Hempcrete building seeking approval offgrid. Advice please? – Property & Real Estate – Expats Portugal Community Forum
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Hempcrete building seeking approval offgrid. Advice please?


Posts: 7
Premium Member
Topic starter
(@jennymark)
Active Member
Joined: 6 months ago

Ola everyone. We are looking to buy a piece of land on the silver coast, not sure if there are Cameras that are more lenient and will accept alternative building structures.
I have been advised to buy land with a ruin and demolish it. I have found no builders so far that are familiar with hempcrete here in Portugal, so there is a company in Denmark that can build a prefab home and then take it apart and reassemble here in Portugal. I would like to be off grid and sustainable, does anyone know of any reliable builders who can demolish the old ruin and build a new foundation, road to property, septic tank, possibly water well and catchment tank. Not sure if general contractor can be point of contact with Camera or if others are needed. Sorry lots of questions to try to get advice. Has anyone completed a project similar to this one? Thank you very much. Jenny and Mark

8 Replies

Posts: 108
VIP Member
(@cojabound)
Estimable Member
Joined: 5 years ago

Hi Jenny,

It is really difficult to self build here. (Unless you are simply rebuilding an existing ruin) You need an engineer with a licence for the build to be legal. Don't knock down a ruin without permission (we did that but were lucky to have a helpful camara,  so didn't get a fine). In fact do nothing without permission from the camara, no matter what you hear, this can lead to unexpected problems. Ideally find a good, experienced architect from the start to help with planning etc. As for sustainable build styles, you will have to be able to demonstrate that it meets current regs re fire, earthquake, acoustics etc. But if you find a builder who works this way, you should be fine. We started out wanting a more eco friendly build and found a few companies that build in wood but none in hempcrete or straw. In the end we gave up and went for a standard build.... after 3 years of being messed about!. My advice in a nutshell is to get an architect and work with the camara on everything, build legal or risk your home. Good luck.

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Posts: 7
Premium Member
Topic starter
(@jennymark)
Active Member
Joined: 6 months ago

Thank you.  Exactly what I am hearing and now we are moving towards a light steel frame and being told that most of their builds are up north.  Hoping we can build in the central region and trying to find a Camera that is acceptable.  Trying to keep patient but it is a very frustrating process.  The build and being off grid seem to be the two factors.  At least light steel frame is being built in Country and they have an architect on staff. 

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4 Replies
Ask Our Expats Consultant
(@anavieira)
Joined: 9 months ago

Member
Posts: 142

@jennymark

Hello!

Can not help you regarding hempcrete building in Portugal. But there is a growing market for light steel frame building and you can find some builders working on that area.
Some companies are based in other parts of the country but they will include a budget for lodging of the staff near the construction site during the process. it will be on your money, of course.

Here you can find some of them:

 

hope it can help you!

🙂

Ana

 

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VIP Member
(@cojabound)
Joined: 5 years ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 108

@jennymark you should be fine with a light steel frame project, we got permisssion for one, no problem. It was the building company we choose that let us down.

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Premium Member
(@jennymark)
Joined: 6 months ago

Active Member
Posts: 7

@cojabound  it was a wood builder, right?  There are so many to choose from and hard to review who would be the best and how to find constructive feedback.  We just wanna be closer to the sea for milder climate and off grid seems to be the challenge. 

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VIP Member
(@cojabound)
Joined: 5 years ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 108

@jennymark yes wood and steel, along the lines of a passive haus. The company has gone out of business. It can be difficult to find recomendations for an unusual build, I hope you find someone.

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Posts: 729
VIP Member
(@mrbife)
Honorable Member
Joined: 16 years ago

My view is that the choice of where you get your power from should not affect your ability to get planning permission, indeed it is of no interest to the Camara. You will have to build to the regulations and have an approved electrician sign off the electrical distribution system (and ITED but thats another story) but the fact you are remaining off grid is of no interest after that point.

Bear in mind you can just as easily kill yourself with off grid electrical power if the installation doesn't meet safety regulations then it's easier to see their point.

If the reason for wishing to be off grid is because you think you can get away with an illegal construction (no planning permission or incorrect designation of land) then don't begin this. You will find plenty of engineers and architects able to submit a project based on hempcrete, or hay bale there was a time houses were built with cow poo so it's nothing new.  Steel frame and timber frame are widely accepted everywhere.  Concrete and blocks are really low cost and innovating does tend to cost more !

 

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1 Reply
Premium Member
(@jennymark)
Joined: 6 months ago

Active Member
Posts: 7

@mrbife definitely don’t want to do anything illegal. Thank you so much for the link for natural building that is exactly what we are interested in and want to live in a house that is as healthy and non-toxic as possible. I think she will be an asset in trying to create this dream home that is off grid and sustainable. The reason why we went to Light Steel Frame is because we could not find anyone within country and Covid doesn’t help the situation. Now we can go back to trying to figure out how to make this happen.

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