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Pace the work speed to avoid cuts and gashes. Working at a relaxed pace and thinking ahead is best for self-sheltering, it also allows time for conversation with companion workers as-well-as meditative appreciation of a modern labor theory of value which includes social interaction as a fertile source of development. Construction techniques explored in the various sections of ferrocement.com inevitably lead to comment on labor intensity. Why? How? The labor portion of self-sheltering with traditional ferrocement is as much as 90% in higher wage cultures similar to Europe. The labor portion utilizing the materials shown here is probably closer to 95% .

There is nothing labor saving about the self-sheltering mode, one exception being conservation of labor value already wisely invested. The art, construction techniques, and business practices outlined on this website are all based upon freely available and often underutilized labor. This is a difficult mindset to maintain for those of us trained in the economic model that uses efficiency measures based upon minimizing labor hours with fossil fuel powered machines. This structure is built in a way to utilize labor value added resources and construction labor idled by disaster or the type of socially expensive poverty associated with the side effects of corporate consumerism and agriculture.

Economic comment is provided to help establish confidence among nations reaching a decision around helping to create a sustainable human culture most efficiently through friendly support for self-sheltering using these materials and techniques.Investment requirements are so low that individuals can also support specific projects accomplished by those needing adequate shelter. Forest re-growth, reduced crime, increased health and education, with its associated reduction in birth rate, are a small sample of the positive economic attributes of self-sheltering.

Unrealized economic returns sufficient to strengthen nations will be made available for relatively small investments in applied economic solutions that create shelter, sanitation and potable water. Entire populations of poor and unfortunate families will be boosted into a higher level of creativity when they feel secure and enjoy pride of place, that is the purpose of this technology and its accompanying techniques. Food production advances can be analyzed within the production techniques and underlying economic science. Escape from looming environmental collapse caused by the systemic design flaw of global corporatism - faster and faster growth to infinity on a finite planet - will most likely be derived from the imaginations of those starting from dirt floors at a time when all the easily available resources are already gone. The five dollar per square foot house will be appreciated by many in the near future and is needed at this very moment in many more places than China, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Kenya, Pakistan and Vietnam.

A small piece of plywood with a pad is enough to give comfort to the knee and protect the mat. This is not an easy job. Re-tie cut mat wires along the cut line better than factory quality and store scraps for later. Though all of this takes more time than one might expect, two useable roof angle cuts are being made at once in this picture.

The sides of this structure without windows and doors are ideal surfaces for relief sculptures, they are a perfect place to practice reproduction of a recognized painting utilizing sculptural thickness available with fiber reinforced concrete.

Lest an important topic be forgotten : Neem tree has been suggested by a pastor in Sudan as a source for wood to grow as straight saplings, a construction companion for bamboo. I sometimes think about fertilized ceonothus seedlings, from a previous experiment, also eucalyptus and black locust, from experiences and conversations.

Above the door is a vertical bamboo piece that was temporary to brace the trusses during installation, it was left in place and now presents a problematic bulge. This brace is helpful for placing the trusses and would have been equally useful plus created a base for an interesting plaster detail if left in place on the inside rather than the outside plane.

Same sheathing concept using reeds, preliminary attachment is 32 mm cotton rope (1/8") instead of wire, final attachment is cotton rope and string wrapped around the frame members. Notice that the left side is made up of trimmed scraps.