Trying to figure out the code and how it applies to your cordwood dream home?  Here is a personal message from a cordwood builder in Ontario.

This is what worked for us in South Western Ontario. The building inspector here at the time (16 years ago) was not interested in alternative building. We offered him this book and he turned up his nose at us.” Get an engineer to stamp the drawings and I don’t care what you do”.  -Lisa   When the new building code official was hired, he was able to work with the book Cordwood and the Code: A Building Permit Guide.

[Click on the book cover to learn how to order.  It also comes as an ebook.]

Here is a link to the planning commission of New Brunswick suggesting methods to obtain code approval.

“Straw bale, cordwood, slipform masonry, earthbag, Earthships and tiny homes: naturally, no building inspector in her or his right mind is going to approve any of these builds, right?”

The National Building Code of Canada (NBC) doesn’t necessarily say “no” to alternate builds, even though “cordwood” is not a word you will find in the hundreds of thousands of words in the NBC. What follows is an outline of alternate building techniques and how they mesh with the requirements of Code. This should be considered nothing more than a general guideline, and anyone considering a non-traditional build must consult with the authority having jurisdiction with specific questions, or for interpretations of the Code as it applies to their project and area.

New Brunswick Dwelling Permit structures

First off, New Brunswick has an interesting legal framework for building and construction. Under current provincial regulations (Regulation 2021-02, clause 8), those living in rural areas may be able to construct a small residential structure of up to 603 square feet of occupied space – a camp, essentially – without having to meet building codes. (Note this 603 square feet is not the footprint alone; so, for example, loft spaces are included in the calculation of area.)

What does this mean?

Residential dwellings of 603 square feet or less in many unincorporated areas of New Brunswick (ie: camps or tiny homes) can be constructed with nothing more than a development permit, and do not have to meet the standards of the National Building Code. The building will still have to conform to provincial or regional setback regulations, waterways or wetland setback regulations, and the requirement for on-site septic systems. There may also be rural “planning statements” that control placement.

It may be time to make a phone call and see if this pertains to you?

Some pictures of cordwood construction in Canada.

Bruce Lord’s double-wall cordwood home in the Peace River Valley.

A double-wall cordwood home built with Western Red Cedar. This beauty is on Vancouver Island off the coast of British Columbia, Canada.

The Cordstead near Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Clint and Cindy Cannon’s beautiful double wall cordwood and strawbale home in Manitoba, Canada.

Interested in learning more?  Visit and click on each of the 9 pictures to learn more about his old fashioned method of building.

Should you get interested and want to build one that is warm and energy-efficient?  Want to learn from others mistakes and not have to repeat them?   Then you should get a copy of Cordwood Construction Best Practices.

Click on the picture below to find out how.  


Click on a picture to find out how to order these best practices books and videos.