For over 45 years, we’ve been teaching people how to build, renovate, general contract, or simply how to live well in their homes.

We take a common-sense approach toward teaching and building, integrating timeless, traditional techniques and tools with cutting-edge knowledge and technology.

Shelter Institute offers a wide variety of courses ranging in length and hands-on opportunity. In our classes we take apart the building process and teach each step individually.


We offer several types of housebuilding classes to serve your needs. View our Course Offerings to see a complete list of what we offer or view our Schedule to see what we're offering in the coming year.

Our most popular courses are the two-week Design Build Class, which covers everything you need to know about homebuilding, whether you’re starting new or renovating old and our Purely Post & Beam Class, which is a hands-on building classdesigning, measuring, marking, cutting, fitting, and erecting a whole 24'x24' timberframe. We recently added an online version of the Purely Post & Beam Class so that students can access the knowledge without leaving their home. Our Contract-It-Yourself course teaches the details to help you plan, budget, and schedule a successful construction project.

Students can receive credit toward college degrees, teacher certification, and real estate certification through our Design Build and Purely Post & Beam classes. Many of our courses qualify for tax credit and state or VA job training reimbursement programs.

We offer dozens of free information classes or weekend workshops throughout the year, so visit our website often, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, join our mailing list, or subscribe to our blog to receive updates on our schedule.

Join the thousands of Shelter Institute graduates building and maintaining their dream homes!

“Graduates leave knowing how to do something most Americans only dream about doing: build a house.” Time Magazine

"I learned more in the Design Build Class at Shelter Institute than in my Seven Years of College and Graduate School." Graduate Evie Weinstein

Recent Graduate's Project
Our Graduates go out into the world and build!

David took our Purley Post & Beam Class in 2015 and spent several months cutting his frame with hand tools before assembling his barn. 

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Changes to ASHRAE Ventilation Standard
Isaac Asimov wrote "Science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom." We have seen this play out countless times in residential construction: double pane windows with seals that failed within a few years creating 'obscurred glass', vapor barriers installed on the wrong side of the wall ... READ MORE