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By : Larisa Brojan, Peggi L Clouston

The accessible nature of straw bale building lends itself well to self-built and workshop-built housing; straw is known to be both relatively inexpensive and easy to work with for people new to construction. A question then arises as to whether or not hiring an experienced builder can reduce overall costs of such a structure. This study conducts a worldwide survey to straw bale home owners to answer this question and to determine general economic data on straw bale homes, such as: what home owners value, who the main builder typically is, and what usually causes budgets to overrun. A key finding is that self-building is economically justified if the projected saving is higher than the cost of a contractor and if the usually longer time needed to build the home is amenable to the investor. An economic case study is also conducted on a straw bale home in Radomlje, Slovenia. All building expenses are categorized by building phase and subgrouped by cost in accordance with accepted building standards. A key observation is how demanding any specific building phase is in comparison to conventional building.
Keywords: Straw Bale, Building, Economics, Survey, Investment.

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