Building with Cob 3: Architect Reply

Posted on

I know it's been a while since I have posted, but this past week has been rather busy. The good news is that I have heard back from both the City and the local alternative materials architect regarding the project that I have been determined to get approved. So, let me give you a quick breakdown of how the project is moving along.

The City Reply
In our last episode, the city had passed on my initial request to the Planning and Zoning board to see if the project itself could be considered. This is because certain codes were put in place after my covered patio in the back were constructed, and could present a problem.

The final word on this was that the planning and zoning specialist that I had contacted last week needed to consult with some other specialists to determine if this could be possible. In the midst of that conversation, I learned that extending the covered area would be a problem. This means that my covered greenhouse section has become a problem, and I am unable to complete that particular project. No matter, I will come up with another project on that front. It will, in fact, simplify the porch project, and give me more garden area.

Also, the use of cob as a building material was placed on the condition of an engineers report from the State of Utah. As I am unaware of any engineering reports within Utah, I contacted a local alternative materials architect to see if they were aware of any reports of that nature. That is where it was left with the City.

The Architect Reply
Today, I received a reply from the architect, Angela Dean. Here is her reply:

"Hello Jeremy,
It sounds like an interesting project. I know permitting cob can be problematic, and most build without permits. I would wonder though, if you are not using the walls structurally, why the city would have any concerns? I would be happy to chat with you to find out more about the project and input I could give."

So, she pointed out that there shouldn't be an issue with the walls regardless, and that I may not even need a permit. So, there is a way out should I keep running into that particular wall with the city on the particular building material.

So why don't I just keep quiet and build it anyway? Keep in mind my original goal with this project. I wanted to make the process of permitting the constructional use of cob as a building material easier, should anyone else wish to build their own home using cob. Why? Well, the first answer is selfish: I want to eventually build my own home with cob on a future farm that I have been planning for most of my life. The second answer is more altruistic: I want to provide the option to others that may want to build their $200,000 home themselves for about $4,000. And finally, the last answer is also selfish: The farm I want to build is going to house several building styles, all from the Ancient world. But that is a subject for another post.

So, that is the progress so far. I will be talking with the architect again for a quick consultation, and see what we can find out. As I get more information, I will post the progress.