Whether you are planning to build your own natural home or looking to integrate natural materials into an existing project, getting professional advice is a sound investment.
Choosing to build with natural materials is to take the road less traveled. There is a lot of work to be done to break old ways of seeing and doing things, but the right way is not always the easy way. This is part of the journey. Building your own home is a deeply satisfying experience and a life changing one at that. It can also be a frustrating experience if you feel that you are not being heard. This is especially true when trying to do something different. We know what this feels like, as we’ve been through it ourselves. We’ve used these materials successfully in many projects and have demonstrated to building officials that the so-called ‘unconventional’ materials like straw and clay are not only substantially equivalent to the conventional, mass-produced materials that dominate the construction industry today, but that they often outperform and outlast their conventional counterparts. Our experience working through these hurdles will ensure that your journey is easier and more pleasant, while improving the likelihood that the home you envision will be the home you build.
We also understand that while some of you are just beginning your journey, others of you will be engaged at various stages of the process. This is okay. Though we always encourage people to get us involved early on in the process, thereby saving time, money, and heartache, we understand that it’s not always possible. To better meet people where they’re at, we’ve structured our consulting work into 3 phases, each offering something different to contribute to a successful outcome. Whether working through regulatory hurdles, material specifications and sourcing, design details, etc we can tailor our consulting services to your needs and budget.
How We Can Assist
Phase 1: Pre-Planning
- Choosing a building site – we can help you evaluate the site, answering questions about ideal sites for natural buildings (exposure to driving rain, drainage, passive solar potential, etc.), the possibility of finding natural materials suitable for building on the site, and more.
- Choosing the best materials for your project, including an availability assessment of local materials.
- Resources for local building inspectors (fire ratings, structure, plaster tests, etc. for various building materials).
- Pre-planning checklist.
- Connecting you with a designer and/or engineer familiar with natural materials to draft building plans.
Phase 2: Planning
- Working with your existing architect and/or engineer to integrate the natural building elements (straw bales, plasters, earthen floors, etc.) into the design.
- Informing certain design details in regards to plasters, intersections between dissimilar materials, and how to correctly place and detail windows and doors to minimize problem areas. For some reflection on details (and an explanation on what we mean by ‘details’) that you might not have considered, check out the information here.
- Sourcing raw materials in your local area, while also providing “green” alternatives to some of the conventional materials used in building today.
Phase 3: Construction
We offer advice on the best way to get your project off the ground, balancing it with your timeline, budget, and goals. For some this may mean discussing a timeline for having the work done by a crew of professional builders, while for those wishing to contribute some sweat equity, hands-on consultations, crew training, and in some situations, workshops led by Dirt Craft Natural Building may be the best way forward.
To learn more about each of these services, please visit our ‘Building Services’ – ‘How We Can Help’ page.
We are happy to offer the first 15 minutes free of charge just to make sure that what we offer works with your particular needs. If you’d like to engage us beyond this time we are available at a rate of $50/hour. We’re happy to work by email, on the phone or Skype, or on site. Site visits are an additional charge and based on location.
Hands-on consulting varies project by project. If you’d like to know more about this please get in touch.
Some Feedback from Happy Clients:
Thanks Ashley for your informative session with us. It really did help us understand the process better and gave us good information to make better decisions. Thanks again!- Darwin and Samantha Wiggett