Building into the side of a hillslope?

Discussion in 'Natural, Temporary, and Permanent Shelter' started by OfTheEarth, Jun 12, 2016.

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  1. OfTheEarth

    OfTheEarth Member

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    I have access to a large hillslope that is largely covered in sand, but turns to a mineral mix and then eventually soil.

    I have access to large, broken slabs (a LOT of them) of concrete as well as a ton of nice sticks/branches and straw to use in the area, but this is just a pet project for now and I don't want to do anything crazy. I would prefer not to use any tools if I can't make them by hand, but I will cave if need be - ideally, I just want to know if it can be done.

    Has anyone ever built into a hillside before? I kind of just want to get started with a small area to sit and lay down, and then work my way to having a small, simple room. This thing will be unoccupied unless I secretly disclose the location to some lucky homeless person, so it doesn't have to be crazy advanced.

    I am thinking the concrete slabs (broken from some old project, mismatched and jagged shapes but would make great reinforcement) will form the foundation and I can just make a meshwork of sticks for reinforcement walls, with the "roof" just being hilltop reinforced by a LOT of wood meshwork. I'm thinking like 4-6 inches of it should suffice, think a * shape, interlaced under each other and embedded down for security. I am fairly confident this would hold even 10 people on the small area, and I seriously doubt that much weight will ever be applied to it in its current location.

    Suggestions? Advice? The dig is the part I'm most worried about. Might get started tomorrow, might not, who knows.

    Keith H. likes this.
  2. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member

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    Check out photos of underground the vc had in nam they had everything they needed including complete hospitals
  3. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member

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    Based on what I think you are saying, I would not recommend digging into a hillside unless I had reasonably heavy timbers to shore it up as I go. This would be especially so given the type of ground you are talking about. The cement slabs I would be using as a floor & filling in any gaps with cement. The more shoring timber you can use, the safer it will be. Filling in the sides & the roof is advised.
  4. Corzhens

    Corzhens Master Survivalist

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    Pardon me for saying this but I think that is a crazy idea to build a shelter by the hillside much more if it's a crude makeshift shelter. When I read that part that the hill slope is mostly sand and mineral, it's easy to imagine that you can experience a landslide of avalanche, whatever you call it but definitely you will be buried in sand. My best bet is for you to use long wood like bamboo poles of maybe 20 feet long that would serve part beam and part defense for the avalanche. That could save you from disaster.

    Good luck to your folly. And if you are successful, please post it here so we would know what happened to your experiment.
  5. OfTheEarth

    OfTheEarth Member

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    It is not a high-sand hillside (it's just sandy on top, I dug a few feet into it already), and the dirt is fairly well compressed and full of rocks and subsoil clay. Upon further thought, I think a more efficient route would be to make it as a tunnel at first purely, starting simple and allowing cob bricks to be placed in rings, essentially forming a reinforced tunnel as I dig. The biggest problem I will have is water-proofing it (wanted to do it without plaster or plastics but that's looking tough), but it's on my friends property and he already doesn't care if it caves in, they're going to dig all of it out for farmland later anyways.
  6. joshposh

    joshposh Expert Member

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    I wouldn't be digging a tunnel through a hillside that is only compressed dirt. It could collapse on you if it is not structured properly. Civil Engineering is need to survey the land properly. Unless you were just building a small hut on the side and not digging at all. My imagination says that you are going to dig inwards, which is dangerous.
  7. remnant

    remnant Expert Member

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    You can actually build a structure on the hillside but not with the method of reinforcement you are talking about. You need to construct a sturdy cage first with the roof particularly reinforced with wood and an iron sheet if possible. Then carefully dig a cave for the cage to fit snugly in. After that, you can fill in the details of the room. You have to make sure that the area doesn't have a history of landslides.
  8. jonthai

    jonthai New Member

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    You shouldn't build there. It's a hard work construction. Try finding it another spot with not so much inclination.
  9. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member

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    I wouldn't mind having something that was built into a bank, not a hillside mind you, just a small earth bank, that way it would be sort of underground but only just, the only part visible would be the front and it might be possible to disguise even that.
    I have seen places built in this manner with tyres(tires) forming the walls.
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