How SNaB Works

How does the training work?

There are two stages, stage one focuses on practical building and stage two is about extending your learning into other areas and/or into the infrastructure surrounding building skills. You will have the opportunity to decide which aspect you are interested in at your interview, this will denote which stage(s) you will take part in.

Stage One

Practical Building (PB).  For people who want to work for and with others, or simply have an interest in the subject.  You will be required to undertake the following

 2 weeks Strawbale Building (SB) training                                       £650 (£65 per day)

2 weeks Clay Plaster (CP) training                                                     £650

2 weeks Lime Plaster (LP) training                                                    £650

3 days Car Tyre  Foundations (CTF)  training                                  £195

Followed by volunteering on our building sites for 1 week in each subject except for CTF when the requirement is 3 days.

There is no requirement to follow the courses in any particular order, so that you can fit them around your own commitments, but we suggest that you begin with a course in strawbale building.

This stage also includes attendance at the following 4 core courses twice (but only paid for once) in order to gain the theoretical knowledge needed

Preparing to Build with Bales (PBB)                                                    £55

The First Straw (FS)                                                                                 £45

Essential Plasters (EP)                                                                            £45

Design & Details (DD)                                                                             £45

Again there is no requirement to take these courses in any particular order, but we suggest you start with PBB followed by FS, and you may find it 4401.LookOut build - Barbara and Conrad.jpg-580x0useful to take the theoretical courses before the practical ones, and then take them again (for free) after you have completed all your practical courses.

An essential part of any practical skill is building up experience and learning how to deal with different issues that present themselves on a building site. Therefore part of the training is to work for a minimum of 3 weeks in each subject at a trainee rate on one of our sites in order to build up your experience, or until we mutually agree that you are ready to progress to the next stage as a builder.

Total Cost for Stage One = £2,335

Some courses may be advertised at short notice because we work with self-builders who may not be able to give a long lead-in time. We will advise all trainees of courses by email as they are finalised.

Stage Two

Professional Development (PD): This is an optional part of the training.  All three PD courses are 2 days long

Introduction to  Presentation & Training skills: For people who ultimately would like to teach natural building skills.

Self-Employment: For people who want to set up their own natural building business.

An Introduction to Project Management: For people who want to manage builds or projects.

Each two-day course costs £130

 Total Cost for Stage Two – £390

 Other courses

 Sometimes we offer carpentry & green woodworking/coppicing courses. Keep an eye on the website if you are interested in these areas.

 Pricing and Discounts

If you opt to pay the whole fee in advance you will get 10% discount, making the balance for Stage 1 £2,101.50 .

 If you prefer to make monthly payments over 1 year these would be £194.28 per month or you can Pay as you Go.

The cost for each trainee will vary depending on your training path and previous experience.

Your learning contract will detail your programme and its costs tailored individually for you, taking into account any exemptions you may have due to previous experience.

Should you decide to discontinue your training with us you will be required to pay any outstanding costs.

Payment for food, travel and accommodation during your training period is your own responsibility, although if we can help with this e.g. by offering cheaper communal accommodation or camping we will do.

Case Study and Portfolio

You are required to submit a written piece of work towards the end of your practical training.  This will be a piece of written work with a minimum of 2,000 words.  The case study can be on any of the natural building projects you have worked on with Straw Works and the content should be mixed mode in that it should contain photos, video, prose, graphic representations, reflections etc.

It’s very useful for your learning that you have a chronological record of at least one of the builds you have worked on while at SNaB. You can learn so much from looking back at the scheduling of a build and /or at the details ie how did the windows go in, how was the third coat of lime plaster finished etc.

It’s also helpful to keep a log or learning diary as you go. There are always things of interest on a build to note down and you never know it may just become your first non-fiction book one of these days! If you’d like a template for your diary or more guidance for your case study please email


Currently our training is accredited by the substantial reputation of Barbara Jones and Straw Works, however, we are also working with recognised accreditation organisations to develop a Europe –wide external accreditation.   In view  of this we urge you to keep your records/diary up to date so that it can be of use in this context in the future .