Meet the team that’s making cob legal, an interview with members of the Cob Research Institute: 133

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Today’s episode is very important in that there’s a limited window of time for those of you, especially in the USA who care about natural building and want to see cob and other natural building materials legalized and approved by building authorities to help this happen. An incredible opportunity is coming up in the last week of October, which is just over a week from now when members of the Cob Research Institute, some of whom you’ll hear interviewed in a minute, will present a proposal for cob to be included in the ICC/IRC code (international code council/international residential code, the governing body for building standards across the whole country). To gain approval, the proposal will be voted on and this is where you come in. This is your chance to call your local fire marshal or building inspector and voice your support that they vote to approve this measure which would allow legal permitted cob buildings in the USA. You might be new to natural building or you might think that you’d never want a cob house yourself, but if this proposal passes it’s likely to have a ripple effect for the approval of other earthen building materials and alternative building methods in the future for everyone. The guys from the CRI will give more details about how you can help to support this initiative, but if this is all you have time to listen to, just know that you can go to and get specific instructions on how to contact you local building official directly or to put them in contact with the CRI to help get out the vote on this potentially historic advancement for earthen and natural building. Don’t hesitate though. Like I mentioned, the vote will take place during the last week of October, this month, 2019!

In this interview I got to speak to John Fordice, Martin Hammer, and Anthony Dente who have been working for years to compile the data and engineering properties of cob in order to better understand the material and write the proposal to have it approved as a legal building material in the US. Between them they answered a lot of questions about the advantages and limitations of cob, the tests and simulations they’ve done to get proper measurements of its performance and what they recommend to builders who are considering using cob to build their homes. It was such a pleasure for a natural building nerd like me to get to talk to these guys who’ve worked so hard to get verifiable information on the material that got me to fall in love with earthen building in the first place.


Cob Research Institute’s website

Get out the vote campaign and information

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