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building your own house

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posted on Jan, 20 2011 @ 08:27 PM

Originally posted by Mr Tranny
The easiest way to get a solid, long lasting underground structure is buy a bunch of prefab concrete box culverts and stick together as many as you need to make the size of room you want.

If you do that you'll have the Feds on you in no time flat.

They monitor significant building activities via satellite. And unless you plan on back-breaking labor you'd have to rent a backhoe too. But anyway there are lots of examples of people trying to build bunkers in recent years that end with the law showing up to tell them that they either need a permit, their reasons for building don't conform with good reasons for such a permit, things of that nature. If they catch you they eye you very suspiciously, as if you're an extremist.

I've known people locally who've been fined or had simple shacks condemned simply because they were built without a proper permit. And these buildings were found with technology like Google maps. They just go through looking for buildings that don't have permits.

Depending where you're at they might have different local laws maybe, I'm no building code expert, but it's worth a second thought as the Feds do look out for that kind of stuff and try to keep tabs on where civilian bunkers are being built. The bigger and harder to penetrate, the more "interested" they are and more likely to show up to tell you to stop it.

Now if you can think of a good excuse to have a big underground, concrete shelter, and get the proper permit, you might be alright, but I'm still skeptical. Just don't tell them you plan to live in it some day or suddenly you'll have a whole new list of codes to adhere to.
edit on 20-1-2011 by bsbray11 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 20 2011 @ 09:48 PM
reply to post by bsbray11

Yes, you have to have permits.

Permits are there for the protection of your neighbors and your own protection at the same time. General zoning laws stipulate property line stand offs, structure height limits, what type of building materials you can use.

That is designed to prevent someone doing something totally stupid, like buying a pre fab grain silo constructing it and building a home in it. Then the neighbor comes back home after a week long vacation and find “Grain bin home” right outside his front window.

And it is designed to provide a legal leg to stand on if your neighbor tries to raise holy heck with you even though you are building something that conforms to all the local building standards. If you lay out to them what you are going to build, and what with, and they say is OK then your neighbor can’t do anything about it as long as you stay within the permit guide lines.

And in large cities, they often want to make sure that you are using proper building techniques to build a house, so that you, and anyone that buys the house you built, won’t be in any danger because of a flaw in construction.

The problem comes about when you try to do something out of the ordinary. And how good they view your idea may depend upon who you talk to at the zoning office. If you walk into the office and go “I need to dig out my back yard and put in a bomb shelter so that when Armageddon comes, I am going to be able to survive.” They may look at you a bit strange and go……… “Not in a million years…….”

Two reasons for that. One. It is probably a safe bet that you are getting in over your head and will build something that will get someone killed. Two. Hazard avoidance. They have never dealt with a permit for one, and they do not know the design requirements for one to assure that it would be a safe construction. So it is easier to say NO than it is to dig up the information and do a lot of brain work for a one off situation.

If you live in an area where zoning is a bit strict, then you should get a hold of one of the prefab shelter manufactures that also does full installation. They will know how to deal with permit problems and skittish zoning board people.. And they will be able to tell you if there is any outstanding circumstances that negate any idea of putting in a shelter in your area. Water table problems, exec.

Or you could find someone that has done underground design before, and ask him for advice, or hire him to go through the legal hoops to get them to OK it. Design, safety exec. He will be able to tell you want they will want in the design, so you don’t sound like an idiot at the zoning board. If you sound like you have no idea what you are doing then you will get nowhere.

If you do live in an area where they don’t freak out when you mention “subterranean” then tell them something more reasonable, like.. If you are in a tornado area, then tell them that you want to build an underground tornado shelter that also doubles as a living space during normal days. Same for a fire shelter. Or you could say that you was wanting to build a large root cellar off the side of the basement for vegetable storage. Or state that you need to furnish your basement to expand your living space and you are needing to build a new storage area in the house for the stuff you are displacing from the basement. And you don’t want to add on any more to the above ground house, so you was wanting to build on a little area off the side of the basement that will be below grade so that you can have useable storage room, and it would act as a good tornado shelter, and food storage cellar too!

If you live in the countryside they will know exactly what you want to build when you tell them it is a root cellar. Familiarity breeds trust. A root cellar that is attached to the house through a basement wall wouldn’t be anything far fetched.

Another tac to go is say that you are wanting to build one of those half buried earth friendly homes. That is the running fad and they expect strange stuff from those people so they may be a little more willing to work with you.

And reassure them that you will be using a safe and solid construction method. That is why I mentioned the culverts. That is something they are familiar with. If you state you are going to use one of those, then they don’t have to worry about you building something yourself that will fall in on your head.

The people that sell the culverts don’t care what the heck you do with them, as long as you have the equipment to unload them when they get to your place. The only thing they care about is liability. They are not designed for living space. But if he doesn’t know what they are going to be used for, then he isn’t responsible. If you tell him, and he agrees then he starts gaining responsibility. Some manufacturers may be ok with you using them for a living space, but other won’t. Don’t tell them unless they ask. If they ask, and they don’t like what you are going to use them for, then thank them for their time and try to find someone else. Above all, don’t lie to them. Don’t get mad at them for saying NO, because it is their own back they are guarding. You would do the same.

Just make reasonable request, and be polite. It will help you a long way in your quest.

If there is some outstanding factor that negates the idea, like a high water table, or other safety concerns, then just accept the facts and live with them, or try to find yourself another property that is more suitable for that design.

edit on 20-1-2011 by Mr Tranny because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 20 2011 @ 10:07 PM
You can mix concrete with beads of styrofoam to make a lightweight building material that holds in heat. You'd need to stockpile all of that ahead of time where you can have access to it.

Native Americans made pit houses. Basically you dig a huge circle shape into the ground, and then sort of a trench leading to it. The whole shape of it is sort of igloo shaped or turtle shaped. You dig dig several feet into the ground, the deeper the better really.

Then you take some flexible willow or other types of trees to construct a roof. You can lay hides or in modern times, plastic or news paper or whatever you can find, over the roof. Then you begin to get some mud and cover it all over with mud.

You really have to construct the roof really well or the whole thing is going to just cave in on you, and you don't want that.

But if you can get some concrete and mix it with styrofoam, that is really light weight and works well.

posted on Jan, 20 2011 @ 11:02 PM
reply to post by Mr Tranny

those blocks are too mcuh/
i really dont know about anything !
so many ideas in my head hard to go in one direction,

i like the idea of the tires and filling them with earth and material and contrete
then lengths of lumber across the top.
so many ways it can be done...

maybe its easier to have a kit house and then just put extentions all over the joint...

posted on Jan, 20 2011 @ 11:15 PM
if you are needing something underground but also are paying attention to permits and don't want a lot of questions asked, try cellar plans.

If you are trying to escape very high surface temperatures and seriously screwed up conditions, then you should go much deeper I guess and maybe you could look into some structures that already have a need to be underground. Right off the top of my head I'm not thinking anything specific... maybe some kind of underground silo or something. the reason I say that is because if it's something they are used to seeing, like cellars and crap like that- maybe there won't be as many questions as you'd think.

I live in florida. we have hurricanes and tornadoes. I have wanted to build something like this for high winds but don't want to get too carried away because something like that would be useless in the event of a tidal wave unless it was airtight but even still... after a tidal wave, i don't want to be underground because debris will settle... i want to be above the water idealistically. If i really wanted to get carried away (or had the money) i would go much deeper for in the event of solar winds or thermal blasts or some crazy # like that, but realistically i will never go that far because I don't have that kind of money.... so i would find a nice little cellar plan and stick a repo on the lot until I can build a better house and just go with that. i don't see any reason you would need to go out of your way to get a cellar permit.

here's what i want to do. i want to get a small lot and build a simple 30x30 garage on it and add a few internal walls (maybe three)- very basic studio type design with plumbing and turn it into a 900 sq ft living space over time. One may think 'why not just build a house from a design".... It's about staggering costs. As long as i have a shower, a toilet, and some outlets... i can camp out in a garage and not pay rent until I have all the permits to make it an actual home. you can get a garage plan for free easily.

ok, you know the housing market is bad... well last year i stumbled across a half acre lot in a pretty decent area around here and on it was a concrete workshop on concrete slab painted red. It had loft space. the lower level was over 700 sq ft and the loft space was a few hundred. they were selling it for 15k and dropped it to 12k. they even mentioned in the ad that some of the county permits had already been obtained and were good for a certain period of time to finsih it and make it a small house. a lot of people around here do stuff like that. many, if i could have gotten my hands on that! concrete, half acre, already built...12k! All that would need to be done is finish the inside, brick up some of the large doors and set windows and door frames in. I couldn't believe that #!
i didn't have 12k needless to say and couldn't get a loan.

I probably won't be able to do any of that so i want to buy a lot and put a repo on it and gradually build a concrete structure and eventually move into it. with house designs there is a lot more to consider. The roofs are usually more complex and they have already planned out all the counter spaces and all that crap and you have all the permits there to put all that # in. you don't need all that crap to survive and you certainly don't need it to just get by. when my disabled friend was here, we were even talking about an outdoor shower for him because he has seriously mobility issues and has to go to all sorts of trouble to get in the damn shower without busting his head open.... so we were talking about making a private space with some privacy panels and tiling the floor of it with some salvaged tile.... at least in the beginning.

there'd have to be a toilet though...omg. I don't know if I can take care of my business in front of the squirrels.
I guess I would if I had to but I certainly would not want to. That would be illegal over time anyway in a residential area.

here's something you might want to think about... water pumps. I have no idea what i am going to do but i don't want a regular electric water pump but i want a well. i don't want to be on a water system and I want to be able to understand my equipment.... even if i have to hand pump the # until I can figure something else out. I need to get a better understanding of those things.
edit on 20-1-2011 by ChaosMagician because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 20 2011 @ 11:18 PM

Originally posted by bsbray11
If you do that you'll have the Feds on you in no time flat.

And another thing that I almost forgot. Be transparent. Everything out in the open. Remember that there is other people building the same thing as you are to do illegal stuff in. If you start acting shady then the first thing that pops into their mind is ……… drug growers. People have started going underground to build their pot growing rooms. They have uncovered many pot operations that have built tunnels and underground rooms. So, if you start trying to do anything under cover, then they will be on you like snow in a blizzard.

If you already have a name for yourself that lends you to that activity, then just forget about it. You may want to do it for totally legal reasons, but your bad habits have killed your chances.

It is bad that the piece of crap drug growers make it harder for people wanting to do legal stuff, but that is the way it is.

edit on 20-1-2011 by Mr Tranny because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 20 2011 @ 11:28 PM
If you are serious about this type of building and lifestyle...then I assume you will live in a rural area.

As such, a rural area is an agricultural area.... get some livestock and call whatever you build a barn.

Where I live in NC, agriculture is still king and if you build an agricultural Barn, Shed, Tractor do NOT have to get approval, a license, nor an inspection...if it has no plumbing or can build a 10,000 sq ft barn underground and no one says fact, being an earth sheler barn, you might even get some applause and smiles for a good idea.

Or call it a storm Tornado Shelter...asafe haven to seek refuge and live in the event of a one thinks twice about it... the fact that it can be hidden and survive a nuclear blast is a side priviledge.

Like diapers or peanut's not what your selling...its how you market it.

posted on Jan, 20 2011 @ 11:46 PM

Originally posted by questcequecest
...should i just get a girlfriend and go harves in an...


Send us pics when you're all dug in, Mate

edit on 20-1-2011 by Chakotay because: for the Halibut...

posted on Jan, 21 2011 @ 12:14 AM

Originally posted by questcequecest
those blocks are too mcuh/
i really dont know about anything !
so many ideas in my head hard to go in one direction,

i like the idea of the tires and filling them with earth and material and contrete
then lengths of lumber across the top.
so many ways it can be done...

A fundamental concept in civil/structural engineering is that the forces holding the structure together (the ways you hold your logs in place, or whatever is relevant) have to be stronger than the forces trying to turn things over or that could potentially cause them to fall apart or collapse. Filling used tires with dirt and rocks sounds like it would make a good wall.

If you make a roof out of logs, you can wrap them in a plastic tarp on both sides, so your inside roof looks a little better and is easier to work with, and on the outside you can pile rocks and dirt on top to help insulation. You can also use parachute cord/military 550 cord or industrial pull cord if you want to go really strong, and tie the logs together so they can never roll off. You could make slots in the tire wall to constrain the ends of the logs too.

If you build up against a hill you can cover it in more rocks and dirt (even sod, with grass still on top) and the shape or disturbed soil isn't an obvious give-away, then the hill would just look a little larger, and you wouldn't even have to build up an insulated wall facing the earth, because it would provide its own insulation. If you look around you can even find natural places where the earth is raised on two sides by several feet and a deep narrow gap is in between them, where all you have to do is build a roof and two walls, and you have two walls already provided.

I don't know if anyone else has already mentioned this but be careful not to build somewhere so that water can build up against your walls and seep in. Make sure there's good water drainage around and that you put tarps up and tuck them so that rain or moisture from outside can't seep in through the walls.

posted on Jan, 21 2011 @ 01:20 AM
A question? I was under the belief that outside of city limits that building codes and permits were different and except for major construction (building a house) were not needed or limited. My ex put up a log cabin years ago and the only thing the county/state required was a general construction permit on a septic tank inspection. My information on this is many years out of date.


posted on Jan, 21 2011 @ 01:39 AM

Originally posted by barkingdogamato
A question? I was under the belief that outside of city limits that building codes and permits were different and except for major construction (building a house) were not needed or limited. My ex put up a log cabin years ago and the only thing the county/state required was a general construction permit on a septic tank inspection. My information on this is many years out of date.


I would always check with the county because even outside of cities, state laws may vary.

posted on Jan, 21 2011 @ 02:22 AM
reply to post by Chakotay

Off topic, sorry...We stayed at the Desert Cave Hotel in Cooper Pede when we drove from Darwin to Victoria, our best road trip so far
and yeah the cave was awesome.

edit on 21/1/11 by Whateva69 because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 08:46 AM
Hi questcequecest,

I have also had similar ideas, to build an underground "hobbit hole", which if you havent seen Lord of the rings, is just a house built into the side of a hill. From the research i have done, they are not very hard to build, and maybe an easier alternative for you than your shipping container idea.

If you build you home underground like i plan to, not only will it be easier to build, but also safer in an earthquake, impervious to tornadoes, is warm in winter and cool in summer and also fairly cheap to build.

im from melbourne in australia

Me too, any ideas where you plan to build? I'm still stuck on location ideas

i know i havent thought that deeply about much of this but ideas from people would be appreciated. im just reading a few of the survival hand books on ats

One book i would recommend, (espescially for building underground) is the "The $50 and up underground house book" by Mike Oehler, i downloaded it free off the internet (can't find the link to send it to you sorry) it has lots of good ideas and info.

essentially id like it to be some sort of commune. or cult where i am the leader. heh heh heh

LOL I also thought about doing something like this, to help keep the boredom away, i was just talking to my friend about this, but i don't think he is very keen on the idea XDD

anyway, i hope this helps


posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 09:05 AM
Hello! In 1993 my husband and I built a house on ten acres out in the countryside of Virginia.
The problems were: it requires alot of gas and time to drive back to town for groceries, hardware stores, work, doctors, dentists, etc... We spent a lot of time traveling in the car. Then we had kids and realized there
were no babysitters, no friends for them to play with, and the school system was horrible.
We also had well water problems the whole time we lived there. We were located at sea level, near the triasic
basin and had to go 400 feet deep for water and have a well liner. We still did not have enough water flow.
But, we did get to see an owl jerk a squirrel out of its nest and eat it. A few of our neighbors got robbed during the day when they were at work. We killed twenty snakes in our 10 foot perimeter around the house, and
selling the house was very difficult. I missed the culture, shopping and the restraunts being close.
edit on 8-2-2011 by frugal because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 09:26 AM
Best advice:
Dig your well on your property first, unless you are allowed to do a cistern.
If you can work out a deal pay the well guys to pay only when they hit adequate water. This means they
might have to dig a few wells before you get water. Hiring a geologist with a Phd is also a smart idea,
to figure out where the water is.

If you hire people to do work; buy a pad of Job Proposals and get the whole project in detail written out, and the estimate, and date of the project when it is to be completed by signed by the contracter doing the job.
This keeps people honest, finishing the job on time, so you can stay out of court. Never trust the contractors,
a friend of my mothers made me repeat this ten times. She's made well over a million doing realestate and this
is her best advice. Painters do alot of drugs, I found drugs at the job site once. Give each painter the exact copy of your list of what you want painted so you get apples to apples on your estimates from each painter. This enables you to get what you want painted with the color you want painted where. Keep a good file of receipts and proposal contracts. Work with your government building permit people, the building inspectors, and pay off your construction loan ahead of the due date, get lots of insurance to cover workers having accidents on your property... and best of luck.

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 10:53 PM
Really interesting thread
About a year ago i first hand witnessed solar energy homes .I just remembered pieces on my visit to this ladys ones house or should i say tons of acres of land. This lady lives in a small town right outside of Houston. My cousin met this lady through a Farmers Market, and every so often would visit her place. So when i was in town, my cousin Invited me over to check out this chicks place. We were also asked to help build a foundation to place a stove. So what the heck was pretty excited to see this woman's place of what my cousin had told me since he had been there a few times.

So to get right into this story, WOOW..When we first got there, A solar powered tree house, a Pool cleaned and powered by ions, magnets, etc.. African Huts, Houses..This was really truly beautiful Scenery. I really miss this place and plan on coming back to learn a few things and take many pictures. She did mention how ther'ed be helicopters flying so often to see how many houses she was making. And of course the Taxes were very high.

posted on Feb, 15 2011 @ 10:03 PM
The shipping containers are a great idea,IMO. They are very strong, most of them are extremely resistant to rust and corrosion(they survive trips on an open deck across the ocean after all) and are relatively easy to use in modular form. There are also ceramic paints made that not only increase corrosion resistance but actually add a bit of insulation value due to bubbles in the paint. It seems to be a popular option for those building container houses. They usually have heavy duty wood floors in them that need to be sealed in some way due to pesticides bing used on them to prevent bug infestation. I think sanding them down and putting a few good coats of sealer or varnish on them should do the job.
If your going to bury them you don't need to worry about windows and such, but a cutting torch will let you cut doorways and openings inside so that you can move around inside.
I imagine you'd want to either lay down some sort of concrete pad or other solid foundation to prevent too much settling and shifting over time.
I know that these containers are available locally for $3500 used for a 8.5x40 container,so you'd need a bit of money to get started but it's certainly doable.

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