Affordable Housing: Boot - Strapping


Growing Your Own Home


Two ways I can see to do boot strapping.

Both involve starting small and seriously cheap, and adding on over time, first saving the money, then building. 

This should save 30% easy, just the mortgage interest you'd have paid to the banks.

It also allows for serious DIY work, lowering costs further if needed.


1.  Buy a cottage, build modular panels, assemble in quick bursts probably hiring GC to help at those times.  I have based my examples on a little old cottage for sale by someone who could use a few bucks.  It's pretty outdated lifestly wise.  We all want our own space, and this cottage has two bunk rooms.  We also don't want the icky parts of the outside so much.  We want this, and that, and everything, and we make Mc Mansions that cost more than we have and mortgage our souls to the grey men.  The illustrations are in the pdfs at the end of this page.


2.  Start with raw land and build a shack, work up from that adding stick built sections as money allows.  I illustrated this for two size shacks, a 12 by 12, then a 16 by 16 (the later works lots better, but heh, if all you can afford is 12 x 12, great, go for it!

Grow Your Own Home II


Yes, this much like the Growing A Home idea.  The difference is the ability to DIY over time.  Growing A Home really needs a contractor to bang out the additions / renovations in a timely manner.  Living for a couple of years in a construction zone is not fun, and not safe.  Also, if your work stops when some part isn't weatherized, you risk your investment in time and money, and your health if mold sets in. 


Growing a home is a great idea, buy small, save your bucks, buy your additions and renovations.  If you can't afford that even, and MOST people actually can't anymore.  This is the alternative, distributed sweat equity, distributed over time.


No time - No Money -- No problem


We all have day jobs, lots have night jobs, the wife works, the kids will be working soon too (just look at England, 27% of workers now part time, and mom, pop, and one or more kids work in each household - or some combo of those stats, frightening no matter how you look at it.).  Do you have just one day a week you could devote to the effort?  Even an hour or two a day would do.  You would slowly but surely build up a stock of building panels that could be slapped up to form a shell in a day or two.

Can't save up enough money to buy an addition?  You might well be able to buy a trickle of needed supplies, and might well be able to 'buy on sale', or buy salvaged materials - which are available eposodically.

NO MONEY -  Well, very little money, you'll always need to buy something.   Try asking at job sites.  If you haul away their partially used studs, plywoord, etc, the GC saves money, haul away enough and they might buy you a beer.  You can try your local salvage center / disposal site, etc. too.  If you see a building being demolished, stop, ask.  If you see a building that should be demolished, ask the owner if you can do it for free, my guess is anyone holding a building in that shape would relish a free demo.


Materials:  1/2 inch plywood, 2 x 4's, ice and water shield, shingles, drills, bits, lots of bits, screws, lots of screws, and I prefer molly bolts, but any bolt would work if done right, some prefab windows and doors, some wiremold product for the power, some mini sinks, toilets, lavs and showers.  Ta da!

Learn on the job


Does the thought of building a house scare the crap out.  Odds are it should.  Tackle it modularly, building components "off line", in a garage, a shed, a tent, and you can make those mistakes and not risk your investment in time and money.  You just take it apart and put it back together until it works.  Wow!  That takes the pressure of not having the shower working Monday morning off your shoulders. 


Modularly also lets the family, friends, anyone help out.  It's ad hoc, distributed over time, and non - linear.  Delays in "production" from one person has no effect really.  You won't be waiting for Fred to finally show up so you can close the roof before it rains.  Well, true some work especially in site assembly will need help, and run those annoying risks, but they'll be far, far fewer, and the consequences far, far less, and the stress, far, far less, ahhhhhhhhhhh, that feels better just thinking about less stress.


Hard to believe.  Any job can be broken down into tasks, and simple to follow direction written.  Then, there's the internet and U-Tube, which between them have hundreds of videos of every element in construction for you to learn and follow.  More than enough to help you.


Lets go into the future, that future that never seems to get here, but, someday, it will, in that future, where virtual reality glasses could display schematics of the entire task, for you to follow, litterally lifting 2 x 4's and pieces of plumbing to match the video, pausing while you look for that size screw, and then rolling on.  It's just too simple.  The same tech could video everything for building officials to spot check to ensure you're building to code.  It's really that simple. 


Emergency Housing -

    A Distributed App.


    By the People, For the People......


This began in my mind as an Emergency Housing response after Katrina.  Those horribly small, VOC heavy, storm adverse trailers, that would be thrown away after a couple of years made me sick.  There were also hundreds of thousands who wanted to help, but were turned away and turned off by the horribly slow, rigid, and horribly ineffective government rules on what could be done.  Most of these modules can be built by anyone, really, kids and little old ladies.  It just takes a few more and a little longer.  Donated materials would be more accessible since it's cheap and easily available.  It can be loaded in a panel truck, unloaded, bolted down, before any "officials" could make up rules to stop you.  Once the folks who lost their home are in, even the hide bound beaurocrats would have to relent and go elsewhere to peddle their paperwork.  Especially if you bring along some cameras and offer to video tape the officials antics for the news, or U-Tube