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Re: GSBN: Is it time?

Joyce Coppinger wrote:
>I'm not quite sure what you are proposing to develop, Bill?  How would
>this association be different from those which already exist, including
>GSBN, state associations (CASBA, SBAT, SBAN, et al), groups formed in
>other countries who work with and coordinate efforts through GSBN?

Well, it seems to me that most of our existing orgs are about building...
not about living in a straw bale.  I'm certainly not suggesting that this
replace any of the excellent orgs already out there - in fact, I'm thinking
that it could add another dimension.  Orgs like CASBA, SBAT, and SBAN could
be could be state chapters or something (retaining their autonomy, of
course), but a national or international homeowners assn could help bridge
the gap in some of the places where there is no org in place.

Perhaps GSBN should just step into that role, or it could be a sub topic or
focus group of GSBN.  As I understand the general role of GSBN at the
present time, it's to coordinate the various local orgs, support R&D, etc
etc... all the stuff I was thinking about for a SB Homeowner's org.  With
the membership being only a couple of folks from each local org.   But we
hadn't really mentioned a homeowners aspect of it before (or if we did, it
was in the background and I missed it).  That's a whole different aspect,
and a potentially much wider membership base.

In a lot of ways, I think we have enough organizations as it is.  The thing
is, this would address an aspect that is not covered yet.  I'm sure that
the focus of TLS will eventually move more in the direction of homeowners
issues, as the numbers of completed homes grows.  But I'm suggesting that
we put a support structure in place now, so that we don't lose the existing
SB owners.

>What would the members get for their $50-75 fee?

Hey, that was one of *my* questions!  It's an important one - why do we
join any organization?  I think in the case of SB, there are a fair number
of folks who would join just to support the SB "movement".  But there
should be some benefits that we could point to also.  Many of us can't
afford to join orgs just out of the goodness of our hearts - we need to
receive some value.  I don't have the answer to that.

>Who would head up the group?

Round up the usual suspects ;-)

>How exactly do you see this new group providing those things you
>listed as things the association could affect through its collective clout
>-- the mortgage industry's acceptance, building officials/codes, the
>insurance industry, research, public awareness.  To accomplish these
>things takes coordinated efforts and monetary support.

Perhaps more than anything I'm just expressing my perception that some of
those aspects are not being handled by the existing orgs.  Some are, some
aren't, actually.   I think we could stand a little more public awareness
among the SB world as to just what IS being done in these areas.  I'll bet
that 3/4 of the SB list doesn't even know that GSBN exists.

I'm suggesting that the monetary support could come from many small

>Seems to me that the existing groups and associations are struggling
>financially to keep going already -- for example, DCAT, TLS, and state
>associations like SBAN where we have really good local contact and
>networking and can focus on concerns more directly.  Maybe we should
>development of and lend more support to existing organizations,
>associations, efforts instead of adding something new.

Seems to me that a homeowners assn would keep more people involved.  The
model we're using now, as I said above, leans heavily toward the building
aspect.  Nothing wrong with that, of course.  But we do need to think
beyond that, to what happens once the owners have moved in.  What are the
issues then?  They've already decided what foundation and what plaster to
use.  Their issues revolve more around things like mortgages, insurance
rates, and resale values.  I think that it's important to address those
issues too.

And by keeping the existing owners involved, we'll have a larger base to
work with to be able to keep all those orgs afloat.

>I don't disagree with involving homeowners along with the professionals,
>but the owners/builders and future owner/builders I work with would
>probably not have $50-75/annual fee to contribute unless they had major
>benefits from the association.
Well, I was just throwing out some numbers as a place to start.  We could
have various levels based on income or whatever, or just do it the Matts
and Judy way - "more if you can, less if you can't".

Maybe that is too much money for some.  But $5 a month is $60.  That's not
really much, in the big picture.  If such an org could save you $10 a month
on your homeowners insurance, you'd be getting a deal, right?

>Will be interested in hearing reactions and responses from others.
>Joyce Coppinger
>Re:Build Associates and
>The Straw Bale Asssociaton of Nebraska
>> Hi GSBN folks,
>> There's something that's been mulling around in my mind lately, and I think
>> the time might be right.
>> We've collectively spent a lot of time building, changing building codes,
>> teaching others, etc etc.  Now many SB homes have been built all over the
>> world - over 50 right here in the Austin area, and I know other areas that
>> have good numbers too.
>> Is it time to form an International Straw Bale Homeowners Association?
>> Collective clout can have effects on things like
>>         The mortgage industry's acceptance
>>         Building officials/codes
>>         The insurance industry
>>         Research
>>         Public awareness
>>         etc
>> Potential advantages to the homeowner:
>>         a communication vehicle regarding mortgages and insurance
>>         ...(help me out here.  it's late and the brain's getting tired)
>> A modest fee ($50/year?) from even half the existing SB homeowners would
>> probably amount to a pretty decent amount of money.  Of course you wouldn't
>> have to be an owner at present to be a member - you could be a future
>> homeowner.  We'd want to be able to list enough benefits for the homeowners
>> to be motivated to kick in their hard earned bucks.
>> Presently the domain name strawbalehomeowners.org is available.  It costs
>> $70 to grab it.  We'll be happy to host it here, of course.  We'll need
>> someone to be the official contact address/phone etc, to collect the dues,
>> keep the records, etc.
>> I think GSBN could act as the advisory board.
>> Lots of other technical details to work out, but first, what does everyone
>> here think of the idea?
>> BC

>Joyce Coppinger
>Re:Build Associates and
>The Straw Bale Association of Nebraska

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