MSC Naturally

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by MSC Naturally's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from MSC Naturally is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.mscnaturally.com

BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | NORTHWOOD ST ALBANS
As prices have soared and the problem
of getting on the property ladder for
first-time buyers intensifies, politicians
seem to be tinkering with the market.
Whether this is disincentivising
investment landlords to enter the
market, proposed rent controls or
introducing Help to Buy schemes
which can actually push up prices,
these actions do not address the key
issue – a lack of supply.
Planning controls and regulations need
to be overhauled to make it easier
and quicker for developers to identify
suitable land and seek approval. This
does not mean that developers be
allowed to ride roughshod over Green
Belt land left, right and centre, but
with only 5.9 per cent of the UK being
built on, we must be able to identify
more areas available for development.
The undersupply of social housing
and greater investment in affordable
homes must also come under scrutiny.
The National Housing Federation,
which represents housing associations,
says England needs about145,000
new social homes every year, but in
2018 only 6,000 social rented homes
were built.
The role of housing minister should
also be moved from a junior to a key
cabinet position. The revolving door of
18 ministers since 2000 can seem as if
the post is just a springboard to one of
the bigger jobs in government, which
can only result in constant interruption
to implementing housing strategy.
The crisis in the property sector is
becoming more and more acute, much
like with the NHS, education and others.
It would certainly benefit from taking
the strategy out of the five-year election
cycle and setting up greater cross-party
co-operation to ensure a long term,
coherent plan can be adopted for
decades to come. The question here
is whether this is a feasible, or indeed
a remotely realistic, prospect in the
political climate oftoday.
In spite of the challenges, Northwood
St Albans will continue to identify new
opportunities to expand the business
over the next five years, whether this
is through new revenue streams or
further acquisitions, and we certainly
look forward to more prosperous
timesahead.
According to
Land Registry,
house prices
have increased
over 317 per
cent in the last
20 years
A strong team dynamic
is key to our success
33MSC NATURALLY |
HOUSING
Managing Director
MalcolmCarrington
Medieval hall restored with
traditional materials
MSC Naturally manufactures and supplies natural building
materials across East Anglia. Managing Director
Malcolm Carrington tells
The Parliamentary Review
that
this is not the limit of his team’s capabilities, however, as the
firm also repairs, renovates and constructs properties using its
own products. Malcolm discusses the broad range of projects
that MSC can undertake and discusses the development of the
BETTABLOK system.
The first half of my career was spent in forestry, working on agricultural fencing,
coppice, sawmilling, traditional oak timber framing and using natural building
techniques involving native hardwoods. This changed when we were taken on
to renovate a run-down house which was originally constructed in 1490. To
complete this project, we used only the techniques which were used at the time of
its original construction, and when it came to the infill, I was reticent about using
modernblocks.
I looked into alternative techniques, focusing on wattle and daub, and at that time,
I met some people from Norfolk who were well versed in these methods. We soon
got together and established a group called EARTHA, which works to champion
and co-ordinate individuals across the country who are passionate about preserving
earth buildings and traditional construction methods. Together, we devised a new,
effective mix which I then applied to my own house.
Now, my work consists of helping people to preserve their earth buildings through
traditional construction techniques. We use locally sourced raw materials, such
as chalk and clay, to produce wattle and daub and traditional earth blocks.
FACTS ABOUT
MSC NATURALLY
»Managing Director:
MalcolmCarrington
»Established in 1985
»Based in Huntingdon
»Services: Traditional
construction and restoration
»No. of employees: 3
MSC Naturally
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
34 | MSC NATURALLY
More recently, we have developed
BETTABLOK, an interlocking earth-
based building block.
A philosophy based on
tradition
Our philosophy is simple when it
comes to restoring buildings: if it
wasn’t there in the first place, why
should we put it there now. Despite
the age of these traditional techniques,
they are still effective for achieving
current standards, and we work to
combine these methods with the
contemporary need for functional
buildings with effective insulation.
These dual purposes have been
brought together to form BETTABLOK,
which also benefits from being quicker,
more efficient and cleaner than many
other construction techniques.
Our planet is enormous but fragile. We
humans have evolved, prospered and
used our planet relentlessly, using its
systems, raw materials, vegetation and
other creatures for our own needs. We
are now beginning to realise the effect
our actions have had and will have in
the future.
We are all looking for solutions,
whether this be through cutting
emissions or finding ways to adapt our
lives to help our planet. I have felt this
strongly and increasingly over the years
and have slowly developed a business
that can work in this new world. MSC
Naturally Ltd is the latest development
of that thinking.
We use methods and materials of the
past when mankind was more closely
aligned with nature but also use very
modern methods and equipment to
turn this theory into practice. After I
retired in 2012, I began to focus on
this more closely, and after four years
of work, we had perfected the mixing,
casting and handling of the materials
we use. We have also developed our
expertise in training new employees
with the skills and knowledge to build
in this way.
Promoting change in our
industry
We face many hurdles which we must
jump over. Asking the construction
industry to change direction is not
easy, and often when we have to
Earth-built pizza place
and oven
Despite the
age of these
traditional
techniques,
they are still
effective for
achieving
current
standards
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
34 | MSC NATURALLY
More recently, we have developed
BETTABLOK, an interlocking earth-
based building block.
A philosophy based on
tradition
Our philosophy is simple when it
comes to restoring buildings: if it
wasn’t there in the first place, why
should we put it there now. Despite
the age of these traditional techniques,
they are still effective for achieving
current standards, and we work to
combine these methods with the
contemporary need for functional
buildings with effective insulation.
These dual purposes have been
brought together to form BETTABLOK,
which also benefits from being quicker,
more efficient and cleaner than many
other construction techniques.
Our planet is enormous but fragile. We
humans have evolved, prospered and
used our planet relentlessly, using its
systems, raw materials, vegetation and
other creatures for our own needs. We
are now beginning to realise the effect
our actions have had and will have in
the future.
We are all looking for solutions,
whether this be through cutting
emissions or finding ways to adapt our
lives to help our planet. I have felt this
strongly and increasingly over the years
and have slowly developed a business
that can work in this new world. MSC
Naturally Ltd is the latest development
of that thinking.
We use methods and materials of the
past when mankind was more closely
aligned with nature but also use very
modern methods and equipment to
turn this theory into practice. After I
retired in 2012, I began to focus on
this more closely, and after four years
of work, we had perfected the mixing,
casting and handling of the materials
we use. We have also developed our
expertise in training new employees
with the skills and knowledge to build
in this way.
Promoting change in our
industry
We face many hurdles which we must
jump over. Asking the construction
industry to change direction is not
easy, and often when we have to
Earth-built pizza place
and oven
Despite the
age of these
traditional
techniques,
they are still
effective for
achieving
current
standards
35MSC NATURALLY |
HOUSING
correspond with planning and building
authorities, we find they have little
knowledge of what they are dealing
with. Many professional bodies have
been brought up with a set of rules
which can be detrimental to natural
buildings. In order to grow awareness
of the advantage of these methods,
we had to fund our own first projects.
These projects, completed on our
own property, were financed with
my pensions and savings. Financing
this has been a struggle, but we are
making progress as more and more
people are able to see the results, and
companies who have helped design
and build the specialist equipment are
only too pleased to be involved.
The German government recently
appointed two German universities
and two construction companies to
investigate earth-block building and
to bring this product up to modern
standards. The British government has
no equivalent initiative.
Raising awareness
We believe that we are almost at
the point of full recognition, and we
have certainly moved the thinking on
around the issue. Earth building has
been around for thousands of years,
in this country and the wider world
including in the Americas, Europe,
Africa, the Middle East and East Asia.
Even within this country, there are a
variety of techniques: in our area we
have wattle and daub in timber-framed
buildings, the West Country uses cob
construction techniques and in East
Anglia, they use earth blocks.
We have many thousands of earth
buildings, although many owners
are not aware of this, and while we
know the technology works, relatively
few have stopped to wonder why it
works. Many simply dismiss houses
showing their age and instead use
modern methods to “smarten it up”.
Careful restoration using traditional
materials is the way forward and is
able to produce wonderful results
while staying true to the methodology
of the original construction. The
benefits of BETTABLOK are many and
varied. A few examples include no
need for scaffolding, the work can
be completed by one worker and
the fact that the blocks are non-
flammable, provide good acoustics
and can effectively control humidity
without the need for air conditioning.
Alongside this, they are low carbon,
fully sustainable and can be used and
recycled repeatedly.
It’s time for the construction industry
to move and embrace these traditional
methods. To do this, production will
need to be increased significantly and
workers will have to be trained in the
methodologies that support these
techniques. We are personally striving
to promote this education, and I work
with Madingley Hall at the University
of Cambridge and conduct school visits
around our local area. The next step
will be working alongside builders to
develop their skills in this area and with
manufacturers to develop the system
and bring forward the use of robotics.
Across the board, the BETTABLOK
system is a win-win but it just takes
time to understand. If support grows
for this simultaneously traditional
and innovative system, the planet will
berelieved.
It’s time for
the
construction
industry to
move and
embrace these
traditional
methods
Learning with
BETTABLOK

www.mscnaturally.com

This article was sponsored by MSC Naturally. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development