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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's a video of a house being made of these blocks using unskilled labor, figured if I ever got around to buying some land I could make them and build a place myself. The problem is my Google-Fu is weak and can't find any info about buying a one block at a time press like the guys are using in the video.

I was hoping someone here may be familiar with the system.

Thanks.

[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBkv5jjjhJ0[/ame]
 

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They don't look unskilled to me...

When you look at what's involved - probably thousands of blocks. Crushing the materials, mixing the materials, getting the right mix so they don't crumble, etc. I think it will take a long time and old-fashioned wood structures can be done by "unskilled as well.

The roof could be of a different material, but it ties the whole structure together. Got a concrete pump?

Go with wood...

Bruce
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
As far as unskilled I should have been more clear, they designed the blocks in mind of unskilled workers(me) being able to build a home rather quickly.

I'd also prefer material more durable and to have better insulating properties than just wood. Looking to save on costs I'd go towards the pressed earth brick method, having the bulk of the building material right beneath my feet would be awfully handy. A little moisture and cement to stabilize it and some time in the sun is all I'd need even if I went with regular lego style locking brick. I liked these blocks primarily for the thickness of the walls.

http://www.habiterrabuildingsolutions.com/about.html
 

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Looks like a bit of work is involved.

Just curious, why not go with Adobe or rammed earth building?

If one is in the right part of the country, adobe bricks are pretty cheap to make
and set.
 

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In the gilded halls of Valhala
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Actually that is pretty awesome when u read about it.

Laying a foundation and four walls with interlocking bricks would be easy, and you don't need a craftsman. By easy I mean simple it's still gonna be work.

No grouting or other Mason work. These bricks are interlocking.

How would the ceiling and roof go together?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Actually that is pretty awesome when u read about it.

Laying a foundation and four walls with interlocking bricks would be easy, and you don't need a craftsman. By easy I mean simple it's still gonna be work.

No grouting or other Mason work. These bricks are interlocking.

How would the ceiling and roof go together?
My idea on doing it is it would take awhile on my own but I'm more than okay with that, I figure work my butt off for awhile and take late spring to early fall off to get it done.

First I'd hire a bobcat for a week or two to excavate a basement(thereby getting most of my building material) and then just start knocking out blocks.

Come up a few courses above ground and toss on some joist hangers and repeat until I get to the ceiling height I desire. I figure once I got there I'd cap it and run more of a traditional attic/peaked roof design for storage. Top it off with the metal sheeting so the snow will slide off and it's done.

The main thing is I'd rather build in more of a remote location so I'd need to sort out the basement floor. I'd rather have a cement truck come in and pour a floor but that may not be possible depending where I choose to buy property.
 

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Speaking from extensive personal experience in the construction industry, there is much more to this than meets the eye. You need a foundation, at very least a frost wall. Block are heavy and a floating slab would be a short term solution. Each course of block needs to be level and plumb, not to mention square. If you want electricity, indoor plumbing, windows and a roof then there is extensive planning and SKILLED labor involved.

Just because this is not white collar office work does not equate to unskilled labor.

If you are serious about building your own home in the future, I would suggest getting a job in the construction industry. If you want to work with block then get a job as a mason tender. That will give you insight to what you are up against! If you decide to stick build you house then get a job as a carpenter apprentice.

Prepare yourself, as these "unskilled" jobs can be mentally and physically demanding.
 

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In the gilded halls of Valhala
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Hey I just think the blocks are interesting.

Electricy?
Plumbing?

Ya not gonna happen this is the broken arrow forum


If you want to build your own house try a tree house first...

With these blocks I was thinking of decrepit shack for shtf.

Pouring concrete into a hole you dug with a rented Bob cat...
The other poster is right were way off in lala land here.
 

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It looks just like the construction that I used for my cabin/cottage, except that I used existing split faced concrete block purchased from a concrete products company. The only difference between what was in the video and regular block was that they have interlocking block instead of mortar. They still pumped concrete into the voids at intervals and used tied rebar for strength, and I'm pretty darn sure that they did some poured concrete footers to bear the weight of the building.

I didn't do a flat roof on mine, just wooden trusses tied to the top plate by nails and hurricane straps, and the top plate was bolted down every four feet to the rebar.

7/8" LP aluminized roof sheathing was nailed to the trusses, with a 26 GA standing seam Galvalume roof material screwed down to that.

The method used to make the bricks looked like it needed a fair amount of specialized equipment, not just a mold. Things like mixers and crushers. Given the time and costs for equipment and labor, one might be better off just buying existing block, as I did.

I also looked at all the wood options, from logs, to timber framing, to regular stick built with 2x6 framing, and for the cost, strength, and durability, the hands down choices were either concrete block or insulating concrete form. Since their were no folks in my area who do ICF, block was chosen. I am very happy with the results.

Edited to add, plumbing is possible in SHTF, if you have a well or other water supply. Well and septic are pretty common, and as long as you can feed the lines, you can have running water and flush toilets. Having backups to your well is a good thing too. I have three, 220VAC Gould, 12VDC motor from Simple Pump, and a hand pump that will pressurize the diaphragm tank, or pump into a 5G bucket.

Electricity is also possible through gensets, solar, wind, and a battery bank/inverter. All of these have lifespans determined by fuel, parts, etc., but they can still last for a couple of years with proper planning. Even if the fuel runs out, a part fails, or the batteries won't hold a charge, there are still options for cooking/light that require no electricity, such as wood, kerosene, and various vegetable oils.

If things are so bad that we never recover, then an outhouse and a stream or cistern will have to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Lala land, how so?

I've got a neighbor who with the help of two friends, none of them were in the trades, picked up his house to do just that. Once the house was raised he spent the next month digging it out with a bobcat, poured a floor and put in a full basement where there was once only a crawl space all by himself. He did that 15-20 years ago and the house is still standing, I'm sure having a crew come in and pour a proper slab would work out pretty well.
 

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In the gilded halls of Valhala
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Lala land, how so?

I've got a neighbor who with the help of two friends, none of them were in the trades, picked up his house to do just that. Once the house was raised he spent the next month digging it out with a bobcat, poured a floor and put in a full basement where there was once only a crawl space all by himself. He did that 15-20 years ago and the house is still standing, I'm sure having a crew come in and pour a proper slab would work out pretty well.


I don't mean that I doubt your ability to do the job.

I can't tell if your talking about shtf , broken arrow or building your own house under rule of law/good times.

See what I mean?
 

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It's my impression that folks are looking to do this before the SHTF, but I could be wrong. That's what I thought "prepping" was all about, preparing for the unknown black swan that totally changes the status quo.
 

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Alternatives in construction.

Christian, One other form of construction you might like to checkout is cordwood construction . Think log cabin except in the orientation of the "logs", the walls can be from 12" to 24" so you'd have the thermal mass you wish, the majority of the materials can be had for hauling away, especially if you contacted some tree trimming outfits. For tools nothing exotic, a chain saw, a mortar mixer and regular construction tools. You could do the majority of the work yourself . For a roof consider buying used bar joists from a demolition/recycling firm then install a metal roof , you can also spray the undersides of the roof with insulation . Something to consider for a unusual, efficient inexpensive & IMO a beautiful home.
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This is typical of the 1970's style HUD Type Homes in the Phoenix Area along with a floating slab/foundation. New owners are drilling the blocks to fill with foam to cushion the effects of the hot weather and change the wiring from aluminum to copper. The new builds of today are typically wood frame and stucco.
Great post!
Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
At first it would probably be more of a getaway spot to lay my head and I'd go from there. I don't need much in the way of material goods to keep me happy so if I somehow wound up there full time, I'd be fine with that. Also the more off the grid the better, I've no problem being known as that weird guy who lives way out off county road 85.

I keep finding the older and older I get the more I want to get away from everyone and everything. The fewer people I have to deal with any given day the better, then again that may change when I relocate to a friendlier locale.
 
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