Home Building In The Modern Day

Submitted by: Johnsonite M Smith

These days building your own house is extremely rare. Very few people venture into this field as it is generally perceived that building is difficult, expensive and most of all, when doing it yourself, unsafe. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, during the millennia of human history, most of the buildings have been built using nothing but manual labour and cheap and widely available materials. Only in the past century or so (and even that mainly in developed countries) has home-building moved from the domain of the individual to the domain of the large companies.

This process is not difficult to understand. What home-building requires foremost is not money or resources. It is not even land as small parcels outside of urban centres can be bought relatively cheaply, but time. Time is something that most of us simply do not have. A nine-to-five job is the perfect means to deprive a person of the most important resource he or she could ever have. Needless to say, it is almost impossible to build a home in the evenings or weekends alone. For this very reason large companies have stepped in. What could otherwise have been completed by a family, a group of friends or a small community is now solely in the domain of large construction companies.


The common reaction to this is that it is for the better, the large companies have engineers, skilled labour, tools and extensive knowledge of the building process. That is all true and it works well. But it works only with standard construction that is complex, time consuming, expensive and difficult and that lies heavy on the environment. For this sort of building the large companies certainly are better equipped, but for home-building this sort of construction is not really necessary.

Natural building techniques straw bale, cob, cordwood etc. – are simple, cheap and available to almost everybody. Not only are the large companies unnecessary for this sort of building, most of them are ill-equipped and unable in this as there is no big money in natural building. The need for a home is inherent in all human beings and natural building does provide an opportunity for everyone. This is by no means some sort of new revelation, but a well-established fact. For most of human history, home-building has been everyman s domain and it should be so once again. Standard construction does have its perks and values, but these lend themselves more to public and large-scale buildings. Though theoretically possible, an apartment building, mall or high-rise office is not a suitable natural building project. A home is.

Therefore, please consider if you really need a house of the most modern materials and building techniques if you could have the same properties (and better) with a fraction of the cost in natural building? Do you need the complex error prone insulation systems when you can have the same and better with simple and time-tested method?

Home-building is everyman s right. Do not let it be taken away from you.

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