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Reinforced Concrete Homes - the answer to the question we're all asking???

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  • #16
    Originally posted by YokohamaTommy View Post
    I wonder if you could build a Geodome.

    Not very expensive.
    More space for your buck.
    Modular. (easy to add things later)
    Can build partially underground.
    The frame can be DIY.
    Looks cool as hell.

    And most importantly, it won't fall over in an Earthquake.
    Not sure if it floats, though.
    Those look sweet, but I think I'm a little too OCD to deal with the wasted triangles of space behind all of my square furniture

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    • #17
      This stuff is technically concrete, but without all the disadvantages:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autocla...rated_concrete

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      • #18
        Went to go check out this house:

        but it turns out it's not even finished yet. So I walked around the contruction site and peeked in. It all looked quite good. So we did the next best thing and went to check out the company's "Flagship" house and talk with a sales rep.

        Here's the "Flagship":

        http://www.dhome.jp/bukken/sale019.html

        It was an interesting house, though it was actually surprisingly small with a lot of wasted space. (Keep in mind that the car in front is not an FJ like the other house, but an SC430 )

        The company seemed surprisingly unflexible, though the salesman answered our questions well. Turns out the additional tax for building concrete is about $600 per year, and that gradually decreases over the next 47 years. The biggest piece of info he shared with us, is that our side of the city apparently has "soft" soil, and if we wanted to build a concrete house, it might end up costing $texas to properly prepare the ground.

        He said that concrete houses are 10's or 100's times heavier than equivalent wood-frame houses, so they have to be picky about the soil. Also explains why there are none that we can find on this side of town.

        He answered a bunch of other questions about roof drainage and sealing, which all seemed good. That particular company's warrantee for their workmanship was only 10 years, which seems surprisingly low (and is in fact, the minimum required by law).

        So our next step is to get in contact with some other companies and see what they can do. Another one (Ube House) mentioned that they can help us find suitable land, and in their catalog, every house they listed, though fairly priced, was designed according to the owner's needs, which is neat. The company we talked with today basically said "4 rooms is the most you can get, so stop asking". Oh yeah, and they said "All denka, or take a hike." too.

        So the search continues.
        Last edited by tre; 2012-04-21, 04:05 PM.

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        • #19
          Another caution here... when the plumbing is engineered - make sure that you specify that the supplies (both hot and cold) be run in conduit - and not have the pipes imbedded directly in concrete. That way they can be replaced if needed, and not require external routing (ugly) or structural damage to get to them. As the supplies are under pressure - any leak, no matter how small - will require replacement. The drains are not such a problem - as they gravity slope.

          They use flexible supply pipes these days - so running in conduit is important for a second reason. They sag if not supported, and inside concrete - when it is poured - they will tend to sag even more when pushed by the wet concrete. Any sags that hold water will be places that will freeze and break - should you ever be away and not keep the place heated (or with an extended power outage). Thus the conduit should be installed as if it is is a drain - with built in slope. Thus - when the house supply is disconnected at the meter (lowest point) - or when a bleeder valve is used at the meter - and with all faucets opened - all supply pipes should naturally drain.
          Last edited by TJrandom; 2012-04-23, 06:53 AM.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by tre View Post
            He said that concrete houses are 10's or 100's times heavier than equivalent wood-frame houses, so they have to be picky about the soil.
            I'm no expert, but wouldn't building a basement help solve this issue?

            BTW, do those places have roof-top decks? I can't understand why Japanese houses waste so much potential space, given the high price of land here and how crammed most interiors are.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Koenji View Post
              I'm no expert, but wouldn't building a basement help solve this issue?

              BTW, do those places have roof-top decks? I can't understand why Japanese houses waste so much potential space, given the high price of land here and how crammed most interiors are.
              Yeah, I've kinda wondered why people don't have basements....Sometimes you see these half-in-the-ground garages and stuff, but the downside to that in Hokkaido is that when it snows 2 feet in one night, you're shoveling uphill for 3 hours to get your car out. In terms of just having a basement, I don't know why they don't have them...perhaps the threat of gargantuan earthquakes keeps them at bay.

              Many of the concrete houses we've seen have rooftop decks, but almost none of the wood-frame or steel-frame houses do, though they have normal balconies coming off the second floor.

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              • #22
                Are any of these dome houses already built for sale in or close to Tokyo? Is owning a home a viable option before I acquire permanent residence, or should I hold off on buying one until I establish PR?

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Japan.bound View Post
                  Are any of these dome houses already built for sale in or close to Tokyo? Is owning a home a viable option before I acquire permanent residence, or should I hold off on buying one until I establish PR?
                  I've never seen them...

                  As for having property, anyone can own in Japan, it just won't help you get PR. I'm not a PR yet, but I'm married to a Japanese woman and we plan to be here for a while.

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