BCD 2019

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 1 11 C AT H E D R A L C O MM U N I C AT I O N S T H E B U I L D I N G C O N S E R VAT I O N D I R E C T O R Y 2 0 1 9 PROCUREMENT OF SPECIALIST SERVICES RICHARD STOCKING T  HE PROCUREMENT of specialist services for the conservation and repair of our architecturally and historically important buildings is complex. We need to access and select the right skills at each stage of a conservation project or repair programme. This article explores how tendering and quotation mechanisms can be used to obtain these specialist skills and services and how quality can be most effectively assured, particularly where funding bodies and owners would favour accepting the lowest quotation. CONSERVATION REQUIREMENTS We have a rich historic environment all around us in which buildings of all shapes, sizes and types make a vitally important contribution. Our historic and architecturally important buildings provide a tangible link to our past, our cultural heritage and our sense of identity. They are precious and often irreplaceable assets. Conserving and sustaining our built historic environment is of great importance and benefit to current and future generations. Caring for our built heritage is a dynamic, positive and proactive process which involves managing change, including reconciling the needs of today in ways that allow the value of an asset and its setting to be fully appreciated. Conservation as a process encompasses not only the need for ongoing maintenance and repair but also for sensitive adaptation and change. With ascribed values placed upon our built heritage and the ease and finality with which these can be camouflaged and eroded, a greater weight and emphasis is placed upon decisions made during the conservation process. While each decision may not require expert input, contribution of specialist conservation services is often necessary to guide and inform conservation decisions, to undertake repairs and implement change. Responsibility for the care of the UK’s designated buildings and their settings falls to a wide variety of people and organisations, from private owners (who own the majority of designated sites) through to public bodies. When specialist conservation input is required, often when more intrusive and extensive work is planned, it is so vitally important that those responsible for their care (the owners and public bodies) receive the correct expert advice and input. This includes not only the services of conservation consultants and practitioners, but also those of appropriately skilled and experienced conservation contractors and conservators. Success will depend on all these people – collectively termed conservation advisers – working together as a team. Selecting appropriate conservation advisers (such as chartered architects, engineers and surveyors, building contractors, conservators and project managers, archaeologists, heritage consultants and planners) will provide greater confidence that advice being given and received is based on a firm understanding of conservation approaches and principles. There is an expectation that those providing that advice will have an inherent awareness of potential values and special importance that a building and its setting may possess. They will be able to evaluate, justify and mitigate conservation decisions and effectively traverse the challenges of working with designated buildings. They will also have an inherent understanding of when further specialist advice, work and input is required. Surveying a timber framed building in Evesham: a thorough specification reduces the risk of uncertainty in pricing. (All photos: Richard Stocking)