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Conservation Accreditation for Professionals

Working with older and historic buildings requires a particular set of skills and expertise so it is important professionals gain conservation accreditation to prove their competence. Here you can find out about the available conservation accreditation schemes.

Group of people carrying out a measured survey at Kenilworth Castle.
Measured Survey for Cultural Heritage Summer School at Kenilworth Castle. © Chris Redgrave / Historic England

Why is accreditation important?

Conservation accreditation allows professionals to demonstrate to grant-funding bodies, clients and employers that they have been independently assessed and are considered to have a high level of skill and experience in building conservation, within their own professional discipline.

In turn, these schemes and their registers of conservation-accredited individuals enables those looking to commission work on historic buildings to find professionals with the specific skills and experience required, encompassing all aspects of historic building conservation, repair and maintenance. 

Conservation accreditation schemes

The accreditation schemes are developed and operated by professional bodies and independent organisations. Each scheme has its own application and assessment process. Becoming accredited involves submitting evidence of your experience and competence, which is assessed by suitably experienced, impartial assessors.

Most schemes use the International Council on Monuments and Sites' (ICOMOS) Guidelines for Education and Training in the Conservation of Monuments, Ensembles and Sites as the basis for their assessment of candidates' experience.

Accreditation schemes include:

You can find more information on the range of accreditation schemes available from the Understanding Conservation website.

Demand for conservation-accredited professionals

A number of grant schemes currently require clients to use conservation-accredited individuals as lead professionals.

Historic Environment Service (Cadw), Historic England and Historic Environment Scotland will only give a repair grant if the applicant employs a lead professional advisor with relevant specialist conservation knowledge, ability and experience.

For most  projects this professional will be either an architect, chartered building surveyor or chartered architectural technologist, who has conservation accreditation from a recognised body.  We currently accept:  

  • Architects listed on the AABC Register at category 'A', RIAS Register at Accredited or Advanced level or the RIBA Conservation Register at Specialist Conservation Architect level
  • Chartered building surveyors listed on the RICS Building Conservation Accreditation Register
  • Chartered architectural technologists listed in the CIAT Directory of Accredited Conservationists at Accredited Conservationist level

In some cases a chartered engineer, chartered landscape architect or other historic landscape specialist will be the appropriate lead professional. Further information can be found in our section on Our Grant Schemes. Alternatively, please contact your local Historic England office for advice on your project.

Other grant schemes

The Heritage Lottery Fund's (HLF) Grants for Places of Worship scheme will only provide a grant if your project is led by  a lead professional who has conservation accreditation from a recognised body.

A key requirement of the War Memorials Trust's grant schemes is that if the total project cost is over £20,000 a conservation-accredited architect or chartered building surveyor must be contracted on the project.

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