Register of Architects
Accredited in Building Conservation

Guidance Notes For Applicants

1.0   Why accreditation?

1.1   AABC is a Register of architects whose skills in building conservation have been assessed and accredited by peer review. The purpose is to protect the historic built environment from unnecessary and damaging interventions which can arise from an absence of adequate skills and competence in architects undertaking work in this field. Accreditation also assists clients to identify architects who have demonstrated their skills and competence. Accreditation benefits architects who have benchmarked their skills in a way which clients can readily understand.

2.0   What do we mean by skills and competence?

2.1   There are several international charters which set out the principles behind the proper conservation and management of the historic built environment including the process of change. Inter-professional discussion has established a common understanding of core skills and competence – go to www.understandingconservation.org - for full details. AABC has produced its own more detailed Guide to Conservation Skills which is provided with these notes.

2.2   The general competences which AABC applicants are required to demonstrate are:

a)   Understanding conservation philosophy, conservation legislation and the significance of subject buildings in whole and in their constituent parts.

b)   Identifying defects, their causes and, in the case of adaptive works, functional deficiencies.

c)   Formulating proposals for repair, remediation and, where appropriate, adaptation which are philosophically and technically sound, explaining the impacts of any changes.

d)   Documenting investigations and proposals using reports, drawings, specifications, schedules and photographs.

e)   Managing conservation works including procurement, cost and quality control both on and off site.

3.0   How do I demonstrate these skills and competences?

3.1   Accreditation is vested in an individual, and so we need information about you and your work.

3.2   About you – we require basic information outlining your qualifications, experience and your CPD record.

3.3   About your CPD – we require information on your conservation-related Continuing Professional Development activities undertaken during the last five years which describe your regular commitment to structured skills enhancement and development of professional competence. These activities will be in addition to your day-to-day fee-earning work and may include participation in courses and seminars, visits, reading and research.

3.4   About your work – we require information describing five examples of your work (three for re-accreditation), either individual projects or specific elements of projects, which you have completed during the last five years (earlier work may be considered in special circumstances). The examples must collectively demonstrate your skills in understanding, identifying, formulating, documenting and managing conservation works. At least three of the five examples (or two of the three), must be of actual repair work; the remaining example(s) can comprise extracts from conservation plans, condition surveys, research reports and similar work.

3.5   Each example should include a summary giving the project title and location, its’ listing status if any, the nature of the project, key dates in the commission, approximate cost and your role both in the overall project and in the authorship of the submitted material. This should be followed by extracts from the project documentation. A maximum of ten sides of A4 or five sides of A3 folded is allowed for each example – many successful applications use less.  The limit applies to both PDF uploads and hard copies.

3.6   Across all examples we need to see evidence of how you identified and assessed problems, the conservation philosophy you followed and the repair or adaptation works you devised. The material must collectively include extracts from drawn construction details, specification clauses, descriptive text and captioned photographs clearly legible at A4 or A3 folded. The application form sets out further details including a checklist of requirements.

3.7   This information will be assessed by a team of two accredited or senior architects and one lay person suitably experienced in building conservation representing the interest of the client. There are twenty such assessment teams across the UK, and your application will be assessed by a team distant from your locality. The teams submit their reports to the AABC Supervisory Panel, made up of board members, for moderation and confirmation. If your application meets the required standard you will be registered as an Architect Accredited in Building Conservation. You may use the suffix AABC and your contact details will be posted on the Register’s website.

4.0   Are there other categories of accreditation?

4.1   Architects acting in more of an advisory or managerial capacity, perhaps leading several projects or acting as conservation officers but not personally producing detailed documentation or carrying out contract supervision, may apply for accreditation as a consultant architect. Similarly, specialist architects practising as conservators or researchers and having only a limited involvement in projects may also be accredited as a consultant architect. In such cases the requirement for examples of repair works is waived provided that the submitted examples of work demonstrate relevant building conservation competence. Successful applicants are registered as Consultant Architect Accredited in Building Conservation. They may use the suffix CAABC and their contact details will be posted on the Register’s website.

4.2   We are now offering Retired (Rtd) status to the Register, for those architects who have previously been accredited, but who wish to have associate membership with AABC. It is very important to note that this status does not imply accreditation. The fee is £20 and the status is available immediately.

5.0   How long does accreditation last?

5.1   Accreditation lasts for a period of five years, following which re-accreditation is required in order to ensure that active practice and competence have been maintained. Applications for re-accreditation differ only in the requirement for three rather than five examples of your work; and two of the three examples must be of repair work.

6.0   What if I need advice?

6.1   The AABC Register offers annual seminars to prospective applicants to explain how they can develop the necessary skills and experience and how they can efficiently complete an application. More detailed information on conservation competence is available at these seminars and also on request. The AABC Administrator is contactable by phone, e-mail or letter to answer questions and give advice. If necessary we will offer an accredited architect in your locality to act as a mentor as you develop your application.

7.0   How much will it cost and how long will it take?

7.1   The application fee for an initial accreditation is £250 and for five year re-accreditation it is £200. An annual registration fee of £80 is also charged. Applications are accepted on a four-monthly cycle ending on 31 March, 31 July, 30 November respectively. Applications are normally processed in the following four months. In the case of non-compliant submissions or those requiring further evidence the period will run into the subsequent cycles subject to the timely receipt of the required information. Do check your application carefully to ensure that you have included all necessary information and do not exceed the permitted maximum number of A4 or folded A3 sheets.

8.0   Refund policy

8.1   Our application and re-application fees are charged for the administration costs involved in the processing of an application, which includes the time spent initially reviewing and validating the application, the application being sent and being assessed by our assessment teams, and then being moderated by our Supervisory Panel who act as the final level of the assessment process.  The fee covers the full administration of this process, which may be extended if the application requires further information and additional review by the Supervisory Panel.  Due to the scale of work involved to assess each application, we cannot not offer a refund of application fees if the applicant withdraws from the process once it has begun.

The charge for an application or re-application for accreditation is not associated with the annual registration fee, which is the annual fee required to maintain an architect’s name on the Register. The annual registration fee may be refunded if an applicant withdraws from the application process before March of that same year.