newcastle suburb - Belmont I think? They call them Tellytubby homes. I like them. I will try to locate them on Google pics.
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Old 10-08-2008, 11:47 AM
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Go Here and type in Arlington st Belmont north nsw. Take a tour around Harlo, Somerset, and Arlington St to view the Tellytubby houses. They've been there for years.
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Old 10-08-2008, 12:10 PM
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Thanks Rockstar - they look good, they appear to have stood up to the years OK

Chris
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Old 10-08-2008, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by RumpledElf View Post
Ah, but can you make castles out of that stuff
Easy peasy...
They WOULD have made castles out of the stuff if it was invented when they were building castles.

It can be shaped and formed to suit your tastes.
There are suppliers that just supply these 'add ons' to suit your personal preferences.

The other thing is it is not new. The use of expanded polystyrene or styrofoam has been in place for approx 50 yrs.
Not quite the 200 odd yrws for brick or more traditional materials, but its not new. Just not as well promoted or marketed.

But.... alternative materials will have to come more into play as we go forward and more emphasis is placed on energy efficiency, and minimising the energy input into houses both at the manufacturing stage as well as the 'living' stage..

kp
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Old 10-08-2008, 01:33 PM
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A RAL house would look brilliant in my backyard once all the trees grow, but it would have to be up fairly high. My backyard is rather a few inches lower than the road (closer to a foot lower now they've just raised the road) and tends to go underwater every time there is a heavy rain. I'm just starting to build myself a mound across the path of the water from the stone stable next door that tapers out to the street, I don't want a repeat of last year's water-through-the-house incident.

And my mother wonders why I said to buy river red gums when she wanted to know what sort of trees to get me
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:05 PM
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Nice work kph! Is that one in Karachi?

We've been in a cold climate for a couple of years and have had the pleasure of visiting friends with a rendered straw-bale house, good roof insulation and double glazing. The comfort factor in winter is just amazing! All with bugger all heating compared to the rest of us. They also run their car mostly on biodiesel they make themselves so they're fairly "dark green". It's all pretty inspiring though - they have a ready made couch on their window-sills in the lounge from the way they laid the bales - just have to supply the cushions!

Some other friends have rendered polysterene brick construction in their place and it has been a similar result. Both these ideas put brick veneer / double brick construction to shame for insulation performance and are so much cheaper. Longevity isn't an issue either if they're built properly.

It will be a long time before attitudes change though IMO but it's good to see the trail-blazers go for it!
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:41 PM
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Obviously all men posting in this thread.

Try getting your wives to live in one of these things! LOL
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:53 PM
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I resent that last post

Not a man, and I live in a converted funeral parlour (18 inch thick walls and 12 foot ceilings, terrible in winter but nice in summer) in a ghost town. But I freely admit to being really weird. And the 'wife' is even weirder
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Old 11-08-2008, 09:22 PM
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Good thing about them is you don't have to clean the gutters anymore.

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=-...11549308841766

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=-...224605331,,1,5
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Old 11-08-2008, 10:28 PM
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Good thing about them is you don't have to clean the gutters anymore.
Problem is though - you can't collect your rainwater.
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