Specifying Conservation Works with Graham Abrey and Amanda White

Building conservation masterclass

Ref: B3D11584

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Places available

About this course

This course is intended for both newcomers to the field of building conservation and experienced personnel who wish to refresh their knowledge and continue their professional development. The course will focus on specifications and associated documents including schedules of work, bills of quantities, drawings, sketch details and annotated photographs.
You will initially look at the role of specification documentation within a project and how to clearly convey information essential for the repair and conservation of historic buildings and scheduled monuments.
Teaching and workshop sessions will address how specifications function within a programme of conservation work, their intended readership, what information is essential, and how these documents are prepared accurately and concisely.

Course Description

Day 1
19.00- Dinner
20.00- 2030- Welcome and Introduction, Getting to Know Others on the Course

Day 2
09.00- 09.45- Lecture.  The Role of Specifications
09.45-10.30- Lecture. Conveying Essential Information
10.30- 11.00- Break
11.00-12.30- Lecture.  Specification Writing
12.30-13.30- Lunch
13.30-15.30- Lecture.  Schedules of Work
15.30-16.00- Break
16.00- 17.30- Group Tutorial.  Presentation of Case Studies
19.00- Dinner 

Day 3
09.00-09.45-Lecture.  The Heritage Context: Why specifications for repair and conservation differ from those in the rest of the construction industry
09.45-10.30- Lecture.  Specifications and Statutory Consents
10.30-11.00- Break
11.00-12.30- Lectures.  The Conservation Contractor’s Perspective and Case Studies
12.30- 13.30- Lunch
13.30-14.15- Lecture.  Understanding and Managing Risk
14.15-15.30- Lecture.  Design and Service Life
15.30-16.00- Break
16.00- 16.40- Practical Session.  Introduction to the Survey and Specification Writing Exercise
16.45-17.30- Practical – Part 1. Site Survey and Fact Finding
19.00- Dinner

Day 4
09.00- Practical – Part 2.  Preparation of a Schedule of Work and Specification
Group Tutorial.  Review and discussion of Specifications produced during Practical sessions
15.15-15.30- Question and Answer Session
15.30 Issue Certificates and Depart


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

Please bring a case study and be prepared to give a very brief (5 minute) presentation about your selected subject, which may be illustrated by images or a short Powerpoint (please supply these on a USB memory stick).   Your case study may be an existing specification or schedule of work, or it may be a conservation matter for which you would like to develop a specification or repair schedule.  Your presentation will take place in an informal session with ample opportunity for group discussion.  The week prior to the course, you will be sent (in digital format) a course briefing pack with templates for key specification documents.
Please also bring the following items for use during the course:
• Digital camera or camera phone
• A laptop (or tablet) to prepare the specification and schedule of work (desktop computer workstations are available at the College, but you can work more flexibly with your own device)
• Sketch pad/notebook
• A3 clipboard (this will be provided if you don’t have one)
• Tape measure
• Outdoor (warm) clothing including comfortable shoes or boots and rain jacket
• Umbrella


Graham Abrey

Graham Abrey - BCM Course Leader

Graham trained as a building surveyor and has specialised for the past 10 years in contract work involving repair, conservation and maintenance of historic buildings. He has had many years' experience working for a masonry contractor and more recently as a freelance consultant specialising in the survey, cleaning and surface repair of stone, brick, terracotta and stucco buildings. He is currently Managing Director of Ingram Consultancy Ltd in Somerset.

Amanda White

Amanda is a chartered building surveyor accredited in building conservation and SPAB Scholar. Since 2009, Amanda has worked as a Heritage at Risk Surveyor in the Midlands.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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