Historic Building Conservation and Repair

Professional Development Diploma in Historic Building Conservation and Repair

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Recognised by Historic England (formerly English Heritage)

Duration: Part time completed in a maximum of five years

Applications open

Register now for Open Day on Friday 6 December

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.

The Professional Development Diploma is recognised by Historic England and adheres to its guidelines and standards aimed at improving building conservation practice. The Historic England Practical Building Conservation volumes are the core texts which underpin the courses. The diploma is designed and delivered by leading practitioners and follows the latest knowledge and developments in technology, craft and science applicable to historic buildings, archaeological sites and monuments.

The unique Ruinette at West Dean, on which students practise conservation and repair techniques, is a purpose-built structure exhibiting the materials and defects typically found in historic buildings. The diploma is aimed at those who need to develop practical skills and those who need to understand, specify and supervise them.

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

Qualification

On successful completion of the course you will be awarded the Professional Development Diploma certificate by West Dean of College of Arts and Conservation.

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 Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) has approved West Dean as one of its recognised CPD providers.

The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) recognises a number of West Dean College courses as appropriate CPD for its members. The Professional Development Diploma is part of this programme and will assist candidates in their progression to specialise in conservation and ultimately towards applying for CIAT's Conservation Register.

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.

"The BCM programme offers a wealth of experience from professional practitioners who are all passionate about the built environment and who are keen to pass on their knowledge. The college itself is a remarkable historic site and provides an ideal environment for learning about the conservation of historic structures." Catherine Woolfitt

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 illustrated portfolio of approximately 3000 words demonstrating the link between 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
Conservation and Repair of Plasters and Renders
The Structural Repair of Historic Buildings
Conservation and Repair of Brick and Flint Masonry
Conservation and Repair of Timber
Conservation and Repair of Stone Masonry
Mortars for Repair and Conservation

A further three BCMs to be selected from:

Specifying Conservation Works
Coatings and Consolidants for Masonry
Conservation and Repair of Slate and Stone Roofing
Managing Wildlife in the Historic Environment (alternate years)
Conservation of Historic Concrete
Conservation and Repair of Masonry Ruins
Conservation and Repair of Tile Roofing
Masonry cleaning

View the BCM courses

Entry requirements

Students will ideally have training/experience in the field and/or a minimum of two years' practical experience. The diploma is ideal for (though not limited to) conservators, conservation officers, archaeologists, architects, surveyors, engineers, craftspeople and specialist contractors.

Fees and funding

Fees are listed on each course page - 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.

Funding

The Drake Trust generously provides a number of bursaries for students attending a Building Conservation Masterclass at their own expense. To apply for The Drake Trust Bursary please contact cpd@westdean.org.uk.

Student perspective

"I've 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.

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 … 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. 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
Professional Development Diploma in Historic Building Conservation and Repair

Tutors

Catherine Woolfitt

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

Catherine Woolfitt is an archaeologist and architectural conservator and has worked in the conservation of the built heritage since 1993. With wide-ranging work experience in Italy, Israel and the UK, her experience bridges the museum, object, and building conservation sectors. 

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for this course or would like further information please contact admissions either by enquiring online or calling the number below. To make your application you will need to download and fill out our application form.

Open Day - register today

Come and find out what makes West Dean College of Arts and Conservation such an amazing place to study. Explore the studios, take a tour with students, discuss your study options, and find out about funding at our next Open Day on:

Friday 6 December 2019

Register your place and find out more