Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Retrospective council approval for an Earthship

After obtaining a Planning Permit I am now seeking a Certificate of likely compliance in order to get a Building permit... all this for a structure that is already 80%built!??

Anyway, this is the process I am now embarking on in order to save the Earthship from being demolished.

I have made a couple of visits to the site since putting on the roof and made some discoveries both good and not so good...

Macadamia tree planted from nut, 4 months old
They said it couldn't be done but I have managed to grow a macadamia tree from germinating the nut nestled in, (you guessed it) a car tyre with some humanure from the Workshop, straw packed into the sidewalls of the tyre for warmth, as the thermothlyic process begins breaking down the organic matter it the tree might just stay warm enough to survive the winter.

Other not so good discoveries were movement issues within the building on the western tyre wall.

cracks between the west tyre wall and cob bathroom wall
Luckily when I discovered these cracks my good friend and Engineer Harry was with me and he provided me with the remedy for any further movement and possible subsequent collapse of the wall.

light coloured dirt shows the new fill
By adding fill to the problem side, we provided a stable layer to arrest any further movement caused by settling. you can see the light coloured material on the added embankment above.
Having an excavator on site for 2 days meant we got a lot done in terms of clearing and reinforcing with the ability to move tons of dirt quickly as opposed to the bucket line method of the November 2014 Workshop which was also a lot of fun!

waterproofing the berm
Harry also suggested we waterproof the berm so that it wouldn't get heavier with rain and cause the embankment to settle further so we wrapped the entire berm in two layers of builders plastic and overlaid that with bidum (geo fabric) and finished with a thin layer of dirt.


As per the council requirements for a building permit the footings and bracing of the building need to be detailed so Harry told me what was needed and Erik, Brad and I set to making it happen with stringy bark 100x50mm hardwood timber milled by Erik, what a legend!!

As for the footings... well, there aren't any.

water from the sky
We also drained the 3000l of town water left over from the Workshop into the dam and moved the tank lower so as to catch the water from the roof with a length of 90mm stormwater pipe seen above.

the picture also shows the waterproofed buried berm.

relocating the caravan

After the excavator cleared a bit more land up the hill, we carefully moved the caravan to a native cherry tree grove behind the dam.

view of rear of Earthship standing on level pad for header tank

Lastly the excavator made a level pad for a future header tank to gravity feed the Earthship.

10 days of progress, good friends and...good times.

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