RIBA Conservation Architect

Growing up spending many hours in the grade I listed St. Mary’s Parish Church, Stockport with his father who was the vicar, Mark became familiar with historic buildings from an early age. In November he attended the RIBA Conservation Course in London. The purpose of the course is to achieve accreditation as a Conservation Architect which allows us to work on Historic England funded schemes.


The course covers the history of conservation in architecture looking in detail at the legislation, history, theory and practice of working with historic buildings. Much of the principals of working with historic buildings come from The International Council of Monuments and Sites, ‘ICOMOS’ which was founded in 1965 and is based in Paris and is the official advisor to UNESCO on World Heritage Site such as the Tower of London, the Acropolis in Athens and the Taj Mahal in India.


‘Guidelines for Education and Training in the Conservation of Monuments, Ensembles and Sites’ form the basis of the accreditation requiring an ability to read a monument, ensemble or site and identify its emotional, cultural and use significance. The guidelines require an understanding of their history and technology to define their identity, plan for their conservation and interpret the results of this research. It is important to work with inhabitants, administrators and planners to resolve conflicts and to develop conservation strategies appropriate to local needs, abilities and resources.


Conservation is about managing change in the historic environment. There are different regimes for ancient monuments, listed buildings and conservation areas. These include the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, there are around 12,500 grade I listed, 29,000 Grade 2* listed and 458,500 grade II listed in the UK. Building preservation notices allow temporary protection to historically significant buildings to prevent demolition. There are almost 9,800 conservation areas in England, Blackheath Conservation Area in Greenwich and Lewisham was the first area designated in London in 1968 shortly after the 1967 Civic Amenities Act.


Certificates of Lawfulness can be used to establish that works to a listed building do not require listed building consent, this can be useful for minor domestic alterations. Certificates of immunity from listing can be obtained to prevent buildings being listed during larger scale developments to allow clarity during the planning process. Non-designated heritage assets are buildings often referred to as locally listed buildings although they don’t have the statutory protection they do allow the council to be mindful of the cultural significance of these buildings when considering planning applications.


Mark Fairhurst Architects has extensive experience in designing buildings within historic environments, extending and altering listed buildings and working with planning authorities, conservation officers and heritage consultants to ensure our clients projects comply with the diverse requirements of conservation legislation. By working towards formal accreditation we will be able to build on this experience to further our work in this field.

St. Mary’s Parish Church, Grade 1 Listed (Photograph Clint Durban

Examples of our Conservation Work

24 Earlham Street, London: Roof Extension to a grade II listed building.
384-398 Commercial Road: Extension and change of use to a grade II listed building