Modular CEB Housing
We are considering a modular CEB building system where you build by starting with 4 corner posts on a regular grid, say 5 m by 5 m. The posts would be 2 feet x 2 feet floor area, or 8 of our bricks. Then build the corner posts, and install a roof (so CEB columns don't melt in rain). Then, you can fill in walls and details, and this design allows you to add on new 25 square meter modules. Depending on how the walls are done, this could be - workshop space, living space, greenhouse space, etc. This is especially useful from the standpoint of GVCS because then we can build an entire infrastructure under one roof - build up the columns and roof fast and cheap, and then the space underneath can differentiate into whatever functions are needed.
This is similar to the http://www.grohome.com/ concept, except the columns are CEB.
The difficulties in the CEB version are: details of transition from one module to the next. How to do a foundation - one idea is gravel foundation, 3 feet under the columns - so just start with a bunch of posts with foundations. The foundation details need to be worked out. For us, we are willing to go with 2 foot thick CEB walls, which don't require a foundation if the ground underneath the roof and wall is dry. If we use wood panels between the columns, these panels don't require a foundation if the columns are well-founded. If the columns are capped on the top with a roof, the walls are not load-bearing.
One could build large workshop spaces with this. One could differentiate rooms into: electronics lab, metal furnace lab, workshop, storage, etc... And, greenhouse/house space is possible. The finishing details are critical. As the simplest prototype implementation, we could start with plain set of columns and roof, no walls. This would still allow for decent work space underneath - like an open barn. Walls could be filled in as needed.
Anyway, I'm quite excited about the above concept, let me know what you think. We could basically do a structure like that at under $5 per square foot, and if we have our own sawmill later, for under $2/sq foot, for decent quality, long-life housing. We were considering an 500 sq meter area like this, but that of course is more than what we would have time for this year. However, it is not impossible - if we have 2.5 months with as little as 2 people.
More details on cost structure for barn space:
Metal roof at 50 cents per square foot - $128 per module (256 square feet) Trusses - see DXF file (16 foot long, 1 foot high) - 12 single trusses + 2 triple trusses for ends per module (18 trusses at $14 at USA prices) - $252
TOTAL: $380/ module, or $1.50 per square foot.
So that is the baseline. With sawmill available, our capital outlays will be a baseline of 50 cents per square foot.