Rethink Your Life!
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Kiko Denzer on Art

[Cob] Building permits in NC for any natural building, especially cob?

Samantha Swensen sammyjeans at
Mon May 12 14:24:08 CDT 2008

Hi! We are in the process of readying our site for building our cob house,
which will be large enough at first for a family of 2 + 2 dogs, but then
ultimately (in a few years) big enough for a family of 6. We were hoping to
get building permits and make things all official and be "way-pavers" in our
area, but so far we have been running into brick wall after brick wall to
get permits and ensure people will back what we are doing. We do have an
architect designing for us, but he is not liscensed and doing it mainly as a
favor to us and a learning project as he works toward his green building
cert.  We have had very little luck in communicating with the county, who
have basically told us we ether need to have a licensed contractor doing the
work, or at least have every structural aspect of the house approved and
stamped by a licensed engineer.

  Our question to the listserve is to know if anyone in North Carolina or in
the southeast in general has had any luck getting building permits for any
natural building structures (especially cob, because that is the material we
are working with) large enough for a family residence and by what process
did you go through to get your plans approved and your permits approved?
Also, does anyone know about this supposed code rule that if you build for
less than $30,000 you do not need a permit, regardless of the structure, for
personal residence?  Or any other shortcuts that are still official and
reliable we could follow? The one thing we want to avoid is having someone
tell us later that we have to knock our house down or something. Otherwise,
we don't care at all about permits. We are self-financing as well.  Thanks
for any help you may be able to give!

  Sam & Duncan

Slow down and enjoy the journey.