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Nelson Environment Centre; Workshop; Building a Temporary Shelter

I spent a great day on the 6th April at the Nelson Environment Centre who sponsored this event and attracted 17 participants.

I used a bunch of panels that were already built from previous workshops to help the day go smoother and we built an additional 2 wall panels, finished a floor panel and lined and clay-painted another wall panel. A great day had by all with participants coming from as far as Hastings and Christchurch for the event, a group also from Golden Bay came over.
The 'completed' structure as shown is available for sale at cost if anyone wants to kick-start their own pallet project, be quick though as I will have to dismantle and move it all soon if there are no offers. Contact:


Pop Up project

I spent four days in New Brighton again last October 2012, helping with the 'Pop Up' project held over the weekend: 25th to 28th October 2012.

This weekend was to move the PopUp proposal into the building phase, creating the most cunning PopUp Precinct plan Brighton's ever seen, creating the space- integrating the SHAC sub-consent designs into a creative community landscape that, as a transitional space, will make a positive impact on the future use and design of the commercial district.

Some of the New Brighton team plus a whole heap of other volunteers put together a version of the cabin that is in the Pallet book. Some additional volunteering is needed to complete the cabin which is now clad but not lined.

The project was part of the Re-New Brighton 'Pop-Up' project organised by Rebecca May (New Brighton) and Tim Bishop of SHAC in Dunedin, two teams of Auckland Unitec students were also there building two of their 10m2 challenge designs from the SHAC design competition earlier this year. Special thanks to Cathy and Haimona who donated their prefab pallet panels and other materials from the cabin we built for them back in June this year.

A short TV slot featuring the project was played on TV1’s Breakfast program on the 5th December.

Pop-Up Pallet Cabin Pop-Up Pallet Cabin
Pop-Up Pallet Cabin
Pop-Up Pallet Cabin


Past event: 1 day workshop in Nelson at Solabode HQ
Date: Mid JULY, Saturday 21th, 9am to 5pm.

We made some floor, wall and roof pallet panels and did some insulating, lining and clay painting. We also had time to do some assembly on the 5.75m2 building to display at this year’s Ecofest in Mid-August.  For interest in future workshops please respond to I need at least 12 people, cost $50 each including GST.

Pictured (Right)
Nelson workshop group
21st July 2012; part cabin structure built.

Building with Pallets


Building with Pallets and other recycled waste materials, an A4, full colour eBook including a full set of cabin plans on A3 ‘paper’ – is now available via internet download as encrypted PDF file.
Cost for all orders: US$19.95

Photos of a recent workshop event in
Christchurch available to view here.

Pallet Builders


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Organise a workshop in your area and
get your own cabin started for free!

Ideally you need two people, typically a couple, one who can manage and organise, the other who has physical strength and ‘handyman’ skills. A vehicle and trailer or a small truck will also be a necessity. If you want this option allow 4 to 8 weeks of preparation for gathering materials and tools to your site. Also for setting up a decent weather-proof space to store them in and for construction of the prefab panels. You will need to prepare a site for your new cabin and construct a basic foundation - which is usually just some sleepers and concrete pavers. I will help you with lists of tools and materials to assemble and where to get them from.

I will be the tutor for your workshops but you will be the ‘host’. The host organises other people to attend and collects their fees, set at whatever level the host sees fit. The host gets the benefit of a new cabin designed and partly constructed for themselves or their organisation. I provide the design (valued at $1000), customised to your requirements plus 20 hours of personal input, teaching how to put it all together over a Friday discussion evening and a hand’s on Saturday and Sunday. The more people you attract to your event, then the more of your new cabin can be built by others and the less work you will have to do yourselves.

I charge $2000 plus GST plus plane tickets from Nelson and lodgings for a couple of nights. Attendee’s may purchase my Pallet book and instruction video for half price at $10 a download, and I will provide follow up service (at my discretion) to help you finish your cabin. Depending on how elaborate you want your pallet building, allow a few thousand dollars in costs for materials and sub-contractors (EG: electrician), but you could build it for less with resourcefulness. The more people you attract to your workshop and depending upon what you charge, the less your costs and the more like-minded people you will meet who might be interested in helping you finish the cabin for the learning experience.

Contact for more info.

Monday, 07 May 2012

Greetings fellow Garbage Warriors!
Just a quick update for those new to this list, a lovely group of people whom I met at the SHAC seminar/workshop last week at CPIT in Christchurch, welcome to this newsletter and please feel free to update me with developments of your own work.
I can now report that the New Brighton Workshop has been confirmed for Friday 8th to Sunday 10 June. Cathy Sweet is host and organiser for that and is looking at getting funding to reduce fees for attendees. We will be making prefab floor, wall and roof assemblies and erecting part of a cabin on the Sunday. A follow up workshop may happen to complete the cabin. Contact Cathy at: or phone: 03 3888541

There seems to be enough interest for the Nelson Workshop to be held at the end of June,
so I will be looking for funding paths for that one too. I will keep you all posted.


Monday, 23/04/2012

Greetings fellow pallet building enthusiasts!
I have compiled a contacts list of everyone who has expressed interest in a Pallet Building workshop or some other collaborative effort. In order to coordinate progress with everyone ‘in the loop’ I will send out periodic newsletters such as this. Please indicate if you wish to be removed from these mail outs, thanks.

Current work: I am building a 15m2 room under my (pole) house for Wwoofer accommodation, it has a floor and walls made from pre-fab pallet assemblies with Latitude wool insulation (I had left over) and hessian carpet lining finished with a white clay slip paint made by Solid Earth Ltd. The wall panels will finish being erected on Anzac day and the whole project should be finished in a few weeks. I am posting photos on my facebook page.

Upcoming Events: SHAC: Workshop on Micro-Architecture, Temporary Architecture, Simple Buildings, Reuse of Materials
2-3 May 2012, CPIT Student Centre, Christchurch. As part of this I will be doing a short workshop where we will build a few pallet assemblies. Register at

Possible Upcoming Events: 3 day workshop at New Brighton Community Centre, Christchurch; 8-10 June 2012. Please contact Cathy Sweet: to express your interest.

Potential Upcoming event: 3 day workshop in Nelson at Solabode HQ. Possible dates: Mid to late May or mid to late June. Please respond to this notice to express interest, I need at least 10 people, cost $150 plus GST each.

Contact Ecotect - All emails replied to within 24 hours; Please also check your Spam folder.
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