Recent Events - Feedback

Sustainability of Traditional Buildings - STBA-SPAB Conference - 7th June 2018


A full house of delegates, speakers and exhibitors joined STBA and SPAB for the annual joint conference on 7th June 2018.

This event was kindly sponsored by our members, the Property Care Association and Alan Baxter kindly provided the venue.

The programme can be seen here.


We are in the process of uploading the presentations - click here to see what is currently available.

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STBA Members Meeting, London

20th February 2018


We welcomed our Members and guests to the 2018 Advisory Group Meeting on 20th February.


In addition to discussions on our work programmes for the coming months - and hot topics of concern to our members - we were very pleased to have speakers from BEIS on the topics of PRS and ECO. These were Senior Policy Advisors, Tamara Dimova & Rita Varsani, respectively.


The STBA and it's Supporting Organisations are continuing to have dialogue with BEIS on the concerns we have regarding the assessment and retrofit of older buildings.

The BEIS presentation can be downloaded here.


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Heritage, Environment & Industry: Common Ground and Conflicts‬ - November 2017

We would like to thank all those who joined us for our Sustainability & Heritage 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.


A summary of the conclusions can be downloaded here.

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STBA Advisory Group Meeting

21st February 2017, London


Our annual Advisory Group meeting is a get together of Members, Affiliates, Supporting Organisations and Panel of Experts to discuss the future programme priorities of our members and possible projects for the STBA.

With collaboration being key to maintaining, upgrading and promoting the sustainability aspects of older buildings, the STBA is best placed to bring together organisations from Heritage, Industry and Sustainability.

How Organisations Get Involved

The new membership for not-for-profits was launched at the meeting.

Supporting Organisations now have the opportunity of working closer with STBA as full members. This will enable them to get involved with our programmes and working groups, especially where these overlap with their own projects.

Full membership will include the additional benefits already enjoyed by our Affiliate Members, such as our Policy Mapping updates and reduced rates for delegates and exhibitors at our events.


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

Guest Speaker - Peter Bonfield

We were pleased to welcome to the meeting, guest speaker, Peter Bonfield together with James Sharples of BEIS. Discussions centred around Each Home Counts, and our three sectors - Heritage, Industry and Sustainability - gave their viewpoints on the report.


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 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.

More about the Bonfield Review on our Policy page.


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STBA London Masterclass series

June-December 2016


The 2016 STBA Masterclass series focused on various aspects of Responsible Retrofit (whole house) to advance the knowledge of those involved with the thermal upgrade of solid-wall buildings. Without consideration of the building physics, context and condition of an existing building, isolated retrofit measures are doomed to failure.  The sessions provided essential information for energy efficiency, health and the preservation of our heritage. 


The delegates included surveyors, conservation officers, town planners, architects, energy assessors and heritage consultants from the spheres of sustainability, heritage and industry. In addition, members of our panel of experts were invited to attend and join the discussions.


Comments received from delegates - “extremely useful and thought provoking”, “excellent and much needed”, “very informative”.

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The 2016 series covered four themes:

Internal Wall Insulation with Neil May – June 2016
Insulation, moisture movement & thermal bridging – the physics, the evidence and strategies to reduce risk for solid wall buildings. Neil was joined by Valentina Marincioni of UCL.

Ventilation, Energy Efficiency & Old Buildings with Ian Mawditt – September 2016

Energy efficiency can change the way moisture behaves in a building – a  planned ventilation strategy, essential for the health of the occupants & building fabric. 

Surveying Retrofitted Buildings with Richard Oxley – October 2016

Assessment of old buildings before, during and after refurbishment – advice on what needs to be considered.

The Whole House Approach with Nicholas Heath – December 2016
Nick was joined by Bob Prewett and Ian Mawditt, explaining the whole house/building approach to retrofit and demonstrating how it should be applied in practice to solid-wall buildings – from the deep retrofit of individual buildings to wider schemes addressing whole portfolios of traditional buildings.

Nick was joined by Ian Mawditt and architect Bob Prewett (of  Prewett Bizley).

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Our trainers:

Neil May is recognised as a leading authority in sustainable building, in both academia and industry. In addition to being CEO for the STBA, Neil is a Senior research Fellow at UCL IEDE.  He is also MD of the UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings.

Valentina Marincioni is a researcher in building physics at UCL IEDE with a background in Thermo-Mechanical Engineering; her experience in moisture risk and durability of sustainable buildings led her to collaborate with heritage bodies on the impact of energy efficiency interventions on traditional buildings.

Ian Mawditt of Fourwalls Consultancy.  Ian is an independent building researcher, specialising in the field of energy performance, occupant comfort but is best known for his work on ventilation and retrofit. Ian’s work has provided an evidence base for informing building performance standards and he was involved in the development of revisions to Part F and Part L of the Building Regulations. Ian is engaged by Innovate UK as an expert under the Building Performance Evaluation programme, and provided technical guidance for the Retrofit for the Future programme.

Richard Oxley of Oxley Conservation. Richard is a full member of the IHBC and is an RICS Certified Historic Building Professional. Richard founded Oxley Conservation, a specialist historic buildings consultancy, in 1997. His publications include “Survey and Repair of Traditional Buildings – A Sustainable Approach” and he jointly drafted CIBSE’s “Guide to Building Services for Historic Buildings – Sustainable Services for Traditional Buildings’.

Nicholas Heathour Associate Technical Director. Nick has led award-winning projects, regarded internationally as examples of best practice in historic building retrofit and has developed city-wide strategies for solid-wall responsible retrofit. Nick is the author of numerous technical papers, guides and planning guidance and is well-known for his technical training and high-profile research into solid wall insulation.

Bob PrewettArchitect. Bob is a founding partner of Prewett Bizley Architects and member of the RIBA Sustainable Futures Group. Prewett Bizley are well-known for achieving high levels of thermal performance (to Passivhaus standard) whilst retaining heritage features and character.

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We would like to thank the sponsors of the drinks and networking that followed each session, Ecological Building Systems, Enviroform and Aereco.

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Following the success of our 2016 series, 

our Masterclasses for 2017 will be commencing in the Spring. 

Details to follow.


May 2016, Cambridge

PCA Conference - Moisture in Buildings


We were very pleased to join our Affiliates, the Property Care Association, at their recent Conference in Cambridge focusing on the important issue of Moisture in Buildings.  All three sessions – Resilience, Mould & Air Quality and Emerging Challenges – were well received by delegates and it was under the last of these themes that our Neil May and Nick Heath spoke.


Neil informed delegates about the UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings, the reasons for its creation and future goals and Nick Heath’s presentation focused on the use of external wall insulation in retrofit.


Also speaking at the event was BRE’s Colin King who talked about unintended consequences of retrofit works, Dr Hector Altermarino (Mould in buildings: implications and causes in occupied spaces) and Caoimhin Connell (A perspective on mould from the USA. Debunking misinformation about the causes, implications and remediation).


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February 2015, Edinburgh

Hygrothermal Assessment and Simulation 

in Building Conservation and Retrofit 

Historic Scotland's Hygrothermal Seminar, provided an overview of the various hygrothermal topics relevant to the conservation and retrofit of older historic buildings. Following an introductory presentation by Ewan Hyslop and Carsten Hermann of Historic Scotland, Joseph Little of Building Life Consultancy and Chris Sanders of Glasgow Caledonian University discussed the two principal methods currently used for hygrothermal assessments of building construction –the Glaser method and numerical simulation– together with associated standards and software tools. 

State-of-the-art methods for moisture measurements in situ were presented by Caroline Rye of ArchiMetrics and Valentina Marincioni of University College London. Focussing more specifically on material deterioration, Christopher Hall of the University of Edinburgh described the multitude of factors involved in moisture evaporation and Stephen McCabe of Northern Ireland Environment Link discussed the impact of increased rain water penetration on stone deterioration processes at a chemical and physical microscale. 

This was complemented by Joseph Hagg of Adaptation Scotland with an overview about the availability of data on weather and climate change and by Paul Baker, Mark Phillipson and Chris Sanders of Glasgow Caledonian University with two presentations about the hygrothermal monitoring at, and associated simulations of, a Historic Scotland site project in Glasgow. In addition to the ten presentations, WUFI computer simulations and on site moisture monitoring techniques were demonstrated.

The seminar was organised to launch the publication of Historic Scotland Technical Paper 15 about Assessing Insulation Retrofits with Hygrothermal Simulation, authored by Joseph Little, Calina Ferraro and Beñat Arregi, all of whom are current or former members of Building Life Consultancy."


Speakers Presentations:

Ewan Hyslop & Carsten Hermann  Ewan Hyslop & Carsten Hermann Presentation [pdf, 5.1mb]
Chris Sanders  Chris Sanders Presentation [pdf, 2.8mb]
Joseph Little  Joseph Little Presentation [pdf, 2.3mb]
Christopher Hall  Christopher Hall Presentation [pdf, 767kb]
Caroline Rye  Caroline Rye Presentation [pdf, 1.9mb]
Valentina Marincioni  Valentina Marincioni Presentation [pdf, 1.5mb]
Joseph Hagg  Joseph Hagg Presentation [pdf, 3.1mb]
Stephen McCabe  Stephen McCabe Presentation [pdf, 1.0mb]
Paul Baker & Mark Phillipson  Paul Baker & Mark Phillipson Presentation [pdf, 1.1mb]
Chris Sanders  Chris Sanders Presentation [pdf, 751kb]


Also available at

Overview of the event, courtesy of Historic Scotland website:

"Hygrothermal building physics describes the intrinsically linked transport of heat and moisture. Moisture is a major factor in determining the performance and durability of solid masonry construction. Because of the coupled nature of heat and moisture transport, energy efficiency retrofits not only improve the thermal performance of building fabric, but almost always change its moisture performance also, often altering equipoised conditions. 

To prevent accelerated material deterioration, understanding the hygrothermal impacts of building alterations –from preservation actions to energy efficiency improvements– is particularly critical for structures exposed to significant levels of rain water and/or indoor vapour. Severe internal conditions can be created by inappropriate high-performance retrofits. Severe conditions of external exposure exist particularly at Scotland’s northern and western coastal regions and will get more extreme due to climate change.


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Responsible Retrofit Training for Bristol 

Internal Wall Insulation: Installer Training, 3rd & 4th October
Solid Wall Insulation: Professionals Training 10th & 11th October 


Bristol City Council recognises the need for both written retrofit guidance and skilled people to make this happen.


Following on from our ‘Bristolian’s Guide to Solid Wall Insulation’, we have developed 2-day Responsible Retrofit training courses with the Council, covering both external and internal wall insulation. Together with Green Register, we are currently piloting separate courses for installers and for designers.  


The courses are designed to give practical help for the different types of construction and situations encountered in Bristol.  To this end, a dedicated training rig has been built for the first pilot. The courses will culminate in a test to ascertain whether or not the desired level of knowledge and competence has been achieved.    Site visits and other quality assurance will follow.  The aim of these courses is to give successful installers and designers a new Bristol Kitemark, a sign of quality assurance for both householders and the Council.


Matthew Smith (NBT) will join STBA's Neil May and Nicholas Heath as trainers for the Installer Training.  These trainers will be joined by Rob Woodhouse for the Professionals' Training.


About the trainers: 

  • Matthew Smith is Retrofit Manager at Natural Building Technologies (NBT), primarily focusing on technical support for the application of natural insulation products to existing buildings. Project management experience on numerous traditional building renovations, an MSc in Environmental and Energy Studies, and subsequent specialisation in moisture transfer and its effects on building fabric have given Matthew a valuable combination of theoretical expertise and practical experience. Matthew will lead on the IWI rig work for this course.
  • Neil May is CEO of the STBA, and led the development of Bristol’s technical guidance and subsequent training courses. Neil is also an experienced builder and is the Founder of NBT, a leading sustainable construction company developing and supplying insulation products for both new-build and retrofit. In addition, he is a Senior Research Associate at UCL’s Institute for Environmental Design & Engineering, and Managing Director of the newly-formed UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings.
  • Nicholas Heath is Technical Director of the STBA, and led the delivery of Bristol’s technical guidance and subsequent training courses. He is also Director of NDM Heath Ltd, an independent sustainable energy consultancy specialising in traditional building retrofit. Nicholas has many years’ experience of retrofitting older and historic buildings, and of teaching at all levels – he is a part-time lecturer at the University of York, and delivers regular professional training courses for designers, installers and surveyors across the UK.
  • Rob Woodhouse is a qualified Passivhaus tradesman with over 25 years’ experience of installing EWI systems across Europe, and has attained a recognised Austrian qualification for the theory and practice of installing EWI. Rob regularly provides technical advice and training for both designers and installers, and will lead the EWI rig work on this course.


More events for 2015 or 2013&2014