Resource Consent Granted – Building Consent next to come!
This is an update as to where the Waiheke ES project is currently at along with a proposal to which we invite your thoughts and comment.
The first hurdle of the consent process has been overcome with the granting of resource consent for the Waiheke Earthship by Auckland Council. The resource consent covers such things as the size, bulk and look of the building, earthworks, impacts on native trees, and wastewater treatment and disposal, and was accepted as the building is low impact design and rain water collection and on-site sewage treatment as is the norm on Waiheke.
The Building Consent application process is yet to come and we are about 75% of the way to having a set of plans to present to Auckland Council. No construction start date has been rescheduled as yet.
To date the Earthship design process overall has been laborious, slow and costly as a result from the dynamics and complications of trying to work with Earthship Biotecture (EB) in the USA and attempting to bring Mike Reynolds design into a format which meets NZ engineering and consent requirements. To date it just not turned out to be a workable pathway to create a cost-effective outcome so with the agreement of EB, we are now adopting a different approach which we think will be easier to manage and be more cost effective. Having got the plans and engineering to an advanced concept design stage we will now take charge of the design and compliance process from EB and finish off the detailed design of the Waiheke Earthship with our local NZ team under the guidance of architect Graeme North and present the finished product to EB for review (rather than have Mike Reynolds of EB lead the project as head architect). We are in conversation with the Coromandel Earthship folks (Gus & Sarah) who are embarking on designing an earthship near Tariua, Coromandel and we’re both looking at working with the same team of design professionals.
We have had conversations with many individuals and groups nationwide who are keen to see a consentable NZ approved version of the generic EB Global Model Earthship accessible to their communities. We envision this could be made possible in conjunction with the earthship design process that we are going through. In addition to our own custom earthship design we are looking at providing a set of earthship system NZ generic “specifications” which could be applied to any site in NZ including an NZ approved tyre code, wastewater systems design, water proofing, ventilation and other key components of earthship design. It is important to note that these would not be a a set of building plans which could be presented for rubber stamping by councils as NZ law requires that site specific drawings are created for every building consent. It would however save anyone embarking on their own earthship design considerable cost and time as all the key NZ code compliant details could just be lifted and applied. By pooling resources with any others of you out there that are looking to build earthships in the future, or just want to support the movement, we have an opportunity to really empower the expansion of earthship building in NZ.
In order to gauge and confirm interest and also have a transparent mechanism to manage the process, we are looking into a crowd funding method called Kickstarter to raise the money to provide the generic set of code compliant NZ earthship specifications. As we have already resolved many of the core aspects of the compliance requirements with our considerable investment to date with Earthship Biotecture and NZ architect and engineers, we envision that it will be quite cost effective for others to chip in to achieve a full set of generic earthship specifications for themselves.
At the end of the day, whether or not there is sufficient interest, we will carry on and complete our site specific plans for the Waiheke ES project (as we imagine will others) however we feel it is much more efficient and better for all stakeholders to work collaboratively to achieve an outcome with much greater and wider benefits for the NZ Earthship community.
So what do you say – does the idea sound attractive and would you contribute to making it work? If not why and how could this idea be improved?
Thanks and we look forward to your comments.
Liz and Dana