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NEW BOOK! Cob to Code - The Owner-Builder's Guide to Cob Homes and Building Codes  RSS feed

 
Alex Sumerall
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I just released my new book called "Cob to Code" at http://www.cobbuildingcodes.com for $20.

This is the only Owner-Builder's Guide to Cob Homes and Building Codes!

I wrote this document to help owner-builders, like yourselves, who have dreams of building your own cob homes. I get asked all the time about how to deal with building codes and permits when building a cob house.

In "Cob to Code" I pulled everything together to try and answer all of the questions and concerns I receive on a daily basis about building a cob home according to code.

This is very important information and should be understood by cob builders worldwide.

Here’s what you will get inside:

- Overview of cob construction and building codes
- Learn how the IBC (International Building Code) applies to building with cob
- Alternate Materials and Methods Section of the IBC
- Building permit requirements for both rural and urban jurisdictions
- How to efficiently work within the government’s bureaucratic code system
- Learn how the trailblazers of natural building are working with or without codes!
- Discover the loopholes so you can build without permits or code requirements!
- 20 information packed pages – plus additional resources
- Geographically Specific building code information to help you build your cob home!
- United States (ALL 50 States included!)
- Great Britain
- Canada
- Australia

Get “Cob to Code” now so that you can learn the facts you need to know to build your cob home to code! http://www.cobbuildingcodes.com/



 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Wow, this looks fabulous!  Bump.  I don't know whether I want to build with cob--that is, I don't know whether a) moving somewhere else is better to start or b) staying in the house where I live or c) building anew in this state (MA)--but I think this will get me up to speed about building codes, the daunting and seemingly Kafka-esque endeavor. 

Any reviews of this??
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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This is on my mind because of the Open Source Ecology/Open Building Institute project--a house at $25k but only if codes aren't preventing everything you want to + fees for permits or lawyers
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Posts: 563
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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updated link--http://www.thiscobhouse.com/cob-building-codes/   and the price is dropped to 7.50.  Not advocating for this book but justproviding info and looking for reviews.  Thanks, team!
 
Robert Russell
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I just got and read the e-book from the more recent link in this thread. Really a topic I'm interested in! It's a decent overview of the general state of affairs with natural building and the code, but I didn't find it to be too in depth. I've read through a couple cob books cover to cover, skimmed through anything I could find at the library or bookstore, attended a workshop, and helped build a small backyard shed. For me, I didn't find much new info that's not in the books already. I felt there was more information in the book on why you would want to by bypass the code, and how to bypass it, rather than how to face it head-on if you so desire.

The PDF I received after purchase was only 10 pages, vs the 20 mentioned in the first post here, and it had way less region specific info, and no personal experience/anecdotes. Can't say it was the best investment I've made, but I'm happy to throw a few dollars at any involved in this stuff right now, and other material on that webpage is great.
I absolutely understand the trail blazers in this area had every reason to stay out of view as they figure out how everything works. But now that cob's been decently (re-)discovered in the modern age, I think it has potential to spread beyond the situations where people have an ability to do everything under the radar. There's plenty of examples of people building cob homes for thousands of dollars, and in some cases hundreds. Considering a modern home will most likely be in the hundreds of thousands ballpark, I think there's room to drop tens of thousands of dollars on permitting and engineering, and still come out way ahead financially going the cob route (ignoring all the other benefits of cob). Yes, it's absolutely ridiculous to spend more on permits and bureacracy than the actual activity, but I can only imagine that only has to happen a few times before things become easier for everyone.

I've come across a few references to people who have gone fully legit, but unfortunately nothing very detailed, but mostly its been 1-2 sentences at most, eg: "they got an experimental building permit", or "they paid to have an engineer stamp the plans". I'm curious about so much more, stuff like:
- How was the conversation initiated with the local building department
- Any shortcuts, anything to definitely mention, or definitely not mention
- Do you need to find and  use "natural building" engineers, or will *any* engineer just need to be asked to use the properties of natural materials for standard calculations.

So far the closest thing I've found is these guys
http://www.ecobuilding.org/code-innovations
I think they have absolutely the right idea, just hoping they keep getting more material up. I'm trying to learn as much as I can, and hopefully in the future will be able to contribute a tiny little drop of info to make it slightly easier for the next person.
 
Glenn Herbert
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I have a friend who a couple of years ago was planning to build a cob house in Tioga County, NY. She found an architect who specialized in this, but she would require several thousand dollars for drawings and the stamp. This was out of range for my friend, who is still working on trying to build a permanent dwelling on her land.
 
Robert Russell
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Glenn Herbert wrote:I have a friend who a couple of years ago was planning to build a cob house in Tioga County, NY. She found an architect who specialized in this, but she would require several thousand dollars for drawings and the stamp. This was out of range for my friend, who is still working on trying to build a permanent dwelling on her land.


Certainly too bad for your friend, considering all the examples of cob homes that have been built and provide shelter for less than the cost of stamps and drawings. For me, getting as far as your friend did would be considered a success. Right now I'm paying around $500 per month to rent an apartment in the city. But that cost will continue forever.

A one time cost of a couple thousand dollars, plus some rural land that costs about as much as what most people pay for a new car, and I'd be coming out way ahead - and that's ignoring how much more pleasant cob would be than a decrepit apartment.

I don't mind a one-time hoop jump through bureacracy, fees, and other BS as long as you're left alone afterwards.  What terrifies me are the stories on this site and elsewhere of getting harassed, fined, and having to tear down an already built structure, after the fact, because someone notices or reports you. It's unfortunate, but the area's I'm looking at aren't remote enough to ignore that possibility.
 
Glenn Herbert
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Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
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That was her issue... she couldn't be under the radar, and officials where she lives are apparently strict. It was an architect stamp for $3000+ or nothing. And she didn't have the money for that after buying her land.
 
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