NOW ACCEPTING 2022 and 2023 HOST APPLICATIONS.
Have you dreamed of building a straw bale structure on your land?
Do you like the sound of a free labor force, under the guidance of a master baler, completing the baling of your home for you?
Do you have a piece of property that can support up to 40 participants?
If you said “yes” to all these questions then hosting a seven day comprehensive workshop may be for you. Imagine having 30-40 people working on your project for 7 days straight. There is no faster, less expensive or more enjoyable way to get your dream structure built!
On this page you will find the information you need to help you decide if you want to apply to host a 7-Day Straw Bale Workshop. Please review the details and if you want to further pursue the possibility of hosting, please answer the questions below in the “Hosting Application” and email your responses to StrawBaleWorkshops@gmail.com.
The information on this page may seem overwhelming. We are not trying to scare you away from hosting; however, we want you to be clear of what you are signing up for. Hosting is most definitely a rewarding experience, but it is not easy. It will take proper planning and execution, all of which will be MORE THAN WORTH IT in the end.
Before you read on, please watch this short and fun video which interviews a past workshop host. It will help you get a feel for how amazing hosting can be.
-Host must attend a workshop prior to hosting their own. It is important to understand how the process works before committing to host. One tuition payment shall be refunded (minus food cost) once your workshop is completed.
-A site that can accommodate up to 40 people and their tents. (Class size is a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 40 on most projects.)
-Shower (minimum of one “on demand heat” or two “tank heated”) and bathroom facilities (portable restrooms with a mid week servicing, per the company recommendations for the number of participants attending).
-Electricity for tools on the job site (land power is best but generator is acceptable).
-3 healthy meals a day plus snacks.
-Water for drinking and construction.
-Travel expenses for Andrew (Don’t worry he flies coach!). This includes hotels (typically one before and one after the workshop), airfare, food while traveling, and other associated costs.
-Accommodations for Andrew during the workshop: let’s face it, he’s not getting any younger lol so please have in place a comfortable bed in a private room/location. This can be a camper, a private room in a house or rental, etc.
-Tools and materials for the job.
-Fabrication of straw bale specific tools (Andrew supplies shop drawings and guidance on where to have them made). Tools can likely be sold to participants after the workshop.
What Andrew brings to the workshop:
-His expertise and professional construction experience.
-A warm, cheery and ready-to-work attitude.
-His professional teaching experience and workshop leadership.
-$100 per paid/attending participant towards the food budget.
-Free attendance for the host and one guest (no financial compensation for host or guest is provided).
-Help finding a designer for the structure in question.
-Help with pre- and post- workshop questions about the structure.
-Initial construction plan review.
-Detailed instruction on all aspects of straw bale construction from toe-ups to plaster.
-Tool list and sample menu plan.
How it works:
We can hold the workshop on structures from 1000 square feet to around 2000 square feet (exterior dimensions). Of course, how far we get on the structure is dependent on the group size and motivation level. Andrew is a strong motivator and can keep the group focused and productive; however, we cannot guarantee any specific amount of completion. Ultimately, the host is responsible for the completion of the structure after the workshop. If all goes well, we will apply 1 coat of plaster to the inside and outside of the building. That said, if we do not get that far, Andrew will make sure that at least one section of the structure is completed from toe-up to first coat of plaster so that the participants and the host can see the entire process.
If you are truly interested in hosting, please contact us by emailing StrawBaleWorkshops@gmail.com. In that email, please include the answers to the following questions as part of your application to host as well as a general description of the project itself.
- -Where is the potential workshop located?
- -When would you like to host the workshop?
- -What size structure is it?
- -Will you be building using the techniques that Andrew teaches in his videos/DVDs and book? Over the years of building and teaching, Andrew has developed a system that he strongly believes in and teaches at his workshops.
- -How is it financed?
- -Do you have a scheduled move-in date?
- -Do you have an architect or designer on board?
- -What is the workshop site like?
- -Will the site fit RVs and tent camping?
- -Is there land based power on site (not a generator…which is okay, but land based is better)?
- -Are there showers and a pressurized water source?
- -Are you building it yourself or hiring a contractor (other than the workshop part)?
If your project is accepted as a workshop, we will send you a contract written between you and The Morrison Group, LLC detailing the agreement. Finally, a refundable deposit in the amount of $15,000 is paid to The Morrison Group, LLC by the host to secure the workshop date and location. The deposit is due with the delivery of the contract agreement to The Morrison Group, LLC. The deposit is refunded in full to the host (assuming that the host upholds the provisions of the hosting agreement) in two stages as follows.
-$7500 is returned upon the start of the workshop.
-The final $7500, minus Andrew’s travel expenses and the host’s own tuition from their original workshop attendance minus the food expense for that week is returned within one week of the completion of the workshop. If the potential host attends a workshop along with more than one person, only one tuition shall be refunded to the host.
Once your construction begins, photos of the construction process should be emailed to The Morrison Group, LLC along with progress updates at least once a month to confirm that the necessary progress has been made and the structure is on schedule for the workshop dates. We ask that the hosts send such updates on the first of each month at the very least. If the building is behind schedule and the workshop dates cannot be met, The Morrison Group, LLC retains the right to keep the deposit and cancel the workshop. We want to be clear about how important it is to have the building ready for the workshop participants at the scheduled time. Should the host cancel the workshop for any reason, or otherwise be unable to fulfill the requirements of the hosting agreement, The Morrison Group, LLC retains the right to remove the workshop from the schedule and keep the deposit in full. Additional conditions and details are given in the hosting agreement.
Check with your local building department. If the structure requires a building permit and periodical inspections, those inspections need to be completed before the workshop. If the host has an inspection that cannot be performed ahead of time and must take place during the workshop, for example partial electrical service, they will need to let us know at least three (3) weeks prior to the start date. Communication between Andrew and the inspector is recommended to improve the flow of the workshop and limit or eliminate any delays to the workshop process.
Basic tools for construction, including utility knives, nail guns, chainsaws, and other tools must be on site two (2) weeks prior to the workshop. Click on the PDF for a full list of required tools.
Workshop participants are asked to bring small hand tools, gloves, hearing & eye protection, a plaster hawk and a trowel with them. We also ask them to bring whatever tools they think will be helpful on the build. After all, the more tools we have, the faster we can build. It is a good idea to have someone on site who can run errands during the week. There may be materials that were forgotten ahead of time for the construction site or the kitchen and the host won’t want to miss any of the workshop driving to town and back.
What happens if no one signs up?
If not enough participants sign up for the workshop, it may be canceled. This is a risk to the host as he or she will likely have completed significant construction on the building before such determination is made. We work hard to fill every workshop and so far have managed to be 99% successful. We advertise on StrawBale.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and we place announcements in other pertinent areas as well. We also supply the host with a PDF file of a workshop flier to be printed and distributed around the local community. We strongly encourage our hosts to help fill their workshops as it’s in everyone’s best interest. To give you an idea of enrollment, the average participation in 2018 was right around 32 people per workshop!
When to Book the Workshop:
We prefer to book our workshops a minimum of 6-12 months in advance. This gives the host ample time to prepare the site and us time to advertise and fill the workshop; however, we are also open to booking under shorter time lines if the project makes sense. Please email us at StrawBaleWorkshops@gmail.com to discuss your time line if you are uncertain.
In addition, all future hosts must attend a workshop before hosting their own to get a good feeling of the workshop flow. If you attend a workshop, we’ll refund your tuition (minus the food expense) in the final deposit return. Note that if multiple members attend a workshop prior to hosting the same event, only one tuition will be refunded to the host.
For answers to our FAQs, please click HERE.
We hope we haven’t scared you off of the idea of hosting. We simply want to be really clear that hosting is a big commitment and responsibility and that it’s not for everyone. We want to be as transparent as possible right off the bat so that we are all on the same page. That said, we have had incredibly wonderful experiences with the hosting/teaching relationship. Hosts find the experience to be extremely worthwhile and positive and are amazed by how much gets done in just one week.
If you would like to email some of our past hosts, please let us know and we can give you some people to contact. Short of that, please check out the testimonials below.
“As a Building Designer, my first investigations (8 years ago) into the technical details of straw bale house designs landed me on Andrew Morrison’s web site. As my work began to include more straw bale designs I came to consider Andrew the maestro of straw bale construction. When I saw he was teaching an Australian workshop I didn’t hesitate to sign up. I really wanted to see first hand how he took care of the detail.
Twenty seven participants from all over Australia descended on an organic farm SE of Adelaide with nothing in common but our curiosity and thirst for knowledge about straw bale construction. A bunch of total strangers pulled together, shared learning and asked a lot of questions whilst we built and rendered all the straw bale walls for our hosts. Our hosts were amazed. We were amazed. We had a ball, learnt a lot, laughed even more and went away with new, strong friendships and a greater understanding of straw bale construction.
Andrew was a brilliant teacher, a very personal teacher, who made everyone feel that their role mattered and their questions had value. He is a great human being, and is clearly doing what he loves and knows best. It was simply a brilliant week, one which brought out the best in all of us. We left excited to get home and begin our own straw bale projects.”
–Pamela Forward, Designer, Australia
“Hello Andrew, This is Brian Hannagan writing to just let you know now that I am still so satisfied 6 years later. The workshop you led has helped create one of the best quality straw-bale homes I have seen. I was skeptical and did enormous amounts of research before I planned this building and by far the walls and corners; and best of all the curved openings look amazing. I am not sure how you held everyone to the standard that I wanted but thanks again.”
–Brian Hannagan, Oregon
“We had a fantastic time. The workshop was well worth the effort, the interactions were fantastic and we would host again in a heartbeat. Financially with Andrew, all your money comes back. I had zero issues on this.”
–Rainer Vollmerhaus, Caledon East, Ontario, Canada