Cooperative Building

One way of acquiring affordable housing is working together with other people. Let’s say six groups of three workers agree to build their homes together. They could divide into teams based on interests and skill level.
Team 1: Site preparation and excavation
Team 2: Earthbag foundation
Team 3: Lower walls
Team 4: Upper walls
Team 5: Bond beam
Team 6: Roof

This system is designed so all the houses are built at the same time. When team 1 finishes the site prep and excavation on the last house (sixth), they could start over on the first house working on doors, windows, plaster, etc.

This plan is just a suggestion. There are many possibilities. You could have more or fewer teams. Team sizes could vary. You could have fewer people and all work together.

In an ideal scenario without codes, many of the materials could be free – recycled, salvaged, bartered, locally found materials – enabling you to build mortgage-free. The end result would be sturdy, low cost nice homes and a strong sense of community where everyone’s houses are paid off.

4 thoughts on “Cooperative Building”

  1. this would be a great solution for some of the families in haiti!

    The barrier we have to overcome is the Haitians are use to the white man giving them money to work on pojects that benefit them.

    They have little concept of volunteer labor.

  2. Owen,

    Although we build homes from ISBUs (and sometimes… oddly enough, some Earthbags slip in there!) and repurpose, recycle, and reuse everything under the Sun, this is exactly how we usually build our families homes.

    The only way to rebuild a nation is to reweave the fabric of it’s people. After all, cloth is only as strong as it’s interwoven threads, right?

    By working together, committing to common goals, and then persevering, we all grow stronger. Let’s hope that we grow as strong as your Earthbag homes…

    Can you imagine families as strong as an Earthbag structure?

    Wouldn’t that be something?


    aka: Renaissance Ronin

  3. I love this idea Owen! A throwback to a time when community was a more integral part of our lives. Such a huge hurdle in America, is the lack of ability to work with people to create things together, as so often the money system gets in the way of a more cooperative way of life.
    Earthbag building lends itself to this model of cooperative building!


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