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Steve Ash

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since Jan 04, 2013
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Recent posts by Steve Ash

Max, thank you on behalf of all future potential Maritimers who are looking to build naturally as we are and are at the beginnings of their research efforts.

It was through a search "Straw bale house Maritimes" that we had already found a document that was created on behalf of aforementioned CHMC. The report was from the 2006 Straw Bale Builders Conference Maritimes, found @

This report was compiled by a wonderful lady who is a guest lecturer on Natural Building at the Faculty of Architecture at the Dalhousie University in Halifax.

Due diligence will also offer those interested a list of participants who have built straw bale houses in the Maritimes. From there one would find individuals who have been through the building permit process with alternative buildings. You will notice herein that at this time I will only provide references, and no names. As our research continues and we begin to communicate more frequently with persons who are involved in natural, sustaintinable building in the Maritimes, there will the opportunity to compile a detailed list. We already have the names and introductions to a few builders, engineers and architects to address the permit process.

A reply from a contact at NBCC (New Brunswick Community College) included "even the contractor Paul Arsenault is building a development of passive /zero-energy housing in the Moncton region. Or, you may be interested in contacting someone at the NBCC Moncton campus for further information. I know they often take on planning and drawings for residential projects. (Tel: (506) 856-2220 or 1-888-664-1477, Email: The best departments to contact are: Carpentry, Civil Engineering Technology: Building Systems, Civil Engineering Technology: Architectural or Civil Engineering Technology: Construction Management."

We will be visiting the Falls Brook Centre & the South Knowlesville Eco Village Community Land Trust now - and
The Falls Brook Centre is a sustainable community demonstration and training centre in New Brunswick.

Another interesting response came from a nature organization in NB that also supports the concept of natural, sustainable building.

If one follows the Terra Berma project via FB and view the online CBC report/vid clip, you will find reference to an engineer from Ontario who has "broken ground" with NB building permits.

We also took the opportunity to contact a building inspector directly at rural planning under the new organization title "Regional Service Commission 11" - this is for various counties around Fredericton and Central New Brunswick. One can simply find this currently @

We've also taken the time to search and then to address a few folks who give insights into off the grid living in New Brunswick on the web. We'll be visiting some of them very soon.

There is also a neat web site for environmentalism in NB - see - one can find some topics and local folks who are into sustainable building

Last but not least, here is a hommage to the late Jack Henstridge who lived by Gagetown Village - we met folks from there who told us about Jack and his buildings with plain, old cordwood and mortar. Find articles on Mother Earth News and other sources.

As one can imagine, this is not a project where one goes "to your realtor". We are real people taking "our" time and working on the building of a sustainable, natural dwelling - and we're having joy and fun doing so. We're here in NB from out west on advice from some friends we had out there and who came from Kent county - we are embracing the move to a more natural, slower-paced lifestyle that will fit in wonderfully with our goal to build naturally, grow and store our own produce naturally, and spend "our" time more attuned to our surroundings.

Over the next fortnight we (my partner & myself) will be looking for a down-to-earth home to stay at around the Woodstock - Fredericton back road area. We are now also beginning to shift our focus to finding some property around Fredericton/Woodstock/Central New Brunswick with a spring and/or running water body.

We are full of "ado" and set on taking on the task, efforts and time to build "Canadian style", a free-flowing organic designed "hobbit" dwelling with cob/straw bale and cordwood elements. As I have in the past with other projects, I believe that it is possible to bring in additonal, season-dependent design elements built with recycled materials that will allow for such a dwelling but will also offer protection from the elements of our somewhat frigid Canadian winter. "Canadian-touch" design, and I will add as an auto didact that I will certainly if successful with the building permit include that iconic piece of re-used Duct tape strip ...

So please be patient with replies here over the next fortnight as we are in a "moving process. Regards to you Max, and all others

7 years ago
Hi gentlefolks, we have just arrived in New Brunswick and are asking for a bit of advice from fellow permies in the Maritimes. We wonder whether you have built or know of a hobbit-y style dwelling with cob or a combination of either cob, straw bale, cordwood, stick frame, and are familiar with the building permits for such a dwelling in New Brunswick and the Maritimes?

Could you also name engineers who have experience with alternative building methods, and are thus familiar with the permit process here in the Maritimes? Or possibly you might know of an organization or university faculty which has undertaken such home dwelling building projects in respect to the permit process?

You might also have suggestions on how to build an for some us "aesthetically pleasing" hobbit-y style small-scale dwelling (400-600 sqft.) in respect to a building permit. I trust it could include standard stick/wood to offer structural support "engineered to plan" to pass, and incorporate the various natural materials for the "look-and-feel".

Many of us are acquainted with the various utilised natural building methods discussed in the forums, but we hope that this can act as a reference point for folks as ourselves in the Maritimes who will need to steer through the building permit process, and Canada for that.

"Mille" thanks for any input, peace & regards
7 years ago