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Join Us 29 October 4 November 2023

Natural Building Course Details

Take the first step to a sustainable future by learning hands-on natural building skills on our natural building course. Understand the alchemy of how different types of earth work, and do not work together, their potential and limitations.

Have you been dreaming of building your own home? Are you curious how you can build a more sustainable lifestyle? Since 2010, Peter McIntosh has taught more than 300 owner-builders and architects the hands-on practical skills and theoretical principles they need to build and live more naturally and sustainably.

Gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence to build your dream home on our CPD-accredited natural building courses! This year, Peter will be hosting two CPD accredited natural building courses at Sandberg Fynbos Reserve, in Baardskeerdersbos.

Why you should attend: 

Each natural building technique has pros and cons. That is why our natural building course is designed around the principles of understanding earth, how it works and does not work together. You will leave with the theoretical understanding and practical grounding of a range of techniques and materials, so that you are able to make the most appropriate decisions regarding materials and or sustainability once you are ready to begin your project.

Our course is comprehensive and covers a range of materials and techniques based on Peter McIntosh’s professional and personal experience working with these approaches and from having lived off-grid since 1999. Although the course needs to be comprehensive in order to give a feel for the materials you may work with, you will be empowered to be successful and make rational choices whatever the given situation.

Dates for 2023:

  • 26 March 1 April: Natural building course: materials and techniques (7 category 1 SACAP credits) ~ Sandberg fynbos reserve
  • 29 October – 4 November: Natural building course: materials and techniques (7 category 1 SACAP credits) ~ Sandberg fynbos reserve
Building & Design skills you will learn Materials you will work with 
  • Earth theory and earth tests
  • Basic site layout and measuring
  • Passive solar design
  • Foundations
  • Walls
  • Arches
  • Natural plasters
  • Openings
  • Off-grid solar energy design
  • Cob
  • Mud brick/adobe
  • Rammed earth
  • Rock
  • Compressed earth brick (CEB)
  • Straw bale
  • Light earth (straw clay mix)
  • Glass bottle bricks

For more information about these CPD accredited natural building courses simply drop us an email at:

To see what previous participants had to say, visit the Testimonials page; or visit the gallery for photos from our previous courses.


Peter McIntosh

Peter has been building with earth since 1999 and as a result he has gained a unique level of experience and knowledge about the various natural building materials and techniques in South Africa. On a mission to spread the word about natural building, he has been teaching and running natural building courses since 2010 and has honed the craft of transferring the knowledge and practical skills so you leave feeling confident and empowered to start your own project.

Peter walks the talk and he’s been living off-grid and practising permaculture in community living for the same period. We grow as much of our own food as possible, and our home is designed according to passive solar gain with various green technologies that he installed and maintains himself, from solar energy, grey water harvesting, solar food drying and sanitation to name a few.

His passion for sustainability means that he is continually looking for ways to increase his understanding and improve his skill-set, including building with plastic waste and tyres. Recently he’s set his sights on social development and innovation within the industry. He has been working closely with the City of Cape Town on several natural and sustainable building projects in some of the poorest communities in the city.

Who should attend: 

The course is CPD accredited for architectural professionals, but anyone that is interested in sustainability, building their own home and/or with a desire to live more lightly on the planet is welcome.

All that is needed is an eager mind, willing hands and a reasonable level of fitness.


Sandberg Fynbos reserve, Baardskeerdersbos

The property is a CapeNature Stewardship site and dedicated to the preservation of the natural, highly biodiverse and unique Fynbos vegetation. It is located close to the historic town of Elim and Baardskeerdersbos, a picturesque little town situated in a valley 25 km from Gansbaai.

You will enjoy a relaxing stay with breathtaking views of the mountains and stars, and limited cell reception. To unwind after a day’s building activities you can enjoy a swim in the farm dam. On the reserve there are two accommodation options available:

  • A comfortable campsite with self-catering kitchen, three showers and separate flush toilets.
  • Vleiroos cottage is fully equipped with one double – and two single beds available.


You will be provided with hearty vegetarian lunches and two teas daily. You will only need to provide for your breakfasts and dinners (Participants often have a braai at the end of the day). Expect hearty, soul-filled nourishing lunches and teas!Vegetarian sushi_natural building courseCosts:

This 7 day course costs R5500 p/person. You will be provided with vegetarian lunches and two teas daily. Accommodation costs are not included.

Send us the completed booking form via Google forms when you’re ready to book (To book, click on the link and complete the information before submitting the form), or if you’ve got any questions drop us an email at: