Category Archives: Alternative Building Methods

Advocating recycled and naturally renewable building materials such as bamboo and Strawberry Guava that are excellent for construction but are currently not “legal”.

Building codes interview & resources

I am forwarding this interview and info to you although you are probably well abreast to the DCAT and their function in the Building code community. I think this interview is especially supportive as it was 1st published in the Building Standards magazine from the ICBO. I am a retired building inspector and am beginning the process of developing some property.
Mahalo for your efforts
Leanne Budlong


Kailua Attorney Builds Shelters For The Homeless

HONOLULU – Tony Locricchio saw the growing homeless population living in tents on sidewalks and said we must find places for them to live with dignity.
With his own money, and on his property in Kailua, he has constructed demo buildings to show what can built with a little money and a lot of imagination.

He calls it deconstruction reconstruction. Locricchio’s yard is full of used construction material. Next to his home he has built three one-room homes, cobbled together shelters that he says could be moved to state land.

Read more:


YouTube video on Sustainable Communities

l just watched this very comprehensive YouTube video on Sustainable Communities presented by Dr. Kelly Cain to the Saulk County, Wisconsin,  Comprehensive Plan Steering group. It has lots of very valuable data that would benefit our cause as well as all Hawaii County sustainability initiatives.




A report by –
18 OCTOBER 2011

Building codes ensure the health, safety and welfare of building users and the public. Unfortunately, many of today’s codes are prescriptive and based on traditional industry standards, thereby precluding innovative approaches to environmentally responsible design. An additional problem is that design standards are evolving at a faster pace than building codes. Therefore it is critical to supplement existing building codes with provisions for innovation in order to create opportunities to introduce technological and other improvements more rapidly.

Barriers to Green Development
Green building still represents a small percentage of total construction.3 One reason for this is that existing codes and code officials often pose barriers to changes in construction practices. Another is anticipation of resistance from code officials.

The study found current building regulators are unaware of the “risks and unintended consequences
inherent in current practice”.
Additionally, most building departments lack the time and resources to
educate building officials about these issues and essential elements of green building. The researchers
found a surprising 65% of surveyed code users intentionally left out green building elements
because they anticipated that code officials would deny the design.

Strategies for increasing the potential for code approval:
1. Present sufficient information to the building official pertaining to
the green building technology (technical, engineered tests, precedents)
2. When applicable, include contact information of code official in
other jurisdiction where similar green building technology was approved
3. Collaborate with code officials early in the design process, and begin the approval process early

Steps that can be taken to improve the compatibility of building
regulations and green building:
1. Organize research committees within building department to inform
code officials of green alternatives

Graham Ellis


Natural Building Network

Natural Building Network  is a not-for-profit membership association promoting natural building principles, materials and practitioners worldwide. We support ecological regeneration, social justice, the building of community and economic opportunity, and the recognition of indigenous wisdom as essential in creating healthy, beautiful, and spiritually-uplifting habitation for everyone.


Hobbit house in Wales


I thought you folks might be interested in this website since you are trying to get local and state governments to approve of special land-use projects.  What caught my eye with this website was the following statement:  The “Lammas Project is a voluntary organization that has been working to promote low impact development for the last three years. It was involved in the development of a Low Impact planning policy in Pembrokeshire [Wales], the first county in the UK to introduce one.”

“This building is one part of a low-impact or permaculture approach to life. This sort of life is about living in harmony with both the natural world and ourselves, doing things simply and using appropriate levels of technology.”   <>
Hope this is useful in some way.

With Aloha,


County Council Passes Controversial Building Code

West Hawaii Today  but not the Tribune covered the 270 demonstration and police presence at the meeting.  We don’t know why there was no story in the Tribune Herald!


Bamboo Buildings

Leimana Pelton is the guy responsible for the 6 bamboo structures
that Cof H waste management contracted to be built for recycling centers
 around the island. I've asked him to talk about the compromises
he had to make to comply with existing code and what  code changes
would more easily enable him to build future bamboo structures
on the big island.
You can read more about him at
and on
which states:-

Only one Asian bamboo has been included in the uniform building code.

Even though all of the locally grown treated bamboo we use has been
structurally evaluated for strength and resistance to insect and fungal
attack according to the highest standards, they have not yet been
approved for inclusion in the uniform building code. We expect this
will occur within the next two years, one species at a time at a very
high cost. Therefore we are currently offering only “portable” structures
that will none the less last for decades, but don’t require regular
building permits.