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Feminist Research
Housing and Feminism
Self Build Housing


	Case Studies

Personal Background
Training and Technical
Land Policies
Institutional Support
Shelter and Service
Planning and Design
Building Materials

Case Studies of Women's Self Build Housing

Building Materials
Respondents reported that a wide range of building materials were available to them. Once again however participants in the state housing authority group self build project had regarding input to decisions about building materials; participants in the individual self build program had restrictions on the materials they were allowed to use.

"State housing authority said to use mudbrick, but not load bearing mudbrick. Council said no cement sheet cladding or hardieplank and I had to have a colourbond roof."

"Because I was on a sloping site and I cut into it, so used the overburden to make mud bricks."

The other participants listed an amazing variety of useable building materials from which they could choose including; materials from a house they demolished, different forms of green or seasoned timber from the local saw mill, timber from trees on site, tallowwood posts from on site, other timber, undressed, undressable rock, mud bricks, sand from the river six miles away, bark, bamboo and any other the usual store bought materials.

"We used the building materials from the house we demolished and that was the first storey. Where we lived we could have built with stone but wood was very easy to build with. For the second storey we used green timber from the local saw mill. The old guy running the mill was great."

These participants reported a number reasons for the variety of materials they considered using. The reasons given were: that the materials were from what at that stage seemed a renewable source, other environmental reasons, materials were freely or cheaply available, ease of construction, minimal need for transport, and energy conservation.

"Wanted to use materials from the site to minimise need for transport. So that meant using tallowwood poles for the frame, sawn hardwood roof structure and floorboard seconds with corrugated iron sheet roofing. Initially weatherboard cladding but then went on to use stone as an infill wall."

"I used wood in the end. There were dead mahogany on the site and I had to burn them out. I used a cross cut saw to cut one ring barked dead tree, then I cut lengths and split it with a sledge hammer and wedges to make stumps. I bought timber for frame and floor. Made a few shingles for the roof but didn't use them; I bought some instead."

None of the respondents had prior familiarity with the type of construction they used for their house and only two had any theoretical knowledge which they both described as limited or partial. One of the private community builders says that she experimented with different material and used little conventional technology.

Women who were part of state housing authority programs were given booklets to guide them in the building process which appears to have been very useful in approaching the building process. The other women talked about drawing and redrawing plans, and building simple sheds as ways of "getting into" the process.