CEB Build in Utah

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Hi Ron (and Scott),

Catarina and I are ready to move forward on the house build - we're planning out the year and want to lock down dates on the calendar.

Catarina and I have discussed the direction of Open Building Institute, and we would like to focus on a 512 square foot expandable CEB house. We want to do CEB - which is harder to do than stick - but more ecological. We want to design and build a generic and adaptable model that we can build at your place - a stable model that we can replicate inexpensively all over the world. We are looking at 512 square feet as a core, CEB structure including utilities - which can be expanded readily with post and beam (or CEB) for any size house. So the focus is on low barriers to the first house - and ease of expanding. The small size is important for ease of build - so we can provide the world's first highly replicable CEB construction. To date - we don't know of anyone in the industrialized world who can do CEB construction in a low-cost, replicable way - outside of expensive legacy homes.

As such we would like to offer a 512 square foot building. This is different than the 1400 square foot of Seed Eco-Home 1 - so a complete redesign but using the same building techniques. Scott mentioned that you'd like to build out more CEB homes, and I'd like to participate in that pending success of our first build.

As far as schedule - October 18-22 (5 day build) would work for us. To get there, we need 4 months of design time up to complete build instructionals. Ideally - we'd have about 40 people for the build. So schedule would have to be:

Oct 18 build June 16 - post the event on Eventzilla and publicize (4 months lead time) June 1 - site visit to inspect foundation and 3000 stabilized block Jan 7 - May 6 - 4 months of Design work up to full instructionals and a Build Manual This means that you would be responsible for producing the block, and installing a simple 16x32 slab foundation at the site by June 1. That means you would have to go to your building department to secure necessary building permits. I would need to come for an on-site visit to assure that the foundation and bricks are to spec. The idea here is that prior to advertising the event - we are prepared: the full design/instructionals are complete, foundation is in place, and bricks are ready.

Scott mentioned that Aidan Williamson would possibly be available to press bricks with your CEB machine. He's the ideal guy to do that, as he has experience with our machine and could probably get it running without any problem. It would be ideal to hire him to press the 3000 bricks - with 5% cement rototilled into the soil. There is a whole bunch of work there with respect to securing suitable soil and pressing quality block - issues that still need to be resolved. All that Aidan needs to do is to upload the automatic pressing code to the controller and to fire up the machine. The machine was in working order when Scott and I ran it a few years ago, so it should start up and work as is. I understand from Scott that Aidan was suggesting some modifications, but given that the machine was left in working order, the priority should be finding suitable soil and pressing block as soon as we can. June 1 will roll up on us before we know it. My main concern is that we have bricks on time, so it's not a scramble up to the event. My schedule is busy for the year, so the plan for your build must go according to schedule. We have summer school and an OBI building short course planned for this year, among others.

The cost for you would be the cost of foundation + materials + $12k design costs (4 months full time for Catarina at $3k/month) + $10k service fee + travel. All plans become open source and will be published online. For the event, we would have people sign up on our registration page, we do a 50/50 split of the workshop registration revenue - net revenue after costs.

How does this sound? If you'd like to proceed, we would like a $5k deposit to reserve your build and we can start on the details of execution, timeline, and budget. We are currently planning for 3 builds this year - yours and 2 more builds in November and December in the southern USA where it is warm.

So this is an opportunity to get the CEB press to the point of reliable, low cost construction. We look forward to working on this with you.

Marcin + Catarina