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[Cob] New to cob; particular question re: bringing electricity to a cob structure

philmoulton at philmoulton at
Sat Nov 22 03:37:44 CST 2008

Please keep us in the loop on your progress.
We are planning on the same direction.
Currently have a cabin in Otis we have relocated to but the site is not healthy and not sunny so are planning another move to Eugene or Bend areas.

Have found that the few Cob structures that are houses that are "legal" have a post and beam structure and has to be signed off by a structural engineer and quite a cost. Even cob cottage has not "yet" built one but I understand they are planning to do so in 2009.

Have also found no help or replys from Cob Cottage and find that this coblist is probably the best we can hope for. There are a few people who have cob knowledge but most of those we have attempted to contact have not replied either. Seems there is more interest in building cob houses in Africa then here.

Best option is to find property with existing power and septic and "remodel" it without telling anyone.
There was a bill that did not pass that would have allowed any "remodel" less then 35k to NOT require a permit and the problem is to connect power you Need to have a electical permit which of course requires a building permit.

There are permit requirements on the books for strawbail but they too require a post and beam in most cases.

We are still hoping to do cob but it may end up to be a "garden room" that we happen to sleep and cook in a lot.

Phil and lilpony

philmoulton at

-------------- Original message -------------- 
From: "Andrew John Martinson" <andrew05 at> 

> Hello, 
> My wife and I are researching alternative living/building with the aim of 
> building a small cob cottage in Oregon's mid-Willamette valley. She has 
> experience building with cob at her school in Portland, and my intention is to 
> take some classes in cob construction (to augment what I've been learning from 
> books, the web, etc) through Cob Cottage Company. 
> Of the myriad questions I have, one has to do with bringing electricity to a cob 
> structure. Though we are considering (and trying to learn more about) solar PV, 
> wind, microhydro, etc., we realize that we may want to have utilities to our 
> property. I believe that bringing municipal utilities such as electricity to a 
> building and site invites beurocracy and expense, but could anyone give me A) a 
> rough (or specific) charge for such a hookup, and/or B) anecdotal experience of 
> such an effort? Perhaps if we purchased land with a pre-existing structure that 
> was wired (and plumbed) we could renovate that electrical system to bring power 
> to the cob structure. 
> Thank you. 
> Andrew 
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