Cost Update

The last few days I have been compiling the information needed to submit an application for the new housing rebate for GST/HST. Additionally, in British Columbia, we qualify for a rebate on the provincial portion of the HST. Fortunately most of our expenditures occurred during the time that BC was under the Harmonized Sales Tax. Without the provincial portion our claim for the GST rebate came to exactly $322.43.  With the provincial portion (which is right off the top, more generous) our claim comes to approximately $3,000.  We spent about $7000 in taxes, in GST, HST and PST.  The total cost of our earthship (materials and paid labour costs) was just over $70,000.

The summary table below (at least the first 2/3 of it) is organized by categories set out on the GST-HST rebate application. Therefore “framing” is actually the cost of constructing the interior walls.  The rest is pretty self-explanatory.

I have been spreading the word that our home cost $73,000.  I still think this is probably true.  The costs below take us to December 23, 2012 (the day we moved in and the day that ends our claim for expenses under the program).  I suspect even in the list below there are a few items missing. I am sure there are some receipts that never made it to the pile, and we probably paid cash for a few things that came our way…like the odd fixture, etc.  Also, since the end of 2012 we’ve probably spent $900 on supplies as we finish off items on the building permit. I’ve kept these, but they haven’t made the table below yet.

So I think $73,000 is a good number.

None of the numbers below take into account our time. Chris, as an engineer, waived his fee for drawings and inspections (obviously). These could easily amount to $7-15,000 depending on the engineer and where you might purchase plans.

We didn’t factor in our sweat labour.  We have not been working on the earthship full-time since July 1, 2009. Some of you may recall we took entire winters off to do things. Like drive our veggie van around North America. Or just get lots of sleep. Plus, we have both been consulting part-time for paid wages for the last few years.

But that time, if we had to pay others, would be substantial.

We also didn’t factor in volunteer time. Even with the assumption that teaching people slows you down a bit, we definitely came out ahead with volunteer labour. Not only in being able to move projects forward, but in establishing lasting friendships. Priceless.

I do have an excel spreadsheet breakdown of all of the items in the summary. I’m not sure it will make a lot of sense to anybody as it is a listing of expenses by vendors and dates. There are a lot of Home Depots, Rona and Barriere True Value sections.

Here it is!  Some of these items will seem a bit different than I’ve been spouting…there were some receipts that were split across categories and I simply put them in the section where the majority of the expense ruled….

Summary of Costs for The Darfield Earthship
To December   31, 2012
Equipment Rental 385.73
Rocket Stove 1,879.07
Framing 1,481.03
Floor 4,708.39
Plumbing 5,576.22
Electrical 4,183.61
Roof 20,270.83
Windows 14,068.34
Finishes   (stains) 1,415.80
Tool purchases 1,020.28
Permits 2,461.50
Pop cans 200.00
Excavation 6,365.00
Paid Labour 6,475.25