All ger/yurts can be tailor made to fit any kind of budget. Many builders world-wide offer varieties of the yurt at prices ranging from 2 to 25K. My variations, based on the original Mongolian Ger design, expand the concept to include more people who don't have the 2K.
American made, high end yurts are so well constructed and modern they are getting HUD approval. In English towns residents are overturning municipal codes prohibiting odd looking tent homes. Yurts are a growing option for camping in National Parks and Wilderness areas. They also have an emerging fan base in the sustainable development-green community.
These may be perfect for creative people who want to try something new or they may be an optional shelter for homeless disaster victims in areas full of scrap lumber and salvageable materials. People from all backgrounds and income brackets can build these very comfortable little round home for themselves, and even the lowest end ones are very cute and sturdy.
The first recycled GerTee prototype I built in 2004 merged a ger (yurt) with the American Plains Indian Teepee smoke liner. I also thought the roofring could be replaced with a teepee top design. A few months ago I learned that the Mongolian phrase for being "at home" is gertee.
My GerTees are a very simplified way to erect a cozy, warm, sturdy home in a few hours or a few days. It requires no drilling or any special tools besides maybe a handsaw, screwdriver, scissors, staplegun and a hammer and nails. If you have power tools it goes a bit faster.. and a table saw is a huge help if you need to cut your wall slats out of bigger pieces of wood, but there are other ways around all these challenges.
The idea behind this ger model is that in an emergency it can be made almost entirely out of scraps and later modified with nicer additions, all depending on the needs and finances of the owner.
Step 1: Assets Inventory
The first step is to categorize lists of what we want, what we need, and what is available to us.
Want is determined by what will we be using the Gertee for. Use determines many things. For example, if we want a ger to take camping we will want it lightweight, portable and easy to set up. If we plan to use it as a greenhouse, it will need clear plastic covers. If we plan to live in it all winter, it will need layers of extra insulation and a safe, inside heat/cooking source.
Need is what we arrive at when we think we can't afford the one we want. If we want an extra guest bedroom or a private office/studio in our fenced backyard then we're probably not as concerned about the building costs as someone who wants a place to call home. The most primal human need is for shelter from the storm. There was a time when all humans knew how to provide for their own needs. Adequate housing is not always provided to victims of natural disasters, and large government and NGO operations favor some pretty ugly ways to live. Displaced and homeless people have a lot more options than they may realize.
Availability is the reality of our current situation. Sometimes we may have the money but even then, ready made products are out-of-stock or not exactly what we want. Sometimes there isn't a lot of time to figure out ahead of time what materials we may need to build a temporary shelter. So the very first thing to do after you decide what you want and need is: look around to see what's available, right before your eyes.
Think you're too poor to own one of these?
Gers can be built of sticks, strings, rope and material. The sticks can be thin... the wall poles can be few.. the Mongolian's design is so genious that not one stick or pole carries the load itself... the load rests on a tension rope, evenly distributed into the circle. The walls don't need to be even in height all around, the roof poles don't need to be placed every foot or even two, and the roof cover can be layers of smaller tarps, they don't have to be sewed or glued. the walls can be anything from old tablecloths to blankets. It does not need to be built on a nice deck overlooking a lovely scenic view. It can be right on the ground, on a platform, or it can be built on top of a city skyscraper (wouldn't that be something?) Finding the available land is the biggest challenge to the broke yurt owner, but since yurts are easily made portable they can be moved every 2 weeks as per national park seasonal rules.
A recycled Gertee can cost next to nothing besides the time it takes to scavenge materials and build it. An upscale Gertee can be made the same way, and it can cost whatever you feel like spending. Want French doors and custom woodwork? Want all indoor plumbing and heated floors? Want stained glass windows in the roof and a loft? All this and more is possible, but at some point the cost is not really going into the Gertee itself, not once it has everything it can possibly accomodate.
As a struggling author of obscure political essays, my budget is often more on the low, low end of the scale. I've built three full size Gertees and one 12 inch model Gertee. The first two full sized ones were covered with recycled materials. The one I live in now is the same frame I used in the summer but I added wall slats and purchased new roof and wall materials, and I laid new plywood for the floor.