Workshops, courses, 50% off Neopham eco pans, lime renders clay renders, council…

Quick News Update:

  • Jump aboard the May 2014 strawbale workshop in the upper Blue Mountains
  • Natural Building talks at the Sydney Homeshow in June
  • Mudgee Field Day Strawbale demonstrations in July
  • Next AREC Strawbale Building course in August
  • 50% off Neopham pots and pans (eco stainless)
  • Different types of renders and benefits
  • Secret ingredients on getting your sb home through Council Part II
  • Workshop photos
  • Costs to build a Viva Home vs conventional Home
Courses & Workshops

Workshops & Courses 2014

8-11 May Straw Bale Workshop HOT news. Our next strawbale workshop will be in the Upper Blue Mountains. For those who have some knowledge beforehand and want to put their skills into practise register quickly – as we booked out last time in 1.5 weeks! It costs $55pp in exchange for your hard work for 4 days (no spectators).
19 & 21 June Sydney Homeshow, Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park.  We will be giving a couple of talks on natural homes and why they’re so good compared to conventional homes.
11-12 July Strawbale demonstrations at the ever popular Mudgee Small Farm Field Days.
1-3 August AREC Strawbale Building course at Mudgee. From fundamentals to advanced building techniques, this 3 day course is for owner builders, builders, engineers, tradies and strawbale junkies. For bookings and more info> Tickets half sold already!
5-7 September Strawbale Building Conference, Adelaide. Want to emerse yourselves in strawbale building? Learn from strawbale builders around the country and hang out with other like minded people. Watch the Ausbale website for further details

50% off!

50% off Neoflam Eco Pans

For Viva clients only Go Vita Health Nutrition Centre 138 Macquarie St Springwood NSW has given clients who show this newsletter (on your phone or printed out) 50% off their range of eco pots and pans. This is a really super offer and it expires end of May 2014. Last year we got you 50% off organic sheet sets so please support them so we can continue to get cool discounts for you.

Types of Renders

Types of Renders

We’ve done a lot of workshops and courses in the last month. Some people can get confused about different renders to use and where so we’ve summarised just some of them:

  • Lime render (made up on site): includes lime, sand and a binder. Good for external renders or internal renders in humid climates. You need to get the mix right so practise or used a skilled team (hydrated lime with a small % of cement sets the lime. If using lime putty you’ll need to add other materials. We don’t have hydraulic lime in Australia as yet – this was used by the Romans).
  • Bagged lime render (can also be coloured): available from Supacoator Rockcote. Does cost more than a made up render on site, but it won’t fail (some people’s renders have failed if inexperienced, is good in high traffic areas with children or the public)
  • Lime wash: hydrated lime from the hardware, mix with water. Goes a long way (1 bag should do your whole home so it’s super cheap). Paints on clear, dries white.
  • Lime paints: you can buy or make your own coloured lime paints
  • Clay renders: use clay and sand to use in internal areas (using earth renders outside can be possible but they will need to be covered and not get water on them or they can melt). We tend not to use earth renders outside at all as we need to guarantee our work.
  • Straw render: use clay, sand and short straw. Good for inexperienced people as it’s a forgiving mix which won’t crack as much as a normal earth render. Use short pieces of straw. Good for moulding around tricky areas and for beefing out your render
  • Rice husks render: mix in rice husks, similar to a straw render
  • Gypsum render: gypsum is used as well to help give a hardy finish to an earth render, good for internal use. Also comes in bags from Supacoat and Rockcote
    Please note: cement only renders are not used
Secret Ingredients…

How to Get a Strawbale Home Through Council – Part II

For those back for more punishment, here goes. Conventional homes get through council based on already being in the Building Code (BCA). Natural buildings have to get engineered or approved for building via ‘experts’. Engineers or you must pass the BCA and Australian Standards. This means you need an engineer to sign off on your roof, slab AND in addition, to your strawbale wall system. That’s the first secret ingredient.

The 2nd secret ingredient… is providing Council with a Strawbale Statement. Just stating this method is under the ‘Deemed to Satisfy’ part of the BCA. Address how  you will design, build, weather proof, render, engineer and maintain your strawbale home. You will also need to mention fire, how you will warrant against fire.
For the fire… the CSIRO report which was procured by Bohdan Architects. Contact them, he’s still paying off his investment so there is a small fee but if you provide it to Council they will be much happier and should have no reason to knock it back. You will need to read it and follow the rendering system in order to ensure it complies to the bushfire report.

To recap on the secret ingredients to Council Applications for strawbale homes:

  • Get an engineer to sign off on strawbale wall construction method used
  • Write up a Strawbale Statement, outline the points raised above
  • Buy and include the CSIRO report
  • Follow and comply with the BCA, Australian Standards, local council’s requirements and all other state and government regulations when building the rest of your homedrum roll… there it is

Workshop Photos

We’ve just loaded some photos onto some albums: Facebook Milkwood andFacebook Workshop we did. Please like, share, comment.

Costs of Strawbale Homes

Cost to Build a Viva Home vs a Conventional Home

According to this source
we are comparable with conventional home prices.

We say that our homes are the same price as a double brick home. Our pre designed homes are around $1900-$2000 psm to build. Our custom designed homes are around $2200-$2500 psm. Which is the same as a double brick home using these figures.

Some customers who have done their research have said to us (when we ask them why us): “they’re the same price as a conventional home, so why wouldn’t we build one of your homes? They’re natural, sustainable and solar passive”. Cool answer!