$2,500 USD Habiterra Affordable House





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Published on Mar 19, 2009

This 47 M2 Habiterra home was built in Mexico in 14 hours without any equipment, skilled labor or pre-fabricated parts. The gray cost including electrical and plumbing installations included. Cost may vary per location region, however an Habiterra block should cost less than a standard 8" block. 2,568 blocks were need at a cost of $0.50 per block.

Comments • 1,016

Rafael Alvarez
Man I'll tell you, there is no shortage of nay sayers, I can do it better, that's impossible, my way is the right way thinkers out there. Some people can only see 2ft in front of them. $2,500, $25,000 who cares. It's important to look at the big picture. It will not cost $250,000, which is about the cheapest you can find around me in Connecticut. A lot of people in our country pay more to live in a trailer park. This can put homes in the hands of many people who just can't afford a house today. The cool factor is also being able to take on a job like this with family and friends. People tend to take more pride and care when they build things with there own hands instead of someone else doing it. Stay positive folks. We need more "we can do it" attitude out here. There already is to much negativity in our world without our help. Peace, happy, and safe building folks. :) 
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Robert Carver
I am a structural engineer and I have built a lot of houses, plus volunteered for Habitat for Humanity for a dozen years as a designer, engineer, project leader, teacher and all without pay. I have also designed and built plenty of million dollar houses. I really, really like this system. Cement block has been the standard for use in the southern US and other countries for half a century, and this is a great improvement over cement block. It uses non-skilled labor, a toddler playing with Legos can put this together. Cement block is not inherently stable, this looks like it could be that, dry-stacked. The main issue all houses in the coastal areas have is uplift, so if rebar can be fitted in those holes, it should be fine. The money is obviously not right, the site work would cost more than $2500, a septic field would cost that much, what about water? I live in Florida, the materials for an 1100 SF house for Habitat costs $38,000 in materials. We use all volunteer labor, and all the appliances are donated by Maytag. We give the homeowner a zero interest loan on a $30,000 mortgage because the project organization (like a church) on average raises five to ten thousand dollars. When finished, the house usually appraises for about $100,000, so we are giving the homeowner a good deal and we also do all the maintenance. I would use this material in a heart beat over the stick built designs, this dry stack house would produce a much more stable, lower maintenance product as soon as the heating and cooling is figured out. I hate flat roofs, they will always leak, but that could be accounted for in the design. My guess is that using this material would reduce the cost of the building by a minor amount, but stick built is prone to insect, mold, water and fire damage, this material is not.
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Sky Edge
Built without equipment, skilled labor or pre-fabricated parts? Pretty sure that dump truck and those 9 laborers would disagree..
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I'd take this house over any of the wood crap we have here in the US. Better architecture too.
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Jack U.
I counted at least 8 workers, maybe 10?  Maybe not all of them skilled labor but what about at least 1 electrician, 1 plumber, and 1 tile-layer?  50/hr * 3 * 14 = 2100.  The rest 10/hr * 7 * 14 = 980.  So the labor is US$3000 already.  Don't you need to rent the concrete pourer?  How much cement for pouring the roof?  How much does it cost to build the steel cages for the roof?  The finishing took only 14 hours?  And the painting?  How much is the paint?  The doors and the kitchen appliances?  I think it is more reasonable to count only material costs and electric wire and pipes for the shell of the house.  0.5 * 2568 = 1284.  That leaves only 1216 for the roof and pipes and electric wires.
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James Coffey
I don't think it can be done in the U.S. for $2500. 50 cents a brick. Bricks designed to interlink for support. Metal rods to increase support. The bricks could be filled to provide better insulation. The roof is cast concrete with steel framing. Not that expensive compared to a real roof. Looks like they did the wiring and plumbing themselves. I expect they aren't adding labor costs, or those costs are quite a bit less than in the U.S. Inspections for water, sewage, and electric are probably a LOT cheaper. Doors and fixtures can be recycled from other building sites or demolitions or the junkyard. The interior tile is a LOT cheaper in Mexico. I'm pretty sure, all things taken into consideration, the house could be built in rural Mexico for that price. Double or triple it for the U.S, build as shown. Add some more for real insulation. And even more for a real roof. That's assuming you do the actual building yourself. Still, a nice, well built small house for under $20K in the U.S. is still pretty darn good. Looks to be low maintenance and easy care. No worries about fire, really. Should stand up well to storms and earthquake since the blocks are interlocking and have some give to them. It'd make a nice retirement home, or a good beach cottage.
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melvin boyce
Many are saying this could not be done in Aerica, of coarse not, America is a represive county that relies on graft and legal blackmail as a matter of daily living.  Here you would pay more in usless fees and then you need an engineer to draw and supply specs so the guy sitting behind the county desk could pick it and you apart as if you were a child standing before a sadistic teacher getting you knuckels busted for asking a question.  You people wanted protection from life and now you have it.  Not everyone in the world is dependant upon momma government.
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Miss Celina - no need to see my face
It would be nice if we could all come together and raise money to build a few home like this in distressed countries. I pray to God to someday be a part of a project of that magnitude. It would touch so many lives!
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Nethaniel S
any plaster on the exterior or interior would MOST HIGHLY get cracked after the first 3 months, none of the blocks are cemented and there for there will be movement… even a movement of 0.2 millimeter on each block, collectively it will lead to a hell of a cracks on the plaster!!
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$2500 for the building blocks, rebar, prefabricated roof and concrete covering maybe, but that can't include any labour and plant costs to build the walls/roof, or the cost of the land, planning costs, taxes, incoming services, sewers and roads/pavements, the foundations, the floor slab, insulation, finishes like external render and internal plaster/drywall, the doors, the windows, the kitchen units, the bathroom fixtures & fittings, the wall & floor tiles, the internal electrical/plumbing/heating/water services, décor, and external landscaping/pavings. 
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