About Us

The School of Natural Building (SNaB), which is the first of its kind in the UK, was established in August 2014 by social entrepreneurs, Barbara Jones & Eileen Sutherland.

About Barbara Jones

Barbara is the founder of SNaB (@schoolofnaturalbuilding), and the UK’s preeminent straw-bale building authority. She has decades of experience with straw bale building, clay and lime plastering, building physics and leading work on building sites across the UK and Europe. Barbara set up Straw Works, now Wellspring Architecture, which is a bespoke design company specialising in buildings made of straw and other healthy natural materials. The original Straw Works website now acts as a resource and directory of information. Barbara’s book, ‘Building with Straw Bales; A Practical Manual for Self-Builders and Architects‘ is considered the essential guide to building with straw, and Barbara brings a wealth of knowledge and practical experience to every course she teaches.


The School

Natural Building is an artisan craft. It involves intuition as well as skills, knowledge, technique and experience. However, most people can grasp it, as it is essentially common sense combined with practice.

Our courses are open to everyone whether or not you want to follow the full training programme. If you’d like to attend a course and not apply for SNaB, please check the website for dates and contact us at schoolofnaturalbuilding@gmail.com to make a booking.

Community Business

The School of Natural Building is a BenCom (or Community Benefit Society – CBS) and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Registration number 7284.

Our aim is to offer educational and training services for anyone interested in natural building, particularly for women and others traditionally excluded from the construction industry, and to raise awareness about the benefits of using natural materials in the built environment and for artistic and therapeutic purposes.

As a BenCom, we reinvest profits back into the business in order to benefit the community we are set up to serve. As much of our work is done voluntarily, if you work, want to work, or simply have an interest in natural building, joining as a member helps to support this network. You can read more about SNaB Membership and sign up here.

SNaB is managed by a board of directors and committee members. You can learn more about how we operate here.

Our Values


to encourage ourselves, others and institutions to do things we never thought we could, to be more than we thought we were, to take responsibility for ourselves and our world and push the boundaries of what we thought was possible.


to use what is enough, and no more. To live, work, design, build and teach with an awareness of and respect for the harmony of nature and our place within it. To use natural and low-embodied energy materials and systems, ensuring continuation without greed.


to truly believe in what we are doing, and why. To be full of enthusiasm for our choices, decisions, actions and direction.


to enjoy what we do, be lighthearted, humorous, playful, and to encourage others to be so too.

Equality and Diversity Policies

Click these links to see our Policies in pdf format:

Equal Opportunities Policy

Dignity at Work Policy