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Cost Advantage

Strawbale buildings can hold a cost advantage over conventional types. However, it has to be kept in mind that building a house is always a costly project, whether you are using strawbales or other materials. It is impossible to avoid expenditure, especially when you build to last, consider comfort, meet building codes and standards and aim to attain a good resale value.

You may be able to save some expenses on the actual strawbale walls. They are comparably easy to build, making it possible to put up your own walls and engage the help of friends and family for the wall raising. The more owner-builder and volunteer involvement is possible and available, the greater the cost savings can be.

With strawbales you also need less timber for framing and no further insulation material is required for the bale walls.

All other construction costs (e.g. foundation, floors, roof, windows & doors, electricity, plumbing, bathroom, kitchen, internal walls, ceiling, etc.) are about identical to any other building system therefore, the choices you make concerning labour, materials, details and finishing will determine whether or not you are able to build within a certain budget.

But, because the most frequently asked questions seem to be:

  • How much will it cost to build a strawbale house?
  • Is it cheaper to build a strawbale house?

We have provided a rough idea of building costs in the table below:

Average costing AU$ Unit Comments
$1800 – $2000 per sqare metre (m2) depending on design, details, owner and/or volunteer involvement, choice of materials and many other aspects

Please remember: The focus of strawbale building is not to spend less money, but to maximise the efficiency and energy savings of the finished home, to create a healthy living environment, to reflect sustainability and to leave the smallest possible footprint on the earth with the construction of our homes.

For more on this please check out the article Is it cheaper to build a straw bale house? that was published in “The Owner Builder” magazine issue 166 August/September 2011.