Strawbales at the Sydney Home Show, May 2013

Strawbale Tips, Workshops & More

  • Strawbale workshops and courses
  • Strawbales at the Sydney Home Show, we giving talks
  • Sneak peak at the burnt orange ‘settler’s home’
  • Tips for winter living: save on heating bills for not much cost
  • What do you want the straw bale association to do for you?
  • Straw bale building tips: getting started
Workshops & Courses


11 June 6pm Sydney

ATA Why Natural Homes are Better and 7+ Star Rated Natural Homes 11th June

The prestiguous Australian Technology Association has invited us to talk. Learn lots: why natural building is better for your health and environment; costings compared with conventional building. We also need your show of support. Info for free tickets >


12 June 6:30pm Bondi, NSW

Straw bale talk and organic feast. $15 and includes a delicious organic meal, yum! To book>



12 & 13 July – Mudgee, NSW

Strawbale demonstration at the Small Farm Field Days on Friday 12th and 13th July at Mudgee. For more info> So you can see how to build a straw bale building, see a rendered building and see rendering in action. You can also ask us questions.


16,17,18 August – Mudgee, NSW

The must-do Straw Bale Course for Owner Builders, Architects, Builders, Designers who are thinking of building a straw bale home. You’ll save yourself twice as much as the course fees or Sam says he’ll eat his shorts. Not your ordinary guarantee but there it is! To book the AREC course>


8 September– Australia-wide

Sustainable House Day is where people all around Australia with a sustainable home open their doors. We hope that our clients will open up their straw bale and earth homes for others to see what is possible.


Upcoming Workshops

We’ll also be running a workshop in the Blue Mountains and another close to Canberra in the coming months. Please get your boots ready!



Straw Bale @ Sydney Home Show

Can you believe straw bale building is going mainstream? When the Sydney Home Show said they wanted us to talk about natural building and straw bale building on their Sustainable Stage, we couldn’t say no! We showed that you can have it all – a natural home can look beautiful. Questions which arose included: what is different about our homes and other builders. We’ll be covering this info in the June talks we’re doing.


What do you want?

the Australasian Straw Bale Building Association (AUSBALE) to do for you? We’d like to hear. We’d like to write a code for straw bale building. Just email us with your suggestions.


Tips for Winter Living For little expense, you can save on heating. Separate your home into areas you can heat and those you can keep unheated eg. close all bedroom and bathroom doors, but just before bed, open up your bedroom doors. If you have a 2 storey home, close off the upstairs (use curtains) to stop the heat from going upstairs. Seal all windows and doors with draught stoppers and sausages. If you use electric heaters, use panel heaters (not oil or fan heaters) as they are far more cost effective. Insulating your home is one of the cheapest ways to save on your heating bills.
Check out Viva Homes in the Grand Designs Australia Magazine

They included a 4 page article on straw bale building and included us! So straw bales continue to go mainstream, yay!

Where do we build?

We build all over NSW and ACT. You can buy our designs and Builder’s Manual and build your home anywhere in Australia.

The Red ‘Settler’s’ Home

It’s definitely a wow location and home. This 3 bedroom straw bale home has a lot of cool features. We’ll post more photos on our website soon.

Straw Bale Building Tips: Getting Started

So you’re thinking of building a straw bale home? It’s quite a steep learning curve. The first steps to do include:

1.     Secure your land

2.     Start a wishlist of what you want/don’t want. Keep it, add to it and make sure along the build, that these are part of the build

3.     Get a mudmap (a rough plan) of what i) floor plan and ii) style you like – or get examples

4.     Start your budget and actual spreadsheet, include all items including, driveway, services, landscaping, the house and additions, furnishings, fees

5.     Get finance, including additional finance if required as back up. Get pre-approval to hasten things later

6.     Start a timeline

7.     Get land, confirm covenants, where you can build, Council restrictions

8.     Organise services, get quotes and seek feasibility for: power, fresh water, gas, sewer, phone, driveway access

9.     Get a surveyor’s contour & enviro plan done. Provide a pdf and .dwg to your drawer or builder

10.   Get a Soil and sewer report done

11.   Find out Council regulations as they all vary. See if you’re in a flame zone or there are stormwater issues, nature strips, covenants. Advise us of any issues.

12.   Find out what you want, number of bedrooms. What wall materials you like (straw, cobb, colorbond, poured earth, rammed earth etc.)

13.   Confirm the design you like, any changes you’ll want to the design.

14.   Or additions (skylights), shed, pool, verandah, deck etc

15.   Have a look at builder’s works, what guarantees they offer and what finishes they have. If you’re going to owner build, work out who you will use and for what.

16.   We’ll give you an estimate price to build the house (ex site costs)

17.   Decide whether you will owner build or get a builder

18.   Decide on house site location bearing in mind Council regs, where north is, views are, slope, lie of the land, and any natural waterways or dams are.

19.   Decide on colours and materials for roof, windows, walls, water tank, gutters as Council require this

20.   Confirm design, get your house drawn up

21.   BASIX certificate is required

Straw Bale Services We Provide:

  • A range of straw bale home designs which we, or you can build
  • Straw bale home designs which are solar passive (pre-designed or custom designed)
  • Design and build straw bale homes to a set time, cost with a consistent result (most other builders don’t specialise in straw bale building, or other straw bale tradespeople can only build the walls and render)
  • Products: the Viva wire twitcher ($350) and the baling pin ($95). We use them for all our homes as they save us time and make the job so much easier and safer. We’re happy to share the knowledge and help others so we’re selling the extras we had made up.
  • Straw bale education: workshops, workbees, courses and demonstrations | Facebook: Viva Living Homes | Ph: 0450 480 460