Building on a steep slope
I studied how to build a pole home
The land was very steep and I did not wish to build on the only flat spot so I decided to build a pole home on the slope adjacent to the flat spot.
With the help of a borer and crane plus an excavator and a large tractor we stood the 28 poles up in one day. The 600 mm diameter holes were bored through the top layers of soil and 1 meter into soft rock, the poles sit on 2 house bricks so the concrete could get under them. The longest pole was 10 meters and weighed about a ton.
There were many helpers cleaning the loose dirt from the holes and sighting the poles upright.
The distance between the poles is 4.2 meters along the building and 3 meters across, the double bearers run the 4.2 meters, there are 7 posts along the high side of the job, these sit on steel stirrups set in concrete foundations.
There are 250 kilo of nails in the house, it is built of 95% recycled material. 18 meters long and 12 meters wide.
Nothing stopped me from getting timber, I carted it from Sydney, 900 km on many occasions.
I found one of the benefits of this type of construction was the fact that the roof was supported by the poles and therefore it was not necessary to put the internal partitions (walls) in until needed and when the family grew and I found no need for some walls, they were removed.
The house now is an open plan with 2 bedrooms, dining area with kitchen and one large room which was originally 3 smaller rooms.
I also enjoy the fact that when entering the house there are no steps, the garden is level with the house floor and when you walk to the other end of the house you stand well above ground level.
Termites (White ants) are a problem, they do not eat the iron bark poles but they climb inside the cracks and seek out the oregon timber which I used here and there. I bought 30 kilo of boracic acid, white powder, not expensive but not easy to find, and by putting about a kilo around each pole the termites were discouraged, but they did come back and I had a professional pest control person bore holes in some poles and inject a treatment. It seems to be working (cost AU $200)
One of my favorite tricks on cold mornings is to light a fire under the house in a 20 liter drum and it warms the whole house no problem. I do make sure the drum and its fire are not going to set fire to the house.
by Len Hend