Housing and Feminism
Self Build Housing
Training and Technical
Shelter and Service
Planning and Design
Studies of Women's Self Build Housing
Shelter and Service Options
The questions in this section were not relevant for the respondent taking
part in the state housing authority self build program where a land and
plan package was supplied. The state housing authority appear to have provided
for all eventualities with regard to shelter and service options and does
not allow for any input from the self builder.
The issue of statutory restrictions on housing type drew a variety of responses.
This was an issue for both the women taking part in formal state housing
authority programs for individuals. Both faced restrictions on maximum and
minimum house size, the shape of the house, and other design considerations.
All of the privately funded respondents decided to ignore any statutory
restrictions that applied. Several reasons were given for taking this course
of action including;
"We couldn't build an expanded house as we wanted so my house was technically
"We wanted lots of houses on the 1000 acre property not the one allowed.
We couldn't get multiple occupancy at the time."
The respondents showed a high degree of awareness of climatic factors and
knowledge of how they needed to be accommodated in housing design. The major
design issues related to variations on roofing to cope; with snow, high
winds and high rainfall and heating in the degree of openness to the outside
which related to climate and air temperature.
"The cool climate meant we had to maximise sun in winter and coolness
in summer, so we worked out how big the verandahs would be, overhangs, fireplace
position and type. Heating was the main factor, we were aware we needed
to build a house that would be warm in winter."
In one case the respondent was required to get approval from the state housing
authority to increase the pitch of the roof to allow for snow. Overall any
restrictions connected with climatic factors seem to have had little impact
on the women's ability to build housing for themselves.
Respondents were asked about the level of service provision to their site,
such as sealed roads, made roads, drainage works, water, gas, electricity,
sewer, collection of refuse and recyclables, etc.. In terms of these services
and their availability to the site it is clear that there is a strong relationship
between the level of service available and whether or not the builder was
participating in a state housing authority scheme. This also corresponds
to the cost of land and location in relation to a capital city. There appeared
to be a clear relationship between location and level of access to services.
Respondents can be ranked in terms level of access to services with group
self build scheme participants having access to the most services, then
individual state housing authority self build scheme participants, individual
self builders, then community self builders with the least access to services.
As the telephone was a major tool in this research it is no surprise that
all of the respondents are connected to the telephone service. In the case
of the privately funded community self build women the nearest phone is
thirty kilometres away and the other similar group have one telephone line
shared between all the community members.
The privately funded women had to supply their own services or come up with
alternatives to municipally provided services if they were desired. For
the self build community women there seemed to be a conscious choices to
have low levels of technology and services.
"We had none of these. The creek is our water supply; we use shit pits
and are careful not to ever pollute the water. We have no electricity on
the site, cook on an open fire outside. Some women have gas, but I prefer
"We did our own plumbing, water supply and solar power. I have a gas
stove and open fire, outdoor long drop pit toilet, and I reuse and recycle
as much as possible and take my small amount of rubbish to town."
Both the individual state housing authority self builders reported that
they had negotiations with service providers on access to a few of the services,
with mostly good outcomes.
Respondents were asked about access to retail, public transport, schools
and medical facilities. A pattern similar to that noted above can be identified
with other services and their availability within the locality. As with
the other services the private community women had least access to services,
with the majority of services requiring a travelling time of between one
half and one and a half hours.