There are lots of questions we get asked – here are the most common and their answers.
Can you do a workshop on my site?
Yes we can – click here to read all the details.
Can you come and attend or lead a workshop for free?
Sadly not – we have a busy family life at the moment, and Paulina is also a practicing architect, so our education time is focussed on leading Earth, Hands and Houses workshops, usually 3 times a year in spring, summer and autumn.
Can you offer me (free) advice about my building project?
Yes, we can offer you advice, but not for free. We offer a Skype based consultation service, based on a time to review your specific project and questions, and the time taken on Skype. Packages start from 150 euros for 3 hours of review and consultation.
Can you design my natural building house for me?
Definitely! We have time to design 2 or 3 houses per year, and our schedule is usually booked for at least a year in advance, so please allow lots of time.
Will I be able to build my own house after your workshops?
The question of what someone will be able to do after the workshop is sometimes better answered by that person themselves than by us. We have people who come on one 5 day workshop and then go off and build their own house a few weeks later, and others who come to workshops for years and are still not confident enough to take the plunge in any way. It is all down to you, your experience, the experience you build around you, your attitude to excitement and risk, the size of the building you want to create, the planning and building regulations where you will build… it is the usual things of life.
Building a complete house has many aspects, and requires many skills. Your walls of natural materials need to sit on foundations, within a structure and under a roof. When those are complete, you have a skeleton inside which to add internal walls, doors, windows, electrics, plumbing, a kitchen, bathroom, tiles, shelves… building a house is a massive project.
So after our workshops, you will probably feel confident to build the walls and foundations – the structure, roof, and all those internal things will be down to your skills, confidence, money and time!
So within those realities in mind, we have designed our workshops on two levels. The first, is to have all the background information so you can decide the best way forwards for you. This is contained in our Planning Your Dream Natural Home Workshop. The next one will run 11-15th August 2015, in Sussex. You will then want specific, hands-on training on how to do the parts that can be done without needing years of building experience, which is usually the walls of your structure. We specialise in straw bale, earthbag and clay plastering techniques for this, and have workshops in Spain during May 2015, and a Straw Bale and Clay Plaster Workshop running 18-22 August 2015 in Sussex, England.
Will I be able to get planning permission for a home made from natural materials where I live?
Well of course, it depends…
Remember that there are usually two stages to getting permission. The first stage is giving permission to build the size and style of house you want, in the place you you want to build it. The second stage is ensuring how you will build it meets the often thousands of regulations covering construction in that area.
Some countries have strict codes about the second stage, how you build your house… and in this case, using some natural techniques could be difficult to get permission for. Other countries are more flexible, and it is the decision of the local building regulations department as to whether they think your design meets their list of criteria.
In most countries, working with a local architect who knows the rules and how to present your case in the best way is often the most likely chance of success.
Do you know any straw bale houses I can take a holiday in?
Yes, we know two in eastern Poland set in a beautiful nature reserve with lots of forests and lakes – one of them is on the home page of our web site – contact us for more details.