Recycled house

columbiascDecember 4, 2010

A friend of mine pointed me to this video clip on YouTube. A TV reporter explores the work of Dan Phillips and his recycled houses. This guy is a true inspiration, the real example of Hope and Change. I found myself imagining what could be accomplished on a local basis here in Columbia, SC where we have a large homeless population. Check it out.


Here is a link that might be useful: Recycled house

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I enjoyed the film and admire the sense of purpose and dedication that Dan Phillips shows. His houses are inventive and fun. I just hope they keep out the weather! It would be a shame if the unusual building techniques left gaps where the rain and wind could enter and degrade the home. That is my only worry.

Shopping at the Restore the other day, I felt creativity bubbling up. There is nothing like a pile of old stuff to get a person thinking about what they could do with it.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 9:46PM
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I saw a video of a motivational speech that Dan Phillips gave. He's quite an interesting guy.

I'd like to know how he gets around building codes. In January, SC will be under IRC 2009, as will the rest of the country. I've heard that states had to adopt 2009 to get their stimulus money. It's enough of a challenge trying to get a house passed these days built out of all new materials. I guess if you had years of free time to scavenge materials, and lived in an area without code enforcement, it would be an interesting and rewarding project.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 9:49PM
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Yes I also wondered this Jay. I am bring an ordinance before the council at the next meeting to accept the IBC 2009. And it is do it or else kind of deal as you say across the country.

Great ideas though Scott. I am all into recycle. The internal window in our bathroom was salvaged at the dump.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 11:49PM
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The video, his ideas and the follow up comments offered here definately open up a broad range of ideas, concepts and philosophies. Such as;

Building codes being tied into stimulus money. Really? Should those two really be connected? Which special interest group or voting block were they trying to appease with that one?

Excessive building codes increasing the cost to construct which pushes affordability higher. Does that really help and/or protect the general population or simply push more people towards government housing and subsidies.

Personal freedom verses consumer protection. Over a year ago I mentioned here that I had met a man who claims to have built a small cabin for himself and his wife mostly out of timber he harvested from his land and cut into building lumber using his own portable sawmill. I believe it was Jay who said that in most areas that would not be allowed because most building code requires all lumber be inspected by some government agency or other. Does that really make sense? If I want to build my own house using my own money and out of my own materials, how is restricting my right to do so protecting the general population? I could live with requiring me to disclose it was built with non-big brother inspected materials to a potential buyer or financing entity but why should I be prevented from choosing this as a housing option?

Energy efficiency. I see Nancy's point about keeping the weather out and I understand the potential impact on "the grid" but I would hope people would take such practical matters into consideration when choosing materials and, even if it is a drafty-shack, wouldn't that be better than living under a bridge? Yes, yes, there will be the argument about neighborhood conformity but even cookie cutter houses built for and occupied by lower income people in a tract type setting almost always end up looking bad too.

One of the really ironic parts of the discussion is that this really isn't a breakthrough concept. People have been building homes with salvaged materials for eternity. Hom many pieces of ancient ruins ended up as buildng blocks for subsequent generations? Fishing shacks, hunting cabins, line cabins, etc. How many of those have been built with salvaged materials over the years? How much useable lumber and decorative ornamentation, much of it hand carved, is now buried in a landfill somewhere in New Orleans? What if some of that material had been made available to those willing to rebuild using salvaged materials?

Very interesting discussion and as always, great responses from our friends here in this forum. I really enjoy the various perspectives and lively exchanges.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 9:41AM
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I'm not sure, but I think it's against code to use any used materials for structural purposes. And yes, it was me talking about how if you use your own timber, it has to be graded, and if building in a non-conventional manner, such as timber frame, or straw bale, or any of a number of other non-mainstream methods, you would have to have sealed engineering plans. All this stuff costs money!

Not only are the IRC 2009 codes more stringent, but they also include residential sprinkler systems, although some states have opted out on that one. They also require blower door testing, to make sure the house is within code as far as air leaks are concerned. Double paned, energy rated windows are code as well. I found out that if the windows don't have the specification stickers on them, they won't pass, so I can't buy used windows, either.

This stuff really sticks in my craw, but I wouldn't know anything about it if I weren't getting ready to build my own place soon. After 4 years of research, I found out just how 'free' we are in this country. It used to be you could do what you want on your own property. There was a case in the news recently about a man who was being evicted from his 32 acre property because he didn't have running water, electricity, or proper septic. Obviously, he is a menace to society, and must be stopped!

Of course, it's not really your property anyhow. Try not paying taxes, and you'll find out who it really belongs too!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 3:30PM
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