We are building a cob home on Vancouver Island. Our foundation is going in early May and we will begin cobbing end of May /early June. We are doing load bearing cob on west, south and east walls and Wood chip clay infill on the north wall to up our R value. We have both built cob before on smaller projects. We are open to having volunteers since we believe its such a huge learning experience for others! As far as permits, we are doing it "legally", applying for a permit and building to code.
We also know a fair amount about earthships and have been Taos (earthship mecca) and also have some friends up here in BC building a code approved earthship ( http://earthship.darfield.com/
) , we have spent some time helping them and learning. We actually we originally planning to do an earthship but because one hasn't been built to code in our area which is a seismic zone we decided we didn't want to take A LONG time to do permits etc
With our cob home we are having it engineered by a specialist in alternative building styles so that will speed up our permit process alot. The biggest hurdle for us most likely will be that we are trying to pass a composting toilet with a septic in place first . Hopefully it goes well!
as far as time frame it is fairly weather dependent especially load bearing because you can't put a roof up first! We are speeding our process up by mixing with a bobcat not the traditional foot mixing method but we have 5 kids so would like to be in sooner than later! We hope to be in by next winter. Our walls will be approx 400 hours of labor, 6 weeks is what we are thinking..
We have a blog that I haven't updated in a while but I will as we build www.canadianfamilyrobinson.com