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Calling all Self Builders!

Hey There!

I'm currently in the process of buying a plot of landnear Koshov with the intention of building my own straw bale/cob house.

For those of you who have renovated/built from scratch could you give me a rough idea as to the cost of materials  (and labor for the things I will not achieve myself) in BG compared to the UK. I will be using as much recycled/reclaimed materials as possible  but I will obviously have to spend monney on additional lumber, fixtures, fittings etc.

Thank you in advance.

Hi Moleymagoo,

We are currently building a small guest cabin (3.5x4m) in our garden using 'cordwood' also an ecological building method. Once we finish building, I'll write a piece about it with a breakdown of costs and insights on the method. It is not finished yet so it is difficult to say exactly how much the end result will have cost, but we have roughly estimated 1500 leva for the finished result. That includes a proper foundation with gravel and concrete, and all material, but we use free recycled windows, some old oak beams and secondhand roof tiles. We wasted a bit of money on delivery costs because we had about five separate deliveries, as we are building quite slowly and didn't want to have all the material laying about the entire summer :-) it's only the two of us.. The small building is a test run really, if it works well then we'll be starting a bigger project.

There is an organisation near Veliko Tarnovo that knows a lot about building with cob 'Cob in Bulgaria', maybe you know it already, I am sure they can provide information on the costs too. 

Apart from building from scratch now, we also have gone through a complete renovation of an old house that stood empty for 20 years.. Although for the latter we mainly hired a maistor.. For the renovation we paid about the same we would have paid for one year rent of a two-bedroom house in the South-East of England.. So, a better deal here in BG. Mind you, we are not entirely finished but it is comfortable.

I don't know what facilities you have available near you, but if you have to get material or workmen from far, then it can add up quite a bit if you don't have your own transporter. We paid anything between 20 and 80 leva, and some companies were unwilling or unable to deliver because we live on a rough ascending dirt road..

I'll be happy to exchange some building experiences, and see how you get on with your project. I like ecological building a lot and think it works very well in Bulgaria. Many villages have adobe buildings, but unfortunately fallen apart once the rain got in through the often broken roofs..

Good luck with everything :-)

Thanks for the information Remedias. At present there is nothing on the land. I have to get bore hole and solar sorted or I'll be building with hand tools which will take an age. I'm struggling to find labor and materials at the moment, made even harder by the fact that I'm not permanently based there right now.

What sort of planning hurdles might I encounter...I was thinking of building the house on a pier foundation. Do you know if this is possible or where I should go to find the answer.

I'm trying to avoid using the agent for building services as they are likely to add a nought onto every quote.

Would like to exchange building adventures in the future, I'll take any advice you can throw at this point.

Thanks once again :)

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