How about an ARC made with Heart? An ARC that you do most of the work on yourself?
SO you understand how everything works and feel confident fixing or changing it? An ARC that those with more human then cash capital to invest. Our inputs of time, energy, heart and mind will truly make the arc ours not only in the legal and physical sense but in the spiritual and emotional sense as well.
A HARC has 4 stages of development.
Stage 1: Foreplay- the arrangements of legal, financial and construction plans. This the stage were everything from location to building details get assessed and planned. All needed permits are acquired and so on.
Stage 2: The opening ceremonies- the actual ground breaking and frame building. This is the erection of the shell. When done it has running water (maybe just to 1 area), heat (can be done as part of stage 3, depending on when and how the ARC owners plan to move in), floor and roof. This stage is done mostly by professionals- under watchful care of the HARC owners.
The HARC is now in habitable at any time.
Stage 3: Let the games begin- the family takes over the HARC and with an average of 2-4 days of hands on learning time per specialty (plumbing, wiring, indoor wall building, ect), that is working as apprentice laborers, the HARC owners learn all the skills and then do all the work (assuming of course that the specialists are on call for questions). This phase is rapid at first- getting to a stage of easy living and then diminishes as the immediate need to get things done decreases.
In this stage we add wiring, plumbing, kitchen, and all other utilities. We also add walls and basic floor and wall coverings. The emphasis is on what works and what is easily maintainable.
Stage 4: Finishing- this is longest and most drawn out stage. I don't ever really expect this stage to be over until someone wants to sell the HARC to another party. But finishing means adding things that make it pretty or things seen as "necessary" by those in the house selling business. It can also mean making improvements of any and all details in the arc. More accurately this stage should be called "the detail work."
Ideally the HARC will be inhabitable with about $100,000 investment in cash, verses the prefinished ARCs going for $300,000. And of course, it will not only shelter you, feed you, recycle your water, but also teach you (and your children) many useful and needed skills.