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Natural Building Intensive

We will not be running any programs in 2023

Our Program

High impact people making low impact buildings

Our one-month natural building workshop intensive puts you at the heart of a natural building project. The program is designed to give you hands-on experience with a wide range of building materials, systems and strategies. We will undertake a small-scale project that ensures you get to experience all stages of making an eco friendly house, from foundation to final finishes.

Group shot of students in front of building still under construction

You will learn about the design and construction of modern natural buildings, using materials sourced from the local environment to create a healthy, affordable and energy efficient eco friendly house.

You will work with teachers and practitioners who are leaders in the field and work with fellow participants who are motivated and enthusiastic

The learning experience suits the seasoned building professional and the excited newcomer alike. The diversity of students in our classes creates a unique atmosphere of cooperation, shared learning and partnership.

You will tour natural buildings in the Peterborough area and meet with builders and homeowners in the region.

Whether you are looking to build a small backyard project or incorporate natural building materials into code-approved buildings, you’ll find your learning supported in the natural building workshop intensive.

Reviews From Our Students

I participated in the one-month Natural Building Intensive with the Endeavour Centre and absolutely loved my experience! I really appreciated that the learning was geared towards all level, and no one felt left out. Being a beginner myself with no experience in construction, I enjoyed the first days of classroom learning to be introduced to the different natural materials/concepts and the building science behind it. I absolutely loved that the rest of the course was all hands-on experience where we got to physically learn the different stages of building with these natural and healthy materials. All the teachers were highly knowledgeable and very kind and patient; explaining and demonstrating what needed done depending on our level. We had a wonderful group where everyone got along and supported each other, it was such a great atmosphere and very motivating. I learnt so much by using the different tools and being part of the whole building process! It gave me the confidence to pursue a job contract in construction and do a few natural building contracts. I plan to apply some of the natural building concepts I learned and my new skills to the tiny home I wish to build this year. I would highly recommend this program to anyone looking to gain knowledge and skills in the natural building world!

Melanie Hotte

I have done a lot of research into natural building and very often my research led me to the work that Endeavour does. I was thrilled to find out that they were local to Peterborough. I participated in their 1 month natural building intensive. From the theoretical introduction to sustainable home design to the practical rendering of strawbale walls that we built; the information provided was delivered with so much passion, experience, and humor. The environment was supportive and people from all backgrounds found the practical skills development so rewarding. I learned so much and was left so inspired. I highly recommend the Endeavour center and the teachers Annie, Dave, and Chris!

Louis Stoltz

From an experienced builder and carpenter’s perspective, the course met my expectations and needs. I got the hands-on experience to complete my skill set to build my own timber frame straw bale house. By showing me the traditional alternatives that are not often found in the big box stores, it reinforced my desire to stop using and being exposed to toxic materials also, the course filled in the gaps in my training and education in regards to building science so that I can make high-performance envelopes from here on. I enjoyed the format and flow of the course. There was a good distribution of in-class and hands-on time and site visits. I was surprised that we could use multiple type of insulation and wall systems in the same building, a practice not common to the residential building industry. The course setting was appropriate since Peterborough is a beautiful town with lots to do and explore after and in between the classes. It is also host and near many natural buildings Based on the nature and pace of the course, I think that the course is well adapted for experienced builders such as myself that care about the environment and the health of the occupants. It is also a good intro for people that are motivated do-it-yourselfers who will take the time to experiment on their own before going full scale.

Jean-Francois Brodeur

REGISTRATION for this program is closed


Join us for an experience that will give you the skills to tackle your own natural building projects!

LOCATION: Peterborough

DATE: August 1st- 31st, 2022

FEE: $1,900 CDN plus HST


Program Overview

two women covered in plaster
Man plastering

Job Site Experience

Hands on experience makes up a big part of your experience. You’ll participate in a complete range of job site experiences, including:

  • Building structural systems, including foundation, walls and roofs
  • Creating energy efficient building enclosures, achieving airtightness and avoiding thermal bridges
  • Installing healthy, natural finishes
  • Effective job site teamwork and cooperation
  • Construction site safety and awareness

theory modules

You will get a theoretical grounding in design and building science for natural materials during our daily on-site “white board” sessions:

  • Design for natural materials
  • Building science for natural building systems
  • Material sourcing and assessment

This course is for you if:


You are a construction or design professional seeking a practical and inspiring approach to shifting your practice in a more sustainable direction.


You are graduating from a construction or design program and want real world experience to build on your green building education.


You want to build your own eco friendly house to the highest possible standards and get it right the first time.


You have no previous building experience but you want to learn about sustainable building materials and techniques on a real-world project.



Have a look at these FAQs for our Natural Building Intensive or check out our general FAQs

Does the course fee include accommodation and/or meals?

No. Endeavour does not directly offer or provide accommodations or meals. We can offer support and leads for your accommodation needs, but all arrangements and costs are your responsibility.

Are there any prerequisites for this program?

No. We accept participants with any level of building experience, from seasoned pros to keen newcomers. Our learning environment is designed to support you regardless of your prior experience. If you are motivated to learn, we want to help you on your individual path.

Do I need construction experience to take the program?

No. We accomodate beginners who have never worked on a construction site. Newcomers to building will have a steep learning curve, but one on which we will fully support you to develop your “building chops.”

Will I get a certificate after this program?

Successful graduate are given a certificate of completion at the end of the program.

CAN I GET COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY CREDIT FOR the sustainable building & design PROGRam?

Participants of Endeavour programs and workshops have successfully received credit at public and private post-secondary institutions. Arrangements and approvals must be obtained in advance by the participant, and Endeavour will support your efforts with information as required by your institution.

What is the cancellation policy for this program?

If the program is canceled due to covid-19 you will receive a full refund.

If you need to cancel your participation in this program:

  • The deposit fee is non-refundable
  • Cancellations 4 weeks prior to the start date of the program will be refunded in full minus the non-refundable deposit and a $500 processing fee
  • No refunds for cancellations less than 4 weeks prior to the start date
  • Refunds will not be issued after the commencement of the program


Do you provide a payment plan or financial aid?

We do not currently have any internal form of financial aid for attending Endeavour programs. While we would love to be able to offer support, we are a small, not-for-profit organization and our programs are priced as affordably as we can manage.

Some participants have been able to apply funding from a variety government and training programs to attend this course, but all arrangements and prequalifications for such funding are the responsibility of the participant.


We accept and welcome participants from anywhere in the world, and our fees are the same for all participants. To date, people from 20+ countries have attended Endeavour and we love the knowledge and cultural exchanges that happen when participants come from other places!

For those coming from outside Canada, all travel arrangements, visas and other requirements are your responsibility. We can provide letters of registration and fee payment if required for visas.

Please note that due to travel restrictions because of the pandemic, we may not be able to accept international students in 2020/2021.

What tools will I need?

Please see our required tool list for the most recent list of requirements.

Who are the project clients for whom we build?

Our Natural Building Intensive students put in a great deal of time and effort to complete projects for our clients, and we are respectful of this fact. We prioritize projects that serve a community function and provide exceptional educational experiences for our participants. Our ideal client is a not-for-profit organization needing a building that serves the public interest. When we build for private clients, the resulting building serves a local need like affordable housing or densification. All our projects are selected for the educational opportunities they offer for our participants.

Please check out our past projects to see the types of partnerships and buildings we choose for this program.

Is the program full time? What are the hours?

Yes. The Natural Building Intensive is a full time program. We operate Monday to Friday from 8 am to 5 pm for construction days and 9 am to 4 pm for classroom days. We observe all statutory holidays. It is not possible to participate in the program part-time.

How do I find housing for the program?

Each participant is responsible for their own accommodation arrangements. Most participants use Kijiji, Facebook and other online resources to seek appropriate places to stay. We will assist with contacts and to help coordinate shared accommodations with other participants.

Is there a minimum attendance requirement for this program?

Participants are expected to be in attendance for the majority of the program hours in order to receive a certificate of completion.

We are able to accommodate time off on a case-by-case basis. You can coordinate time off with the lead instructor.

WHO IS A TYPICAL STUDENT in this program?

We don’t really have a “typical” student at Endeavour! Our participants range in age, ability, experience, gender, race, nationality and any other categorical definition.

Endeavour participants are united by a strong desire to learn and grow and by a commitment to building a better future for people and the planet.

Is there a minimum age requirement for this program?

Yes. Participants must be 18 or older for this program.

Do I need a car for this program?

Not necessarily. We attempt to find projects located for accessibility by bike and public transit whenever possible, and try to arrange for car pooling among participants for projects that are less accessible.

Please check to see where the program will be located to have a better understanding of the transportation requirements.

Our jobsites include a tool lockup so that you will not be required to travel with your tool kit on a daily basis.

Can this program contribute hours toward my Red Seal apprenticeship?

Yes. Our participants have been able to log hours toward the completion of apprenticeship requirements. You will be required to track your hours according to your apprenticeship requirements and have your instructor sign off on a weekly basis.

We have been able to sign off on hours retroactively for graduates who have decided to pursue an apprenticeship after the program.

Do I need insurance to take this program?

For Canadian students: We strongly suggest that you carry a personal insurance policy that provides coverage for short-term and long-term injury and disability. If you decide not to carry such a policy, we will ask you to sign a waiver indicating that you acknowledge our advice to carry such a policy and have knowingly declined to do so.

For international students: We require that you carry medical insurance that will cover you for accidents and injuries that occur during trades training. We also strongly suggest that you carry a personal insurance policy that provides coverage for short-term and long-term injury and disability. If you decide not to carry such a policy, we will ask you to sign a waiver indicating that you acknowledge our advice to carry such a policy and have knowingly declined to do so.

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