FAQ

  • How long does it take to build an earth home?
    Many who have experienced earth building have noticed that mixing adobe into and onto the monolithic wall seems extremely labor intensive, and indeed it is. The rhythmic process of kneading the earth like flour into dough can tone the body while creating one of the strongest, longest lasting walls a house can have.Cob house builders have stories about contests with traditional builders working in neighborhoods to deliver housing. Teams of five workers have started house building projects on lots where the same number of carpenters are starting a traditional home at about the same time.The general consensus is this; a team of three to five people working daily on the construction process can complete a small home within three or four months. The same amount of time it takes a team of carpenters to build an average traditional neighborhood home, yet with a far, far bigger cost and a much larger carbon footprint.
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  • How do I begin?
    Some folks have close friends with land that can host an earth home, with a trade for land rent, or future potential to rent out the building. Others have a house, and want simply to build a mother in law apartment in the backyard to rent out for more income.Most, however, want a permanent solution to the desire for a family home beautiful and solid enough to pass down in the family all the way to the great grandchildren. Many parents want to leave their kids with a fully sustainable situation similar to what our ancestors wanted for us. They wanted this for us within a stable community with wealth and comforts enough to live a happy, productive life. In this uncertain era of climate change and economic uncertainty – people are taking second and third looks at the family village reality.Gaining building knowledge enough to feel competent to design and build your earth home is necessary. It is also possible to hire expert builders and a team of laborers to build it, however the costs go up quickly with this approach.Land base with access to sewer lines, or the ability to install septic systems and water are basics that need to be in place before making a land purchase. Siting the building on the land is also needed to ensure the sun provides the maximum amount of passive solar and electric benefit to your building. If you have running water, hydro power generation can be cost effective. If it is a windy area – a wind generator can be affordable and productive.The Natural Villages team is building an educational base at this website where you can gain connection with laborers, designers and the hard and fast knowledge and connections needed to plan and build your family village. We provide links to other earth home and alternative building companies. We are your go-to hub for monolithic adobe construction projects, and for family village development.
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  • How do I find out about my local building and development laws?
    Every county has a building permitting office where permits are obtained for the building plans that are county approved. In order to get a building project approved by your county – fees are charged for inspection and authorization for your building construction process. The simplest search query to find it would be “County Building Permitting Department Processes.”Phamplets that explain each stage, law and building process expectations are usually available at the permitting office. It is important to understand which fees will be incurred for your design plan. Many earth home builders include these fees as part of the inherent cost of their home.Even with these fees – your home can be uniquely artistic and beautifully constructed for under 10,000.00. For this result, however, it is necessary to have friends and family available to provide some of the construction labor. Learning to build your own home is a new career opportunity to lean into.
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  • How do I make the needed legal changes if I can’t get my plan approved through my county?
    Many county building officials are unfamiliar with monolithic adobe building. Long established building codes and processes cause confusion for the permitting officers who are used to seeing housing development submissions from architects, building construction companies and, on occasion, the well-informed independent family home building contractor.To enhance the facilitation of approval it is often necessary to inform your county building permitting officials of the safety and stability of earth house construction. This site provides earthquake safety information, and other specific building process information that is available for download to include in your housing permit process application.The voting process for citizens who live within a county township happen for local change on a yearly basis. Collecting signatures for a petition to make your local building permitting laws more user-friendly can happen within just one voting cycle. Understanding what is currently legal – and then amending your local county building permitting laws to fit your construction process is a matter of delivering this information in a manner that makes full use of your citizen’s right to change local laws.
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  • The country housing element
    The county housing element is an annual publication that is another powerful avenue for local development change. The Family Village earth home complex needs to be clearly articulated, and then made legally possible by mandating your county supervisors to approve any submission of natural family village development applications.When mandates are placed in the county housing element – this mandates your local county housing development officials – your county supervisors who are elected to office – to approve the local citizen’s request for a more sustainable, affordable and stable development process for your local neighborhoods.Word your county housing mandates carefully, and make sure you have a public-voice organization such as a community non profit housing support organization like Natural Villages to help you get your mandate into the county housing element. You might need a specific number of petition signatures if local permitting laws are needing to be changed. Local non profit social change organizations such as your county low income legal services office can be very useful.It is important to have the available information on building processes to understand what to be prepared for in the county permitting requirements. Many counties require that a wall has roof to foundation iron rods to make earthquake accommodation to prevent roof and wall collapse.

    The problem here – is that an iron rod is extended from the roof, and through the center of a monolithic earth wall, into the building’s foundation. This means that the iron rod will vibrate during an earthquake, rather than shake uniformly as a monolithic wall, and this would destroy and even shatter the earth construction within the wall.

    If there is no rod and the wall is contiguously knitted together with the straw, sand and clay kneading process – you have walls that dry rock-solid, that will shake and move with and over the gravel foundation, and potentially survive large impact earthquakes – along with the climate change protection these thick earth walls provide.

    Please remember to use the climate change argument within your application. Many officials are concerned yet unaware of the stable solutions available to prepare for our changing economic and climate future.

    Your application can change the development process for neighborhoods. This can prevent the erasure of local plants and animals. It can support the widely held view that natural settings and regional animal migrations are the essence of health and well being for the environments of areas that have been dramatically and severely damaged by our current legally approved neighborhood development processes.

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  • Can I work full-time for you guys and earn a livelihood?
    Earning a livelihood by promoting social and environmental healing is a profound opportunity. To become part of a Natural Villages team – training and contract agreements are required. We have a door to door canvassing process that has the potential to both inform our county residents of this low cost, and climate appropriate development process – and to pay people a generous percentage of collected donations in order to promote this new development opportunity.Our percentages are designed to provide a decent income to those who are sincere about environmental and social development progress. Our goal is to transform our neighborhood development processes into the healthy evolution of regionally appropriate design of natural family villages that deliver low cost lifestyles and authentically sustainable development for our local families and our shared and quickly-changing climactic future.
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  • How do I find a place to legally build?

    Any citizen can purchase a lot or a plot of land if they have the money. If you also have a simple to follow development package – you can also have the power to develop your own legal family village.Most people want to be close to friends and family. Choose at least an acre of land if you intend to grow food and have a village, but for a simple lot and home similar to what can be purchased in a neighborhood – you can simply locate an attractive lot, and verify that your building method can be approved by following this simple educational process.Sewer and electrical lines are available within city limits for neighborhood lots, and the building process can be submitted as previously described according to local laws and ordinances.

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  • How will I know my soil and growing conditions will support a sustainable development project?

    Every soil can be amended, and every growing condition can be accommodated in todays world. If your soil is low on clay or sand for wall building – clay or sand deposits can be located and tapped so your soil for building material can be amended. TOP SOIL should always be diverted to the garden, and sub-soil should be used for walls and fireplaces, etc.Your top soil contains about five to ten inches deep of minerals and other deposits from long-term composting realities that make growing conditions ideal. Top soil has been dramatically reduced from our current agricultural and climate change realities – it has become as precious as money, or gold. This is because food needs to be grown in mineral rich soils in order to be truly healthy for our bodies. When our land is denuded of trees with roots, wildlife and shrubs – it becomes vulnerable to wind that blows the valuable soil to other random locations.

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  • How do I become trained and authorized to collect donations?
    We have contracts for independent contractors that have been fully trained through our organization to go door to door to inform the public about these new development options. We offer a generous percentage of donations collected as compensation.Our staff is designed to grow with our project load. We also earn through delivery of workshops that provide education and labor to build family earth homes where building permits have been obtained. We also support those who are working to get projects approved through their county permitting departments. For a nominal fee a Natural Villages staffer will help you move your project through your local building permitting department process.Become trained and authorized to be a Natural Villager participating in our economic generation by hosting a workshop, attending a workshop, by becoming trained to run event tables at fairs, events and gatherings where NV hosts earn a percentage of donations generated, and by providing other necessary services to the organization.Identify land base to be donated to Natural Villages where educated family groups can then recover the land base into its natural state of wild, regional plant and animal occupation, while also hosting natural village developments for friends and families to occupy. Superfund sites and other trashed and bare parcels of land are ideal for recovery into a natural village.

    Consult with the staff and other experts in the natural villages community for the processes that transforms land base into lush, food producing landscapes. Never underestimate the power of fungi to absorb and transmute leaked chemicals into inert natural compounds.

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  • How hard is it to have electricity and indoor plumbing?
    If you have chosen a lot that is fully connected to city electricity grids and sewer lines – the ability to have electricity and high quality, low flow plumbing into city approved sewer lines has never been easier.Any soft, damp earth wall under construction is the easiest environment to form a hole for pipes for plumbing to pass through. Electrical wires are easily grounded by cutting lines through damp clay walls, and sealing them invisibly in place with moist clay earth mixes in just minutes. You can run wires anywhere, and you can run heating coils through these walls just as easily. An outlet installation is virtually minutes to complete once the outlet insert indent has been carved from the moist wall ahead of time.Windows are easy to replace and take less time and cost to replace than when dealing with traditional wood framed walls as well. This holds true for straw bale walls, rammed earth walls, wood framed walls and any other alternative building material.Moist earth-clay thick walls will prove easier to amend and change and install new materials within due to the ease of reforming and replacing the earth materials. Whereas straw bale walls can’t be so easily compromised under earth plasters, rammed earth requires heavy equipment to maintain formed walls, and bamboo has all the challenges wood framed walls do as well.
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  • How do I develop a plan that will be accepted by the local building department?
    It is best to consult designers who are very familiar with the cob or monolithic adobe building process before you make designs and develop plans to approach your local permitting departments. Never reinvent the wheel.Find out if anyone else in your county has been successful at getting alternative and especially earth buildings permitted already. There may very well be fully legal mother in law units in your town in random back yards of those who hit their progressive sustainability and income generation needs at the same time.Collect, read and understand all of the information that is provided within the brochures made available in the building permit department lobby. Speak with your permitting officer and find out how much he understands about monolithic adobe and the earthquake safety, monolithic stability (ideal for a changing and unpredictable climate) and economic and development sustainability it offers to communities.Quote and copy and submit verified studies, plans and photos that show your intent and process. Validate where materials will be obtained – and showcase the low cost and authentic natural approach that sustainable building delivers. If you build before getting permits – authenticate every stage with photos that show a ruler demonstrating the depth of your foundation trench, the quality of the gravel infill into the trench, the shape and stability of your foundation materials be it poured cement, recycled broken cement blocks, bricks, or natural, local rocks.

    Document every stage fully so your local officials will become educated and willing to offer permits to those who come after you.

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