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Tunneling between above ground structures.  RSS feed

 
jeremiah bailey
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I just want to record a thought for brainstorming and future reference. Since cob buildings aren't really understood by most local building departments, they generally aren't permitted structures. One way around this is by making the building smaller than the minimum area that requires a permit. This is fine for many people. However, if your family expands, this could present a problem. You could perhaps build multiple mini-buildings. The problem with this is when extreme cold or other inclement weather strikes, it can be taxing to travel between buildings.

My idea is to utilize tunnels or ditches with retaining walls, a roof and a floor to make passage between structures feasible at all times. A properly designed, built and drained tunnel or ditch would make a comfortable passage possible. Of course this wouldn't be very doable in areas with high water tables or shallow dirt over rock.
 
Len Ovens
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Location: Vancouver Island
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I think a lot of places have a minimum distance between these small buildings.... I am sure the tunnel would need a permit too or effectively make you s.f. oversize. However, if you do go that way, you may as well put a store room or whatever down there too.

I lived in a 30ft RV for a year and my son used a camper for a playroom. he did not at all mind the walk over even in the winter... -10C is really cold here and doesn't happen much.

Make sure it is really well engineered.... might be cheaper to build a stick house the size you want... or a mostly (from the road anyway) invisible cob house.

Len
 
                  
Posts: 59
Location: NW Ontario
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Of course this wouldn't be very doable in areas with high water tables or shallow dirt over rock.


Or in areas where toxic soil gasses like radon are present.
Depending on soil type it could get very expensive to engineer and build tunnels strong and safe enough to last the life of the buildings.
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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Here is what I did:Both 200sqft structures have their roof line the min legal distance apart.Inbetween,I placed a large wooden "trellis".This "trellis" has no permanent roof but is desighned to have a canvas tarp streached across it.I also have a bus(portable) which opens onto a 150sqft deck.And a yurt(portable).Thinking about placing the light yurt on a 200sqft building.Dont forget about under.My county only allows 1 story but 5 ft of storage under a building can come in handy.
 
              
Posts: 238
Location: swampland virginia
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i know of a basement under a bar that most people could not stand in. They used it as their office space and tapped the kegs under there. Mode of movement - dollies for the kegs and good office chairs on rollers. If 5 feet does not count as living space, then a 5ft basement and a 5ft attic could give you a lot of extra non-countable space for sleeping, storage, appliances, etc.

As for the trellis, why not a green house tunnel and bern some walls up and park some black water barrels for solar heat storage (benson institute walapini / pit greenhouse). a double sheathing should do well to hold the warmth in. Then you can graze as you go from building to building. Might help keep some of the bug population down too, and you can build it out of conduit to run your electrical, telephone, etc from building to building.

Another idea, if you use tarps, burlap, reed, etc is to take some smaller trees that like to grow near each other like sassafras (bamboo might work too) and pull them together and cover them with your tarps. The native indians use to make them. They look similar to a teepee, but the trees are still rooted and they still grow. Wind is less of an issue. I have seen one done at the Beach where they used straw beach mats to surround it. Guess they were lazy in their reconstruction.
 
                          
Posts: 94
Location: Colorado
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what happens if one builds a "beeze way" between buildings? and then screens or side it in in time?
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 998
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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You really have to check your local regulations before planning anything.  Here we are allowed to build a 200 s.f. structure that has to be at least six feet from the eave line of any other structure, and cannot be more than ten feet tall, total.  I think we could get away with the trellis and tarp idea, to cover a patio between two small buildings.  And we could probably even build a wall -- perhaps a cob wall -- to partially enclose a courtyard.  Temporary structures (such as a shipping container, bus, yurt, etc.) are fine, too.

I've thought about building a cellar under a 200 s.f. structure -- it would make a good root cellar, at the least.  And then tunneling under to the next structure -- but I think that's too much work for too little return, unless you make the tunnel wide enough to store stuff in it, too?

Kathleen
 
Len Ovens
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Location: Vancouver Island
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Mt.goat wrote:
Here is what I did:Both 200sqft structures have their roof line the min legal distance apart.Inbetween,I placed a large wooden "trellis".This "trellis" has no permanent roof but is desighned to have a canvas tarp streached across it.


Just a thought.... what about in case of a fire? maybe a brick trellis? A lot of these small houses are off grid and far from a fire department. It would be a shame to loose everything when half could be saved just by having a no burn zone between buildings.

Len
 
                                                
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No proven construction method can be denied by a building official because he/she is not familiar with it- if you have a good engineer they can provide you with drawings that the town must approve, if stamped by a licensed engineer. Lawyers help too...unfortunately most of us who elect to use these methods cannot or choose not to fight such battles.
 
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