Building An Earthship In Darfield, B.C.

We are a family of five living in Darfield, BC.
Our house is six hundred square feet in total and we are feeling cramped.

We have decided to build an earthship!

So starts the adventure ...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Updated expenses

I've taken a few minutes to update our expenses. I should note that I'm including GST in all figures, until I apply for the refund.


HPO $425.00
Building Permit $1,504.00
Septic Approval $157.50


Excavation $1,950.00


Tire Walls (inc. poly, Metal Lath + portland cement) $513.04
Perimeter drain (inc. PVC pipe and fittings, filter cloth) $528.46
Thermal Wrap (inc. poly, rigid insulation, tuck tape) $3,769.11
Nails/other fasteners $16.12
Tires $0.00
Dirt $0.00
Tire press $0.00
Cardboard $0.00



My rough estimates for our building project (minus permits) was about $5,000 to complete the drainage and the thermal wrap. So far, without our excavation time for the drainage trench, we are at $4,313.69 for these items for these two items. Based on my experience quoting out log buildings, I tend to build in a good cushion and it's a good thing I did! I grossly underestimated the cost of the rigid insulation, thinking this would cost us about $1500. We may still have to purchase a bit more, too.

Overall, we are on budget for getting the earthship to lock up so we can work on it over winter. I'm pleased by that and hope that the roof doesn't throw me any curveballs in terms of cost!


brian said...

Can you tell me what an HPO home owner exemption is I've never heard of it I don't think we have that here in ontario. Thanks

Sandra said...

The HPO home owner exemption came into being in 1999 when,due to the leaky condo crisis (mostly in Vancouver area), the province instituted the Home Protection Office (HPO). New legislation required that to build homes (in essence be a general contractor) you had to be a "licenced" builder (registered with HPO). However, if you were building your own home (you could still use subcontractors, but you would act as your own general contractor) you had to get what is called an HPO home owner exemption. Essentially, if you do this, you, as the home owner, are liable for defects on the building envelope (windows, doors, structural integrity, etc.) for the same time period following completion (10-15 years depending on what aspect of the construction. This is the same for "licenced builders".

In my opinion, the exemption is a money grab..since acquiring it, all we've received are pamphlets from window and door manufacturers, indicating that they have recently learned we are building a home, please buy from us!!! This leads me to believe that the HPO sells the list of HPO owner builders...and for that I paid them $425!!

brian said...

Perfect liability rules again & way too much junk mail. Maybe it's better than the home warranty plan that new home owners have to purchase here, builders can easily find a way around it, mostly by waiting till it runs out 2-3 years. Thanks

Sandra said...

If you're a licenced builder here in B.C. you are REQUIRED to buy third party home warranty insurance for your customers (this is not an insurance policy to cover the builders' liability). Builders simply add it to the cost of the home (rather than eating it as an expense). Then, if the work is defective the home owner (customer) goes to the builder and negotiates. If it goes nowhere, they go to the third party insurer and the insurance pays to have the defective work fixed...then the insurer (with the immense pockets of a big company) completely crush the builder in order to recoup the cost. Granted, there's shoddy work out there; but there's also situations where the customer's complaints are frivolous or unfounded. The builder pays in the end. To offset this, builders increase their own liability insurance (which of course gets added to the cost of the home).

As an owner-builder (with the HPO exemption) you are encouraged to get third party home warranty insurance so that if you sell the home before the 10-15 year warranty period expires, it will cover the expense of the new owners' "fix" of defective work. However, nobody's been able to tell me what the original home owner does when the insurance company comes after them(the buyers of the home warranty) to get money for the "fix". In this model, the home owner builder would then have to carry liability insurance for the 10-15 years until warranty runs out...what a brutal system! No wonder houses cost so much!

Sandra said...

Whatever happened to "buyer beware"????

brian said...

Wow,scary, not a lot of fun. Structural defects are one thing but many new building materials can wear out in 10-15 years they are made so cheaply & are paper & plastic materials not meant for serious wear & tear. Insurance in general isn't good for business it adds a ton of costs.I guess that leaves you in a funny position on the other hand you are not likely to sell your earthship home once it's done. The earthship I've been in has a very nice feel to it. Cant wait to see how your house comes along in the spring. Take care