Continuing Professional Development


SKILL REQUIREMENTS for conservation work are complex and changing. Best practice evolves as we gain a better understanding of how conservation processes affect historic fabric and its significance. The economic, legislative and philosophical framework within which we work changes over time, influencing what can and cannot be achieved with the resources available. And conservation is inevitably a team exercise requiring a wide range of skill sets: knowing who to turn to for advice and where to find the appropriate skills, products or resources required is just as important as knowing when to seek the help and advice of others.

Competency table

Whether we are conservation consultants or conservators it is essential that we all maintain competence in our chosen field. For accredited professionals (including conservation architects, engineers and surveyors, conservation officers, buildings archaeologists and other heritage consultants) accreditation in the conservation of historic buildings is therefore based not only on the established skills and knowledge when first accredited, but also on the continuing maintenance and development of the necessary skills. The principal accrediting bodies impose strict requirements to ensure that conservation specialists and other construction professionals continue to learn and develop their skills through continuing professional development (CPD) as outlined in the table below.

Although some professional bodies stipulate that a proportion of CPD must be undertaken through formal or structured learning, such as courses and conferences, CPD includes many other forms of learning. The RIAS for example suggests that the following can all count, provided the content is relevant and appropriate: ‘searching out information from technical literature, reading the construction industry press, discussions with colleagues, attending conferences and courses, supporting the profession through committee or other work; building sites/ visits; seminar/conference/course; preparing/ giving presentation; committee meeting/work; in-house CPD; meeting/discussion/debate; reading/ research/teaching’.

All the accrediting bodies require their members to evaluate their own personal learning requirements annually and maintain a record of how they have achieved them. The IHBC provides a useful list of eight competences based on the ICOMOS guidelines for training (see further information, below) which may help to identify specific training needs. There is one over-arching area of competence which includes conservation philosophy and professional practice, and three practical areas of competence; the evaluation of heritage assets, their management and interventions.

The course listings on the following pages and the events listing on provide a thorough grounding in many of these issues, but it is important to tailor your CPD to suit your own training needs. Discussing issues with colleagues and other professionals, particularly on site visits, reading the journals and researching information online or in libraries should all be part of a balanced information diet.

CPD requirements table


Further Information

ICOMOS Guidelines for Education and Training in the Conservation of Monuments, Ensembles and Sites, International Council on Monuments and Sites, Charenton-le-Pont, France,

Lucy Stewart, ‘Professional Accreditation in Building Conservation’, The Building Conservation Directory 2016, http://bc-url. com/accreditation

Understanding Conservation, Council on Training in Architectural Conservation:

For details of events and short courses see events.php

The Building Conservation Directory, 2019


JONATHAN TAYLOR is the editor of The Building Conservation Directory and a co-founder of Cathedral Communications Limited. He studied architectural conservation at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh and has a background in architectural design, conservation and urban regeneration.

Further information


Building Traditional Skills

Professional Accreditation in Building Conservation



Training courses
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