If at First You Don’t Succeed…Try, Try Again – StrawBale.com

Written by Andrew Morrison

If at first you don’t succeed, don’t worry! You’re not the only one. I have a poster on my wall that I want to share with you all. It helps me remember that when my first efforts fall short, I don’t give up. It gives examples of influential men who started out as less than influential! I have always been someone who pushes through to the end and strives to accomplish what I believe is possible, no matter how hard it seems in the moment. Building a straw bale house in an area where no bale homes exist can be an uphill battle. Building inspectors, plan checkers, permitting departments, insurance companies, and more can stand in the way of your dream; but only if you let them.

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln started a business early in his career in which he was the owner of a dry goods store. That business turned out to be a flop. Later in his life, he was appointed to the position of postmaster in his township. His post office had the worst efficiency rating in the entire county! As you all know, he eventually turned things around for himself.
Harry Truman
Here’s another face you may recognize as a great and influential figure in American history. Harry Truman opened a shirt store at the age of 35. It took only two years for that store to go bankrupt. He then spent the next 15 years of his life working to pay off the debt that his venture had accumulated. Again, he eventually turned things around because he never gave up on himself.
You Can Do It sticker
Believe in yourself and nothing can stop you. It doesn’t matter how many obstacles are in your way. If you believe you can do it, you can. Things may not end up looking like you thought they would (life has a way of changing the details of our plans along the way), but you can succeed with your dream.

You may have to make some changes to your plans to accommodate impacts as you go, but don’t ever give up on your dream. One way or another, it will come to fruition if you stay with it. I believe this is true for building a bale house and every other aspect of your life where challenge seems to be the norm.

Finally, here is a quote I have had on my office wall for more years than I can remember. In fact, I think I have had it since I was about 16 years old. I will leave you with this and hope that it offers you the inspiration it has me.

“Change is Inevitable. Growth is Optional.”

6 Responses

  1. So what you’re saying is that bad business men make good politicians? LOL
    Perhaps that’s where we go wrong today, the system only allows rich sucessful people with lots of commercial/big business backing to become president!

  2. Hi Jeff. The first thing to figure out is how many companies are in your area that will write policies for homeowners. once you know that, split them up and ask the first half straight up if they will cover a straw bale construction project. Be suer to give them all the information you have on fire resistance, acceptability, code approval, and so on. Answer any questions they have an educate them the best you can. If, in the end they will not cover such a project then find a company that will cover a post and beam house with cellulose insulation. This is not a lie, assuming you are not building load bearing that is, and is perfectly acceptable to say. After all, how many people try to get insurance for their fiberglass insulation house? The bales are only insulation in a post and beam and the independent testing proves they are better than fiberglass houses for fire resistance and more.

    If you are building load bearing, you will have to find a company willing to cover you. in some cases, it may be as simple as asking for coverage on your new construction, period. In other cases, you may need to “label” your home construction style. Choose masonry if available as the bales act in the same manner as block and the plaster represents the mortar and finish. In either case, load bearing or post and beam, start out with the straight story about building with bales and why they SHOULD cover you. The more we spread the word, the sooner the insurance companies will start seeing the opportunities available in covering these great houses. Good luck.

  3. I live in Northern Wisconsin & we are very traditional in our mind set. I need to find out the best way to go about getting a permit to build a straw bale home.

    I do know that Habitat for Humanity has built straw bale houses in Colorado and I’m hoping that my chapter here would be able to help me with the insurance and getting past some of the permitting processes but if you have any suggestions I would appreciate it.

  4. Melanie,
    The best thing may be to provide a copy of an approved building code to the officials who need to approve the home. In many cases, seeing some clear examples of approved codes will grease the wheels needed for the approvals. Let me know if H4H can help. I love that they are reaching into the SB world and would love to hear of more examples of such work.

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