Todd Hunter

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since Dec 20, 2017
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Recent posts by Todd Hunter

Mauro Pacitto wrote:Hello,

If I have some spare time I may draw up a sketch to get you started.  A few questions to get me started.  How thick were you thinking of making the walls?  How high were you thinking of making the? Do you know what type of lumber you would be using for the reciprocal roof?   How deep does a rubble trench foundation need to be in your neck of the woods?  Do you know the grade of the hill you are building on?  Do you have a flat spot for your home or will it be cut into the grade?


 Hi Steve and any others Watching... We have just had about 3-4 foot of rain in the last week, so it has taken me a while to get some decent photos. The site will be levelled using a large Case Backhoe. The photo shows the size of the pad that will be cut. All up about 24 foot diameter and 15-16 foot diameter for the 200 sqft home. I am thinking 24 inches wide and 24 inches deep for the rubble trench. There is no frost issues where i live. It simply does not get cold enough! I will be using Blue granite for the stem wall and for the rubble trench itself with gravel 1 to 2 inches. This material will be taken to the site with the backhoe as a truck is unable to get into my property on the driveway. To the right of the pad in the photo there is a good drainage area and a drainage trench from the rubble trench will be going into that. I plan on a composting toilet and shower outside of the house. So the walls I think would be 20 inches thick. I am not sure what height they will be as I am unsure of the final layout of the home. I really do not know where to start regarding installing a loft bed. Double or queens size to save on floor space. If it is easier to just have one on the floor then that is fine. Simplicity is best as this is my first build. The reason I asked for help was to get a floor plan ready so that when the backhoe is here he can dig the foundation trench at the same time as clearing the pad and moving the rock. The ground is pretty hard down in the sub soil area and would rather the majority be done when he is here. Any corners I can dig myself but would prefer to have the longer portions dug by machine.
 The photos of the bricks!! I am pretty sure that I have a heavy clay content in the subsoil. The jar is at six weeks not and has not really changed much and has a lot of clay in suspension. The bricks were left for 5 weeks and may be too thin for the 5 foot drop test i did. All of them exploded on the concrete from 5 feet. The percentages and fractions were a clay soil to aggregate mix. Personally i believe the 60/40 was the best mix. No straw was in there.
 Regarding the Lumber... I have a large tree behind my Completed house that needs to come out in the next month or so. Semi hardwood that may well process some good lengths of lumber. I am not yet sure. I also have two other trees on the building site that will need to come down as well. I am hoping they too may be of good use. I will have a mobile mill to do the job as he takes wood as part payment.
  So the basic floor layout for the rubble trench is the most important for the moment as I will need to have something for the Operator to go on ... Simplicity is key for me. Of course quirky and cute is also highly desired. Hope this helps and I really appreciate any help offered and received. Will continue reading and researching design.
ps... as a side not. I would really like to incorporate some of the glass panels I have in the build. Ventilation is also key as it will be in a humid and hot rainforest.
Cheers... Todd
2 years ago
cob
Thanks for those links mate... Will start posting some photos when the rain stops :) ...
2 years ago
cob
Hello People... I have been lurking on this site and have posted a few times. Researching Natural building for a few years now and have come to the design stage of my little Dream Home. Background. I live in the Rainforests of Far North Queensland Australia. It does not get cold here... 40-105. I can speak in metric or imperial but will use imperial as much as I can due to the large community of people from the United States of America on here. On average we get 13-15 feet of rain per year where I live. Mostly during our Summer from November through till May. Wet Season. Our dry season also can receive a lot of rain but nowhere near as much and the temps drop. So I believe Cob to be the build of choice for me.
  I have already done soil testing and will post some pics on here if this thread develops any interest. Heavy clay content and I will have to bring in sand aggregate for the build. It is a rainforest on an ancient hillside so I will also have to get rock trucked in. I have a fantastic quarry nearby with good quality blue granite in any size I need delivered to my property at a reasonable price. I will be getting a backhoe into my property to cut a pad for the build and also to ferry the rock, gravel and aggregate from the place where the truck is able to dump the rock. The pad is at the top of a very steep concrete driveway nestled in the forest. The driveway continues up the hill about 700-800 of low range only 4 x 4 on a very rugged road to my council approved house. I will be living in my house whilst all of this is going on so it is not a rushed job. I just would like to live in a toxin free space. I already have a 24v Stand-a-lone solar system, Composting toilet and 5000 gallon rain water tank.
  So that is a bit of background on where why and how. What I really need to ask anybody on this forum who would like to Join in on my virtual build on permies is... What would be a simple yet efficient design. My backhoe operator is very interested in my idea and would like to do as much as he can whilst I have his machine on the property. Including the rubble trench. So for now I need to get a floor plan designed for the stemwall. My current vision is for a 200 square foot dwelling. I would like a loft bedroom but am having difficulties working out how that can be incorporated into a small building. I am thinking a reciprocal living roof but am open to anything that will fit the build. Cold is not an issue and neither is privacy. I will have no neighbours where the Cob home will be. The site itself is situated on the south side of a hill. So during winter our sun is far to the north. Not too radical a change but enough to be a problem for my current solar system during the middle of winter on the south side of a hill. There are some beautiful large trees including figs that I will be leaving as the area is a part of my property that is well protected from cyclones and I trust the large trees :) rather than fell them. One has to go but a ceremony will be done for it. In the last 12 years we have had a cat 4 and a genuine cat 5 right where I live so I know it is protected as it is the only place with many large trees left on it. Apparently botanically it is a pygmy forest due to the sheer volume of large cyclones that seem to really like my little part of the world. Near Mission Beach if you want to look it up.
   The Majority of the build will be done by me. I have looked into buying  second hand mortar mixer but I also have two neighbours I am friends with who own kubota tractors with buckets on the front. Lucky me :) I could possibly run a work shop later on but am not relying on that. I am fit. Early riser. Reformed drinker and smoker and have time to do this. And the will!! As I have said I am not locked into any particular design and would love to have input from others about the outcome. Single room. Verandah area could be made using recycled corrugated iron which I have access to plenty of. An interesting thing that I have collected for a later use is 7 panes of tempered double glazed glass. Each piece is 6.5 foot by 3 foot. They were given to me as they were a whoops the sliding glass door frame built into the house is 4 inches too small.. My gain.! I would love to somehow incorporate one, two or more into the build as I do not have privacy issues. i dont have a single curtain in my current house. Mosquito and bugs screens will be essential however. Its a forest and any light attracts all sorts of different critters. Anyway this is a rough outline of what I would like to do. I have read as much as I can handle... I have the Hand Sculpted House... Will be seeking much advice from a cob builder 120 miles north of me. Have asked advice from numerous people including some fantastic peeps that may well frequent this site. If I lived in the USA I would gladly go to a course and gladly pay some Dollars to the right people to teach and mentor my build. But I live in a sort of remote part of the Queensland coast where this sort of stuff does not go on. My time line for beginning the foundations is the end of March. Possibly earlier. Chris my backhoe dude is waiting for me to give hime the go ahead. Right now we are in the middle of the Big Wet (torrential rain) so i have about a month to get the the floor plan for the rubble trench sorted. Look forward to hearing from anyone on here that is interested in helping a human create a tiny little dream home. In'Lac'ech :)
 Todd Hunter
2 years ago
cob
My first post on this site. I will be starting a thread on a tiny cob home build in the near future. I found this topic interesting as the house I currently live in is entirely off-grid. I did not build it myself but did have it built for me from a plan that I had drafted. I live in Far North Eastern Australia on the South side of a hill (southern hemisphere) in a valley surrounded by rainforest with some of the highest railnfall in Australia. Stand alone solar system that cost a LOT less than the quote I got from the coal fire powered dealers of electricity gave me to connect to the new place. 22000 litre/ 5000gal water tank from my roof with an electric pump that has not missed a beat. Clivus Multrum composting toilet. Having these water and toilet systems cuts out a lot of piping and treatment once more saving money. This is a approved house that I did have to jump through some hoops for but mostly through ignorance within the local council where i live rather than actual real world problems. The 3.5 kw solar system is more than adequate for the amount of power that I use. Instantaneous gas hot water as well as a gas cook top. Due to the warmth of the climate I live in hot showers are not really necessary for most of the year and the Wim Hoff breathing technique works wonders for the other times ;) ... I average 9kg of LPG gas per 6 months for hot water and cooking. I also use my 3 kva generator for about 50 hours a year when the cloud cover is super dense and or its rains for longer than 3 days straight. Which can be often during our wet season. It actually ends up costing a lot less in the long run to not be connected to the water/sewage/power/phone/rubbish/post grid. If I could change anything about the current house I live in it would be to put a 10000 litre water tank up higher on the hill I live on and pump up to it and use the gravity feed. Otherwise a hose from the main tank works wonders if for any reason the power is off. All this information I gathered from the internet and put together with my builder. It was not really difficult and the maintenance is almost zero. The toilet really takes care of itself apart from normal cleaning of the bowl. The solar system requires that you monitor the energy you use. The biggest change to a normal appliance in the house is a chest freezer converted to a fridge with a $15 thermostat. I still have a electric jug, vitamix blender, small freezer, 1000 w sound system tv etc etc and ceiling fans. The house was designed very open and hence it breaths during the hottest months of the year where the temps regularly reach 35 + degrees celsius... and I have a ceiling fan in my bedroom and the living room and two on the very large verandah that do not get turned on. This was built just over 7 years ago and so far the only issue I have had was the stem seals of the wet cel batteries were faulty from the factory and will be replaced very soon for a heavily discounted price early next year.
 I have no doubt that the house will be 100% liveable in 50 years. I would say the energy system will be far superior by then and hopefully my water tank with be made with hemp plastic and non toxic to contain the beautiful water that is provided by my roof. As I said. I will be starting a thread on here in the near future to ask advice from all about the construction of a sub 200 square foot cob home located on my property about 100 meters from the main house. Downsizing my life ;)
  Hope this helps
ps... An interesting side note is that the Plumbing Inspector from the local council where I live made the life of Myself and my builder very difficult during the build regarding grey water treatment systems and in the end the digging and installation of an entirely unnecessary absorption trench. Clivus Multrum provide and cheap and efficient grey water 12 v pump system that runs beautifully from your solar system that i was not allowed to use to get my final inspection approval from said council. My final building Approval Inspection was booked in for the Same day that cyclone Yasi, A genuine Category 5 Cyclone hit dead centre where my house sits :) The other 4 properties up my end of the valley are off grid so whilst everyone else in the entire region had no power except for generators... We all had solar and my house became a place to escape the horror show that is a disaster area in the aftermath with no power, clean water and working sewage .Even though surrounded by forest and on a hill side it sustained only a 4 meter piece of guttering being ripped off and water inside the house where I had stupidly opened a window thinking it would help relieve pressure during the centre of the storm. The Plumbing Inspector on the other hand as i later found out when he finally arrived 2 months later to inspect the house I was already living in had lost his entire house 3-4 km north of me and Apologised for his earlier behaviour regarding my insane idea of trying to live a little lighter on the planet. He later build a house with solar, composting toilet and water tank... OFF GRID...lol!!!
2 years ago