Bulid your house for �4000

Ian ian.stardust at ukgateway.net
Mon Mar 10 14:37:41 GMT 2008

Software engineer builds straw house for £4k
The Register - Monday 10th March 2008

A 52-year-old software engineer has built a habitable house for just £4,000 - albeit with a lot of hard graft and a certain amount of scavenging. Steve James slogged for "10 months of actual building time" over four years to put together his Galloway straw domicile, dubbed "The Gatehouse" and constructed with a timber frame, straw walls protected by lime mortar, and a planet-hugging turf roof. Amenities are basic - water supplied purely by rainfall and batteries for 'leccy - but James describes the fruits of his labour as a "cuddly house".                                                     

James told the BBC: "I have never built a house before but I have done a bit of joinery and have done a lot of practical work. Most of my life I have been a hands-on worker."                                                               
Among the items James didn't have to stump up for were a Velux roof window, shower tray and front window - all picked up from other people's unwanted building materials - as well as a "Tudor-style" panelled wood ceiling assembled from solid pine changing cubicle doors "salvaged from old Victorian public baths in Govan". From the bargain basement department came a 50 quid wood-burning stove, œ100 in batteries and £150 worth of reclaimed joists.
The total outlay was, the BBC explains:                                         

    * £600 supplies for volunteers
    * £500 sarking (wooden roof boarding)
    * £400 floorboards
    * £400 pond liner
    * £300 straw
    * £200 plumbing
    * £150 reclaimed joists
    * £150 plywood
    * £150 equipment hire
    * £150 glass
    * £100 quicklime
    * £100 wiring
    * £100 tarpaulin
    * £100 paint/varnish
    * £100 batteries
    * £100 fixings
    * £100 miscellaneous
    * £100 fuel for power tools
    * £70 water pump
    * £50 water heater
    * £50 stove chimney

James reckons his DIY straw house points to an affordable solution in the face of inflated house prices, and that a three-bedroom version could be yours for just £10,000.                                                                   

He concluded: "It is something that anybody could easily learn to do most of, with help. The real cost of a house is fairly small. It is always the land that makes about 85 per cent of the cost. Adding the compound interest to the final cost of a mortgage reduces the actual house price component of the total to as little as two per cent."                                                        


 Sustainable home that cost just £4k
10 March, 2008

By Kate Ahira

Owner-builder says that anyone else could do the same

Sustainable yet affordable too – surely the holy grail of housing? A newly built Scottish home could provide one way to capture that elusive dream.

Featuring straw walls and a turf roof, it was built for around £4,000. Many of the materials were sourced from nearby fields, with reclaimed materials obtained for free also playing a part.

The resulting sustainable home collects water from rainfall for the inhabitants’ use and takes electricity from a car battery. A water wheel is under construction to provide further power to the Galloway property later this year.

The low labour costs could prove impractical to replicate, though - 52-year-old software engineer Steve James built his home with his own hands.

However, he told the BBC that “anybody could easily learn to do” the same with a little guidance, and believes that a three-bedroom home could be built for under £10,000.

Pointing out that land makes up the bulk of the price of a home and compound interest on a mortgage adds further to the cost paid by UK consumers, he calculates that actual construction costs could be “as little as 2%”.

James took four years to complete the house from start to finish, although actual building time amounted to just 10 months. 

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