News Archive 2017

STBA comments on surveys as part of the buying and selling process - December 2017

The government consultation from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government - Improving the home buying and selling process in England - sought views on how to make the English process of home buying and selling cheaper, faster and less stressful.


As part of our response, the STBA questions whether building surveys should be part of the conveyancing period. The time restraints when securing the sale or purchase of a property often cause a rush into the almost tick-box exercise of procuring surveys and guarantees. These are usually for the comfort of mortgage providers. Even when a purchaser is keen for a full survey, they often end up with a less than satisfactory report.


“The issue arises in part because surveyors are often not specifically qualified to assess traditional buildings. The RICS Guidance for Surveys of Residential Property (2014) specifies that the surveyor needs to be familiar with the nature and complexity of the property type and the region in which it is situated, including: “Common and uncommon vernacular housing styles, materials and construction techniques; particularly important for older and historic buildings where the surveyor must understand the interaction of different building materials and techniques.” Many surveyors do not meet such a competence requirement. The need for a buyer to use an appropriately qualified surveyor (minimally BS7913) therefore needs to be made clear both to buyers and to mortgage providers when looking at traditional buildings.”


Our full response can be downloaded here.


The STBA's programme for 2018 includes a focus on the appropriate assessment of buildings. This would not be at the point of purchase but would form an ongoing homeowner's record to assist with understanding of the building type, significance, geographical context, condition and maintenance schedule. This would be important information essential when considering the essential 'whole house' approach for energy efficiency upgrades.



STBA Members' Workshop - Heritage, Environment & Industry: Common Ground and Conflicts‬ 

November 2017

Thank you to all those who joined us for our Heritage and Sustainability event at the end of November. The event got the ball rolling for this important programme by engaging with people from heritage, the environment and industry – but this is just the start of an ongoing discussion.


With the government encouraging industry to take the lead - in particular for retrofit - is it essential that we can find a common voice and alternatives to purely industry-led solutions. Only in this way can we create a truly sustainable traditional built environment.


Further Heritage and Sustainability events are planned for the future - and we hope this will give many more the opportunity to join us for these discussions. 

A summary of the workshop outcomes is available here.


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BS EN 16883: 2017 - Conservation of Cultural Heritage: Guidelines for improving the energy performance of historic buildings - November 2017


This new BS and EN standard is designed for use by building owners, authorities and professionals involved in conservation and refurbishment. It provides a logical and step by step guide to the topic, based on conservation principles.  Input from ICOMOS (STBA Supporting Organisation) was led by Peter Cox.

This guidance is available from bsi - click here.

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Making Retrofit Standards more accessible - November 2017


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Moisture and Breathability – 

ASBP and The Green Register event

November, Bristol - November 2017


On 9th November 2017, we took part in a well attended event on Moisture and Breathability This was organised by our Supporting Organisations, the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products and The Green Register.


In addition to our presentation on moisture in traditional buildings, Caroline Rye spoke about the SPAB Building performance survey, and the Bristol City Council talked about their Responsible Retrofit programme.


The event focused on buildings as part of a system in constant and dynamic interaction with people and the environment - not as standalone discrete entities. This interconnectedness means benefits, problems, solutions and consequences cannot be effectively addressed in isolation.


With energy efficiency as the main driver for retrofit, this event highlighted the importance of delivering effective moisture control, alongside good detailing, quality installation, consideration of product impacts and an effective ventilation strategy.

Moisture and breathability is part of the ASBP Healthy Buildings programme.




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National Maintenance Week with SPAB 

17th to 24th November 2017

Efforts to keep our homes healthy and optimise thermal performance is often thwarted by inadequate building maintenance. SPAB are again celebrating National Maintenance Week with help and ideas for homeowners to preserve the fabric and character of their old buildings. The week runs from 17th November, culminating with National Gutters Day on Friday 24th November.

The Fighting Damp advice is available to download and this year they have produced a free, very handy, pocket-sized maintenance calendar. The SPAB Maintenance Calendar will help anyone who cares for a building to schedule simple, but helpful maintenance tasks throughout the year. Featuring fun cartoons and top tips, the calendar would be especially helpful as a give-away for local authorities and organisations working to promote good property care. More information - and how to order your calendar - on their website.

SPAB also runs an all year round Technical Advice Line where members of the public are able to discuss their technical queries over the phone with a member of their technical staff. The line is open Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 12.30pm on 020 7456 0916.

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Heritage & Sustainability - What's next?

November 2017


Building Design and Construction recently asked our Director, Nigel Griffiths, about heritage and sustainability, with the question 'What's next?'. His reply, which will appear in the magazine's Heritage and Conservation issue and can be downloaded here.

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The full article can be downloaded here.


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Private Rented Sector Legislation & SAP Updates - November 2017


The Domestic Private Rented Property Minimum Standard - Guidance for landlords and Local Authorities has now been published.

From April 2018 it will become illegal to let out a property with an EPC rating worse than “E”.

EPCs are based on RdSAP, itself derived from SAP - the Standard Assessment Procedure.

Following pressure from the STBA and other organisations, the recent updates to SAP included a much needed change in the default u-value for solid walls from 2.10W/m2K to 1.70W/m2K. Although this remains higher than the evidence suggests, this change is significant because EPC rating of some traditional buildings may improve as a result.

This change is also important because savings from solid wall insulation have been overestimated in the past due to the incorrect default value. Assessment of retrofit measures and packages of measures can  now be carried out on a more realistic basis.


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UKCMB Video on avoiding Moisture Problems in Buildings - November 2017

The UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings has launched a video that aims to provide guidance to on how to avoid moisture problems in existing homes. Although aimed at homeowners, this video is valuable to everyone involved in working on existing buildings, stressing the need for good building maintenance and having a whole-house strategy.


It provides an introduction to moisture in buildings, explaining in simple terms and images what damp means, where moisture in buildings comes from, as well as, introduce the notion of balance and how this can be achieved.

The video can be seen via the UKCMB website.

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Heritage Lottery Fund project wins RIBA Stirling Prize - November 2017


Hastings Pier, by dRMM architects, won the Stirling Prize and was chosen as the People's Choice.


We were delighted that this heritage project was also top project for sustainability. Simon Sturgis, Sustainability Advisor for the RIBA Stirling Prize judges, commented "most sustainability 'Whole-Life-Carbon' finalist.


Three HLF-supported buildings were featured in this year's shortlist - that included British Museum’s new World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre and a bold redevelopment at Chatham Historic Dockyard.


More information - on the Heritage Lottery Fund website.

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pic courtesy of Francesco Montaguti 

via Heritage Lottery Fund website

UKCMB report on health and moisture in buildings

- October 2017

The UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings report on the health impact of building which are too dry and too damp

Download the report here


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BEIS publishes reports as part of its Household Energy programme - 9th November 2017


As part of their buildings energy efficiency technical research, BEIS have issued two reports by University College London and Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd. on solid wall insulation:

  • Internal Wall Insulation: Best Practice and Innovation - download here.
  • Understanding Best Practice in Deploying External Solid-Wall Insulation - download here

Also published by BEIS this month:

  • Thin internal wall insulation, modelling study on energy saving potential– by AECOM– download here
  • Reports by BRE on solid-wall heat losses and the potential for energy saving – available here.
  • Dartford Housing Retrofit Project Evaluation Report by PRP - download here

  • Core cities Green Deal monitoring project, Leeds – Leeds Beckett University - download here.

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Re-launch of the UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings - October 2017


The STBA team, as well as our Sustainability Chair, Peter Draper, recently attended the re-launch of the UKCMB, headed up by Neil May.

This was preceded by meeting up with others involved in the UKCMB working groups.

The re-launch presentations are available on the UKCMB website.

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Merton retrofit funding trial - RetrofitWorks

October 2017


STBA members, RetrofitWorks, are working with Merton Council to trial a combination of grant funds that will help homeowners to get control of their home, greatly improve comfort, reduce bills and carbon dioxide emissions. They are seeking 10 homes – across a range of house types - to test funding applicability.


More . . . .

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UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings IWI publication

October 2017

Ahead of the UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings relaunch, the UKCMB has published a paper by Matt Smith of NBT entitled "Avoidance and diagnosis of problems associated with internal wall insulation". Written for the Journal of Building Survey, Appraisal & Valuation, this paper explains why problems occur and the importance of correct analysis of buildings pre-retrofit.

More on the UKCMB website and the paper can be downloaded here.

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The SPAB Approach

October 2017

This autumn SPAB released the SPAB Approach to the Conservation and Care of Old Buildings, written by Matthew Slocombe. The document is based on understanding, care and conservative repair. It is a simple message of sustainability. This approach is a unique combination of the theoretical and the practical. 

More . . . . 

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New publications from Historic England 

September 2017


The Sustainable Use of Energy in Traditional Dwellings: Using legislation and policy to guide decision-making by the Centre for Sustainable Energy

Local authorities are responsible for implementing a diverse range of legislation, policies and guidance relating to sustainable development, fuel poverty, housing standards and carbon reduction. These all have impacts on the historic environment. But if there is not adequate inter-departmental understanding and coordination of the many overlapping (and sometimes conflicting) requirements, there is a risk that one agenda will be undermined by another. The consequences of this include harm to heritage assets and failure to meet legislative and policy objectives in full. This report presents the findings of a research project carried out to understand better the areas of convergence and conflict between current legislation, policy and guidance. A further aim of the project has been to suggest ways in which Local Authorities might increase understanding between departments and stakeholders, and develop more integrated and better-informed approaches to policy and decision-making. The suggestions set out in this report have been developed in consultation with Oxford City Council, and other Local Authorities in four regional, cross sector workshops.


Reducing Energy Use in Traditional Dwellings by Chris Newman, Parity Projects

This report describes an in-depth ‘whole building’ analysis of energy use carried out in four traditionally built houses in Reading, Berks. The results were used to devise strategies to reduce energy use and carbon emissions for each household. These were then assessed in terms of their effectiveness and cost-efficiency. An important aim of the project was to understand better the costs and benefits of solid wall insulation in relation to other energy and carbon saving measures. The project demonstrates the benefits of a ‘whole building’ approach, and shows how the economics of specific energy and carbon-saving improvements vary from one household to another.


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2017-09 TheSustainableUseofEnergyinTraditionalDwellings-Usinglegislationandpolicytoguidedecision-making (1).pdf
Sustainable Use of Energy
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2017-09 ReducingEnergyUseinTraditionalDwellings_AnalysisofFourSolidWallHousesinReading.pdf
Reducing Energy Use

Private Rented Sector Legislation 

September 2017


From April 2018 it will become illegal to let out a property with an EPC rating worse than “E”. The PRS guidance for non-domestic properties has already been published and is available here. The Domestic guidance has been drafted but not yet published.


There is a particular issue relating to whether or not listed buildings are legally exempt from the requirement to have an EPC at the point of sale or let.


Resolution of this issue rests with DCLG but we understand that their efforts are currently focused on dealing with the aftermath of the Grenfell disaster and it may yet be some time before they produce a further guidance note on listed buildings. 

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Each Home Counts, September 2017

Each Home Counts Workstreams - Getting Involved


The STBA is engaging with several of the Each Home Counts workstreams. We are working to ensure that the particular needs of traditional buildings are included.

  • Nigel Griffiths serves on the Standards Group

  • Sam Allwinkle on Training

  • Nick Heath on Design & Installation

The other working Groups are:
  • Quality Envelope Functions (Simon Ayers, Trustmark)
  • Code of Conduct/Consumer Protection (Liz Male, Liz Male Consulting / Peter Broad, Citizens Advice)
  • Standards (Clare Price, BSI/ Peter Rickaby, Peter Rickaby Consulting)
  • Compliance & Enforcement (Claire Curtis-Thomas, BBA)
  • Information Hub & Data Warehouse (Philip Sellwood, Laura McGadie, EST)
  • Skills & Training (Richard Bayliss, CITB)
  • Data Ethics, Privacy & Protection (Rich Hampshire, CGI)
  • Finance & Insurance (Stephen Huller, BNP Paribas Personal Finance)
  • Building Fabric & Technology (Peter Caplehorn, CPA)
  • Home Energy Technology & Renewables (Kelly Bulter, BEAMA)
  • Design and Installation (Alan Cochrane, Retrofit Design Services)
  • Measurement, Monitoring and Verification (Kerry Mashford, NEF)
  • Smart Meters (Audrey Gallacher, Energy UK)
  • Social Housing (Bevan Jones, Sustainable Homes)
  • Pilots (BEIS)

We would be interested to hear from our members who are attending other groups - if you are involved, please let Nigel know.

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STBA at the RICS & SPAB Building Conservation Summer School - 10 to 14 Sept 2017, Cirencester

The STBA participated at the RICS-SPAB 2017 Building Conservation Summer School. As exhibitors we demonstrated the STBA Guidance Wheel and our Director, Nigel Griffiths gave a presentation on the STBA guidance available 

This event, by the RICS Building Conservation Forum in conjunction with SPAB, was designed to provide surveyors with an understanding of building conservation and surveying techniques for historic and listed properties.

It also gave insight into the building physics of all solid-wall buildings - useful information for all those involved with vast majority of older buildings that aren't earmarked as 'heritage'.

See Marianne Suhr's article in the RICS Building Conservation Journal (page 30).

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Neil May's MBE celebrated at a surprise party

September 2017

A surprise party was organised to celebrate Neil's recent MBE. STBA members and staff joined with many others whom Neil has worked with to dcelebrate this recognition of his work to promote sustainability in the built environment

As Liz Male tweeted "Fab party last week to celebrate Neil's MBE." 

(photo courtesy of Liz Male)

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IHBC's Context Magazine - with retrofit article by John Preston - July 2017

The IHBC’s Green Panel has been set up to give the institute a voice – and involvement – in what will arguably be the key issues for the historic environment in the coming years. 

John Preston (IHBC Green Panel & STBA Chair for Heritage) comments on “the shambles of little investment, market failure and the responsibility for retrofit delegated to the industry”. Read John’s article in the IHBC magazine, Context.  

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New Research into knowledge of appropriate retrofit of solid-wall buildings, Ireland



Earlier in 2017, our Director, Nigel Griffiths, attended a seminar by the Heritage Council of Ireland and ICOMOS. Entitled Deep Energy Retro-Fitting of Traditional Buildings, the main outcomes and recommendations are in accord with the STBA’s viewpoints - and even our programmes under the headings of Context, Continuity and Change. 


The Heritage Council and ICOMOS in Ireland are now engaged in a research into the state of knowledge of appropriate energy retrofit of solid-wall buildings. We look forward to cooperating with those involved with this valuable project.


Click on the icon below for the summary of the February event.

2017-02 ICOMOS & Heritage Council of Ireland, seminar on deep retrofit
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PVCu vs Wood Windows – the facts

July 2017


The British Woodworking Federation is highlighting some misleading information about the exaggerated (and sometimes untrue) benefits claimed by PVCu window companies. The Wood Window Alliance campaign,“Wood You Believe It”,  is now setting the record straight. Many homeowners and specifiers are being misled about the facts concerning the cost, energy efficiency and environmental impact.


Here are links to all the facts:


More . . . .   

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APPG for Healthy Homes and Buildings 

Consultation period for Green Paper - till 30 Sept 2017

The second meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Healthy Homes and Buildings was held in July and was attended by several of our members including NBT and the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products.  

The agenda for this meeting was to discuss the role and purpose of the APPG and its objectives for the coming parliament. This includes the preparation for a Healthy Homes and Buildings Green Paper (Building our Future Laying the Foundations for Healthy Homes and Buildings). A draft of this is available to download

Comments are invited, in writing by 30 September 2017 to

More . . .

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ASBP Contibutes to Terms of Reference for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry - July 2017


The awful events at Grenfell have underlined the importance of doing the right things to the right buildings, and using the right materials for the context. These kinds of issues have been raised before, by us and by others; the statement on Grenfell from our sister organisation the ASBP captures the essence of the problem.


The ASBP formulated and submitted a response to the inquiry from the realm of construction products:

"The Grenfell Tower disaster should act as a wake-up call to the whole construction industry. We know that the failings go beyond the specific and beyond the purely technical, to bigger and more complex problems of governance of the built environment, and to the wider industry culture where responsibility and risk is not shared but re-packaged and passed on in ever more complex ways.

The industry needs to undertake a complete re-appraisal that should consider everything from standard setting, building and product warranties and risk management through to building control and the approach to skills and workmanship. This tragedy needs to act as a catalyst for rejecting the culture that prevails and find new and better ways to build.

The Grenfell Tower fire represents a catastrophic failure of industry governance and regulatory frameworks. Given such systemic failure, it is essential that the inquiry draws upon evidence from truly independent experts, which may best be found from overseas and from other industries.

However, it is essential to react proportionately when we move from the enquiry to the phase of implementing any recommendations. The ASBP has long argued for a more balanced approach to regulation. There has been an over-emphasis on theoretical performance gains from reduced operational energy to the detriment of other important issues such as embodied energy, build quality and occupant health. We now need to be mindful of an over-emphasis on fire performance."

more . . . .  

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Neil May awarded MBE - June 2017


We are delighted and proud to announce that our CEO, Neil May, has been awarded the MBE in the 2017 Birthday Honours List. This is in recognition of his work to promote sustainability in the built environment.

Often referred to as inspirational, Neil has been instrumental in the formation of several organisations and initiatives to promote various aspects of sustainable building. These include the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products, Good Homes Alliance and the UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings (at UCL) and, of course, the STBA.

Neil's recent work has included the Bristolian's Guide to Solid Wall Insulation as part of Bristol City Council's Warm Up Bristol initiative and his Moisture in Buildings guidance paper with Chris Sanders.

Neil's response:
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STBA-SPAB Conference 

Sustainability of Traditional Buildings

June 2017, London


We would like to thank all those who came to this event and contributed to a very successful day. We broadened our topics to include all our areas that we are engaging in:


Context - Regulations, policy & working practices, as well as challenging the viewpoints that drive our current perception of sustainability. 


Continuity - A programme of maintenance, an understanding of building pathology, the use of appropriate materials and a ventilation strategy are key strategy are key to the effective functioning of traditional buildings.


Change - Changes to traditional buildings are needed for energy efficiency. Research into retrofit measures provides the knowledge needed for a Responsible Retrofit approach.

More . . . . . 

The presentations are being uploaded to our Resources page when they are available - click here.

The Conference Review by Nick Heath is available - click here.

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Sofie Pelsmakers' Research Paper Published

June 2017

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Sofie Pelsmakers research paper is now available to download

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Carbon Co-op Community Green Deal Case Studies 

June 2017

‘Powering Down Together’, is published to coincide with Community Energy Fortnight 2017. It reports on the retrofit of 12 owner-occupied solid-walled homes typical of Manchester’s housing stock.

more . . . 

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IHBC ‘Conservation Professional Practice Principles’ 

June 2017

The IHBC has launched its joint ‘Conservation Professional Practice Principles’ in conjunction with the Historic Towns and Villages Forum and Civic Voice. It offers a new, accessible statement on practice principles for specialists working in built and historic environment conservation roles.

The Practice Principles states "Good conservation practice is not about viewing heritage and cultural values in isolation, but considering these as an integral part of planning, place-making and helping places and buildings to adapt to modern needs. This integrated approach is at the heart of specialist, professional practice."

This document forms part of the IHBC Toolbox and can be downloaded here.

more . . . 

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The SPAB Building Performance Survey 

June 2017


This research looks at questions of risk in the refurbishment of traditional buildings. Since 2011 temperature and relative humidity profiles have been measured through three insulated solid walls - joined, in 2014, by measurements of material moisture content. These different measurement techniques aim to provide a detailed insight into the behaviour of moisture and moisture risks in the fabric of the walls. Over the past six years Archimetrics monitoring has built up a picture of the seasonal behavior of moisture in the walls, as well as longerterm trends, which shows the different and at times competing influences that affect these moisture profiles. 

The latest SPAB Building Performance Survey - produced in conjunction with ArchiMetrics and Historic England can be downloaded. Click here for the Summary and click here for the full report by ArchiMetrics.

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London Festival of Architecture Event: Memory, Heritage and the City - June 2017

The London Festival of Architecture in June included an event hosted by conservation architects, Donald Insall Associates. Entitled Memory, Heritage and the City. the animated discussions demonstrated the difficulty in getting conservation right. The 'value' of certain parts of the built environment and the reasons for preserving them vary from historical, heritage, cultural, social, aesthetic and even personal perspectives. The way we preserve them is also a matter for thought and debate.

As Laura Iloniemi writes in her review of the event "here was a sense that perhaps too much has been lost unnecessarily because buildings, streets and even whole areas of cities have been neither conserved with care nor sensitively restored."

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Each Home Counts Review Team

June 2017

The latest news about Each Home Counts - including a list of the workstreams - can be read in their newsletter.

To contact the Review Team with comments or to find out about any of the workstreams, email 


The Future of the Past by Neil May

May 2017

The Future of the Past is a ground-breaking essay written by Neil May and supported by key organisations within the STBA  (Church of England, SPAB, National Trust, Historic Scotland). 

It begins by addressing the apparent disconnection between sustainability and heritage but rapidly acknowledges that this is symptomatic of a much deeper division in our society, even within ourselves. The paper explores how this situation arose, examining its roots in neoliberalism and logical positivism and explains how these have shaped not only the world we live in but also how they have distorted the practice of sustainability - which has unwittingly become part of the problem. 

The paper concludes that heritage and cultural values must play a much more active role in discussions about the future. 

A Summary of the paper can be downloaded here or by clicking on the icon to the right.

The full paper can be downloaded here.

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The Future of the Past - summary

STBA Ventilation Masterclass - Cancelled

May 2017

The 2017 series of Responsible (Whole House) Retrofit Masterclasses was due to start on 25th May 2017 withVentilation and Indoor Air Quality inTraditional Building Retrofit with Ian Mawditt. Unfortunately, this event has now been cancelled.


Retrofitting older buildings to improve their insulation and airtightness can significantly change internal conditions. Without a robust ventilation strategy, this can create moisture and pollutant problems that can be detrimental to the health of both occupants and building fabric.


In this half-day masterclass, expert trainer Ian Mawditt will take delegates through the technical principles and practice of ventilation and airtightness, illustrating key lessons and solutions through case studies, real-world monitoring and practical exercises.


This event was in association with Zero Carbon Yorkshire and is kindly sponsored by Green Building Store.



The CLA EPC Report and PRS Implications

March 2017

The recent CLA Policy Briefing, The Retro Fit-Up, highlights the problems with the current EPC energy assessment method, especially for older buildings. In the lead up to the PRS legislation, due to come into effect in April 2018, many landlords will be 'rushing-to-retrofit', often without enough knowledge and consideration of damage they may be causing their properties.

The CLA report can be downloaded here.

Moisture in Buildings White Paper published 

March 2017


The long awaited moisture in buildings paper by STBA's Neil May and Chris Saunders is now available to download via the bsi website.


Entitled Moisture in Buildings: an integrated approach to risk assessment and guidance, the white paper is in response to a growing relaisation that traditional moisture risk approaches are inadequate. 


The guidance:

  • Describes why the approach to moisture in buildings needs to change
  • Explains the limitations of current moisture risk assessment standards and regulations
  • Proposes a way forward, using a new whole building approach
  • Sets out the principles of the whole building approach
  • Outlines how we should tackle moisture risk assessment and design in future

The content has been endorsed by academic experts and mainstream practitioners and is backed up by a considerable amount of research done in the UK and other parts of Europe. 



IHBC-STBA update to 'Make Each Home Count’ with ‘Different but Complementary’ approach - March 2017

In a well-received and incisive presentation to an audience that included Peter Bonfield, John Preston, IHBC’s Green Panel Chair and Heritage Chair of the STBA, called for traditional buildings to be given a ‘Different but Complementary’ approach in Bonfield’s ‘Each Home Counts’ plans for domestic energy use and provision.

Read the whole blog here

For John Preston’s presentation to the STBA - click here 

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Major New Partnership to Boost Construction Skills 

March 2017


The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has joined forces with Historic Environment Scotland, Historic England and Cadw, in a landmark partnership.

The ‘Strategic Skills Partnership Agreement’ was signed on Friday (24 March 2017) to launch an action plan to equip the construction industry with the knowledge, understanding and skills for the continued and sustainable use of traditional building stock, benefitting the economy and communities across the nations.

more . . . 

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STBA Advisory Group Meeting
21st February 2017, London


Peter Bonfield attended our annual meeting with Members, Affiliates, Supporting Organisations and Panel of Experts. Peter joined the discussions on the Bonfield Reveiw, Each Home Counts, and was accompanied by James Sharples of BEIS.


Although what is needed for retrofit can be stated quite simply, the 'how' of its implemented is where industry and experts need to get involved to make it work. 


The Alliance - representing Heritage, Industry and Sustainability - is keen to get across the need for a different approach to retrofit for solid-wall buildings. The obvious wealth of expertise amongst its members is well placed to contribute to the Each Home Counts workstreams. 


The STBA is also concerned that there be a focus on a whole house (responsible retrofit) approach. Without this there will be adverse effects on health (for the buildings and occupants) and a lost opportunity for greater carbon reduction. 


In addition, the implementation of of Each Home Counts needs to flag up existing problems caused by inadequate maintenance and inaapropriate measures and materials. Peter agreed that the construction industry needs to look at wider issues, including flooding.


To get involved with the STBA work, see how your organisation can join us as Members (not-for-profits) or Affiliates (for profits).

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Guest Speaker

Peter Bonfield, chair of the Bonfield Review &



SPAB's response to 'Rush to Insulate 25 Million Homes' Report - February 2017


"The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) warns that a report to Parliament today urging the Government to take urgent action to insulate 25 million homes by mid-century would set up a time bomb causing severe building defects in older, pre-1919 solid-walled properties and jeopardising the health of their occupants.

Use of the wrong type of insulation in older buildings constructed using traditional materials can be worse than adding no extra insulation at all. It causes dampness and rot, as well as discomfort for occupants, and increases incidences of respiratory conditions such as asthma. In addition it saves little, if any, energy."

Read SPAB's whole response here.

Falkirk Townscape Heritage Initiative 

Courses and Training 2016-2017


Events by the Falkirk THI include Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings with Historic Environment Scotland on 1st February 2017.


Falkirk THI is jointly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Historic Environment Scotland, Falkirk Council, and the Falkirk BID. Between 2013 and 2018 they plan to invest £5.5 million in the town centre with the aim of helping to regenerate the area through investing in its unique and rich heritage. 


More . . . 

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The Bonfield Review is published

December 2016


The Bonfield Review, "Each Home Counts" was published before Christmas.  The Review Team invites feedback on the recommendations and related proposals for action - deadline 31st January 2017. We shall be responding following discussions with our three chairs from Heritage, Industry and Sustainability.


Peter Bonfield will be speaking about the Review at our inaugural meeting of the STBA Advisory Group on 21st February 2017, when we shall be welcoming the views our Supporting Orgnisations, Affiliate Members and the Expert Panel of Experts.


Click here.

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Scottish House Condition Survey

December 2016

The Scottish Government has issued its Scottish House Condition Survey 2015

Amongst its findings is the need for proper maintenance of traditional buildings. In 2015 68% of pre-1919 homes had some ‘critical disrepair’, defined as ‘building disrepair central to weather-tightness, structural stability and preventing deterioration of the property’.

The STBA has long recognised the impact of disrepair on both the thermal performance and heritage value of buildings.  In 2017 we will commence our 'Memory & Maintenance' programme to highlight the issues.

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STBA Future Plans 

January 2017


The work we have planned falls into three programmes - Change, Continuity and Context. These coincide with many similar initiatives by organisations within the Alliance. The event for members on February 21st February will explore how the STBA and its member organisations can help each other progress our aims.

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Change: We shall build upon our existing work in Responsible Retrofit and form collaborations to extend knowledge, influence and resources towards energy efficiency for heritage buildings. Our focus is on the use of the whole-house approach.

Continuity: Our new Memory and Maintenance programme will provide research and guidance on how to use maintenance and repair to improve not only the performance of a building, but also the understanding of the occupants and those who work on the buildings. Moreover, this understanding and practical action can help to give people a sense of belonging and care for their homes and buildings, something which is often missing in policies about building performance and which can be undermined by modern trends to treat buildings simply as machines or financial assets.  There will be a research programme as well as the development of business models to take this work stream forward.

Context:  Are there sustainability benefits to the conservation of heritage, beyond ‘nice to have’? Our Context programme, prompted by Neil May’s ‘The Future of the Past’ paper, will explore why heritage is currently excluded from sustainability charters and policies.  It will open discussion on possible consequences of this as well as what heritage has to bring to sustainability in the 21st century.


STBA Joins Leading Retrofit Organisations for Response to Bonfield Review
January 2017 


The STBA also joined forces with leading retrofit organisation for an AECB led letter offering expertise to the workstreams set up to progress the recommendations of Each Home Counts.


Click here.

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STBA Response to Bonfield Review, Each Home Counts

January 2017


The STBA welcomes the Review’s acceptance of a whole-building approach to retrofit and the need for training/education and capacity building. We are also pleased to note that the Review recommends a bespoke and thorough assessment of each property prior to retrofit as well as recognising the need for some robust monitoring of retrofitted buildings. There is a commitment to make this information widely available and proposes an information hub - something that the STBA has long been championing.


However, the STBA is concerned that there is no focus on the required differences between treatment of older (solid-wall) buildings and modern (cavity-wall) buildings. To avoid repeating the mistakes and unintended consequences of the past, knowledge gathering is essential – both from existing research and new, real-life pilots of a full range of property types, retrofit measures and materials.


More on the Policy page and our full response can be downloaded by clicking on the icon below.

STBA Response to Each Home Counts

In addition to contributing to the STBA Response, the IHBC responded independently and their response can be downloaded here.

Also of interest, the CIOB response which can be downloaded here.

IHBC offers ‘5-point plan’ for the survival of Conservation Areas - January 2017


The IHBC supports the Parliamentary Debate on the 50th anniversary of Conservation Areas, on 26 January, inspired by Civic Voice’s ‘Big Conservation Conversation’. IHBC submitted data on the 35%+ decline in England’s conservation services over the last 10 years and has come up with its own ‘5-point plan’ for their survival.


IHBC Vice Chair Kathy Davies said: ‘With more than 6% of Conservation Areas at risk, and a decade-long collapse of more than 35% in the local authority specialists that are responsible for managing them, we hope our politicians can appreciate the scale of the problems faced by this conservation legacy in its anniversary year!’

Their  ‘5-Point Plan’ for cost-effective care of Conservation Areas, calls for:

  1. Consolidated management of residential alterations so that they are universal, comprehensible to owners, and administratively simple
  2. All Conservation Areas to have Appraisals and Management Plans in place, in line with the ‘good practice’ standard supported by Historic England
  3. Credible requirements for all Local Authorities to have access to – and be obliged to weigh carefully – expert heritage advice
  4. Realistic resourcing for conservation services in Local Authorities so they can carry out both their statutory functions and meet the demands made on them by local communities
  5. Arrangements and protocols that will reduce the damage that non-conservation organisations can do to Conservation Areas through poorly specified works and materials

More on the IHBC website blog. Click here. 

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