The majority of construction professionals will work on historic buildings at some point during their career, but most will not understand the different approaches needed to repair and ‘restore’ traditional construction. This is the predominant reason for the creation of the CIOB’s Conservation Special Interest Group (SIG)  - to promote the skills, knowledge and innovation this aspect of the construction industry requires. Our group consists of CIOB members who are passionate about conserving listed and traditional buildings, and we are working hard to raise the profile for heritage needs across the world.

One way that we do this is by hosting two events a year; the first being our conservation conference in April. Now in its fifth year, this one-day conference is hosted at the prestigious Somerset House in London and is a popular highlight in the calendar of many construction professionals, with over 200 delegates in attendance. This year we're looking forward to hearing about a wide range of topics, including sustainability and the use of technology, as well as hearing case study presentations on fantastic projects in the built environment. The event is a fantastic opportunity to network with like-minded peers and professionals whilst receiving the highest quality teaching on the key issues facing the industry from leaders in this specialism to support your own professional development.

The level and variety of training available to professionals working in conservation is a wider issue that we've identified and addressed as a SIG. With the support of the CIOB, we have developed a new Building Conservation Certification Scheme, which we launched at our 2017 Conservation Conference.  This new scheme is open to a wide spectrum of roles and professions working in conservation and recognises different levels of competency. It offers three levels of certification, from a registered, to proficient, to certified. Through the CIOB Academy our first training course entitled 'Understanding Building Conservation' has been developed which provides training to support the development through those levels. It's been a fantastic platform to promote the complexity of our industry and validate the knowledge and skills that professions working in conservation bring to a project.

Alongside these larger projects, the SIG actively participates in government consultations on relevant policies, provides regular articles and thought leadership pieces to the Construction Manager Magazine, and provides insight and expertise across all relevant CIOB activities. We're a broad group who recognise that heritage is not just your Grade I buildings, but applies equal importance to traditional pre-1919 buildings that are also built using lime mortar and not cement. It's also not just about the UK - we're proud to have members from across the globe involved, sharing their perspectives from their own countries about preserving and protecting the past in the built environment. We've already made great strides in this area of construction and we are continuing to identify new opportunities to make a difference.

If you share our passion, and are a member of the CIOB, then we would love for you to get involved. Contact John Diston, Special Interest Group Co-ordinator, at jdiston@ciob.org.uk and help us to promote our wonderful specialism.

 

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