Historic Building Conservation and Repair

Professional Development Diploma in Historic Building Conservation and Repair

Recognised by Historic England (formerly English Heritage)

Duration: Part time completed in a maximum of five years

Applications open

Study the technical and practical skills relevant to the repair and maintenance of historic buildings and structures. Improve your skills and up-to-date knowledge of developments in materials, techniques and current practice.

This historic building course is ideal for conservators, conservation officers, architects, surveyors, craftspeople and specialist contractors.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has agreed that the Professional Development Diploma course qualifies as a Conservation Training Course for entry on to the RIBA Conservation register at CR level.

The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) has recognised the Professional Development Diploma as part of its programme and will assist candidates in their progression to specialise in conservation and ultimately towards applying for CIAT's Conservation Register.

You can expect:

Tutors who are leading practitioners

Hands-on training in the repair and conservation of various building materials

To gain a thorough understanding of structural repairs

To complete 10 Building Conservation Masterclasses (BCMs) - seven compulsory and three of your choice

To submit a final 3,000 word portfolio demonstrating the link between your experience gained on the BCMs and your past, current and intended professional practice

Learning environment

  • High tutor: student ratio
  • Specialist teaching resources including the purpose-built Ruinette to practise techniques
  • Workshop-based or conference style learning, dependent on masterclass subject
  • Residential accommodation is available while you complete each masterclass

The seven compulsory BCMs

Conservation and Repair of Architectural and Structural Metalwork £706
Conservation and Repair of Plasters and Renders £706
The Structural Repair of Historic Buildings £666
Conservation and Repair of Brick and Flint Masonry £721
Conservation and Repair of Timber £706
Conservation and Repair of Stone Masonry £706
Mortars for Repair and Conservation £706

A further three BCMs to be selected from:

Specifying Conservation Works £666
Coatings and Consolidants for Masonry £483
Conservation and Repair of Slate and Stone Roofing £706
Managing Wildlife in the Historic Environment £TBC (alternate years)
Conservation of Historic Concrete £726
Conservation and Repair of Masonry Ruins £806
Masonry cleaning £483

View the courses

Student perspective

"I've recently been project managing a Heritage Lottery Funded Skills for the Future project, to support traditional building skills training and address the shortage of skilled craftspeople in and around Leeds. The city has a huge number of buildings built before 1919 but diminishing numbers of specialist heritage construction workers.

The project came to an end recently and I'm looking to continue working in this area. I have an understanding of building conservation but wanted some practical training, this seemed to be the most practical course available and was recommended by a colleague. The ability to study towards accreditation in short bursts also suited me and I'm very grateful to have been awarded a bursary by the Drake Trust to enable me to study here.

The standard of tutors and speakers has been superb, with experts today coming from both London and Manchester, it's been a privilege to study with them. I've also met a range of contacts who I know will be useful for future networking, although it would be great if more students came down from the north of England, it's worth the journey! Because of the highly respected nature of the courses here, I've been asked by colleagues to report on some of the expertise on my return, up-to-date developments in the use of lime mortar for example.

Overall, I've found the courses to be an excellent mix of practical and theoretical learning supported by great facilities."

Sarah Neville, Building Conservation Masterclasses and Professional Development Diploma in Historic Building Conservation and Repair.

Entry requirements

Participants will ideally have training/experience in the field and/or a minimum of two years' practical experience.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for this course or would like further information please contact bookingsoffice@westdean.org.uk or by calling the number below. To make your application you will need to download and fill out the booking form at the bottom of this page.

+44 (0)1243 818 232


Catherine Woolfitt

Catherine Woolfitt ACR MCIfA MA Classics MA Art Conservation - Subject Leader Historic Building Conservation and Repair

Catherine Woolfitt is an archaeologist, architectural conservator and acts as Subject Leader for the Building Conservation Masterclasses. An accredited member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) and of the Institute of Conservation (ICON), she has worked in the conservation of the built heritage since 1993.


Fees as listed for each of the 10 courses - the minimum cost would be £5,939 for 10 courses, plus the administration fee £260 payable on submission of final portfolio.

10% discount on course fees to employees of Historic England, Cadw, Historic Scotland, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and members of Building Limes Forum UK and Ireland.


Drake Trust bursaries are available.

The Professional Development Diploma: Historic Building Conservation and Repair is supported by a Construction Industry Training Board grant (CITB) which, on achieving the qualification is payable to in-scope employers and their employees registered with CITB.

Find out more about the Drake Trust Bursary

If you would like to apply for the Drake Trust Bursary please contact cpd@westdean.org.uk

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