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Throwing this out there: We need to create something liveable for a family of four for as little cost as possible over the next few months.
The challenging bit: our environment (Taranaki, New Zealand) is harsh. We are at altitude (460m) in a rainforest. Our bit of land is a wide ridge with about 7 degree gradient. There is another 900m in height uphill from us, so lots of little springs. The rainfall is about 3.5metres (say 140 inches) a year, and humidity is 100% a lot of the time. The rain is usually accompanied by enough wind that it is fairly horizontal. In winter the ground surface and the water table quite often coincide. The soil is volcanic ash. Fine silt with zero clay content and free draining. (Edit) The soil has the interesting property of being very strong in-situ but becoming and remaining a slippery muck when disturbed. (/Edit)
Temperature range isn't too bad: max about 27C, min about 3C . It snows lightly once a year on average, and fewer frosts than there used to be. Design wind speed would be at least 160kph - we've had a 3 ton hut on skids get airborne. Oh yeah, we have earthquakes.
I've seen two concrete pads fail in nearby houses, and given the cost of earthworks, geotextiles and concrete around here, I'd say a concrete floor is off the menu.
So we're looking at post and beam with a raised wooden floor, monopitch roof.
I've just disappointed my wife by saying that earth filled tyres are too heavy to support on post and beam.
What ideas do you have for a cladding and insulation combo that will survive?
 
Richard Grevers
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...and we would probably present this to the council as a shed or workshop that we are going to live in for a couple of years while we plan a permanent house. And that probably means no space heating, because a fully permitted woodburner ends up at about $5000. So insulation will be critical. Oh, we are off grid for power, too.
 
Posts: 97
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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What has been built in the nearby area, look at them.
Have you thought about stumps, bearers and joists as a flooring system?
Why have concrete slabs failed?
If you have had a 3 tonne shed blow away, maybe this is a bad place to build
 
Richard Grevers
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(ln response to a now removed question as to why concrete slabs failed and small buildings got airborne)

Case one, on a more level area, the primary cause was insufficient ground clearance (and grassed soil tends to build up over the years, making it worse). Result was rising damp in the outer walls. Case 2, the house we currently are in, the guy building it in 1981 had two sheets of polythene to go under the concrete. He lapped them by a foot or so and gaffer taped it. Water pressure from the slooe above eventually found a way through resulting in a patch where any floor covering quickly rots. Yes it can be done right, but not on a budget.

The shed was a couple of learning processes. 1) complying with "relocatable" requirement to avoid need for a building permit doesn't mean you can't have any attachment to the ground. And 2) To avoid a monopitched roof acting as a lift-generating wing it needs to be pitched at 18 degrees or greater.

Edit: after sleeping on it, it has occurred to me that the solution for any high-mass earth-based structure (rammed earth, earthbag, earthship etc) is to create a raised platform under it. Roading mix from a quarry about 25km away is $15/m³ plus the cost of trucking it and compacting it. Minimising platform costs would dictate site location - more central on the section than we would otherwise like.
 
pollinator
Posts: 949
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I do not have the solution for you but I think hundreds of thousands of people have lived in those conditions with homemade houses over the millennia.  I'd start looking at indigenous building techniques for other windy/monsoon/damp locations like yours and see what the locals do.  My guess is that whatever they do would also be affordable. 

I've seen climate analog maps where you can see what your climate is and the map shows you other places with similar conditions.  That way even if ancestral building techniques for your area don't make the government happy, maybe something from another continent would appease them (or trick them).

I don't really like tires anyway due to personal fears of off-gassing. 

When you say "as little cost as possible" are you talking $300, $3,000 or $30,000?  Lashing together palm fronds to save $200 on housewrap may or may not be worth it.
 
Posts: 1611
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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Im thinking dome. A ferrocement dome for protection from wind and rain.
 
John C Daley
Posts: 97
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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The second example given for the concrete floor failure, may not be as you think. The joining process described would normally be ok. perhaps water has ingressed via slab edge?
But if you think the water is coming from the uphill side of the building, a decent cut-off drain may be dug.
But waterproofing retro fix products are available, and that wet patch maybe able to be remedied.
I suggest asking at a good hardware or research 'waterproofing slabs".
 
gardener
Posts: 2368
Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
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Part of waterproofing under a slab is giving the water an easier path to escape than up through the slab. A few inches of gravel under the membrane, with the ability for the water to drain away from the building on as many sides as possible, would normally work fine.
 
Posts: 136
Location: Europe
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That sounds like a good use case for something, Jeremy Baker mentioned: A dome made of wooden beams (or young trees) that are rammed into the ground and then bend into a pointed dome.
(It doesn't have to be pointed, but that's easier to archive.) The force required to bend it will then resist the wind force. The shape can be adjusted with horizontal tension rings. To pin the structure to the ground, a heavy weight is positioned in the middle and the top of the dome connected to it.
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