The Three Ps of Building Conservation: Past ~ Pathology ~ Present

In order to help provide a logical pathway and also form an outline for training, I have created what I have called The Three Ps of Building Conservation – Past, Pathology, Planning.  The following sets out what these are.


To give an indication of what might be included I delivered a Masterclass in 2021 and the YouTube video of that presentation can be found here


For those interested in training, these subjects can be delivered individually, or grouped together, as required for an individual, small group, or organisation.




An exploration of Classicism, Vitruvius, Palladio, the classical orders of architecture, and its impact through the centuries.

Socio- economic History

How events have impacted construction. Looking at how historic events, social changes. specific Acts, taxes, etc., have influenced and impacted materials, construction methods, and styles over the centuries. 

Vernacular Architecture

What is it? Considering how transportation and geography affected the choice and use of materials.  A look at the regions and distribution of materials and types of construction.

Industrialisation & Science

How materials and their use developed.  The evolution of methods and materials.

Architectural History: pre-Georgian

A look at the various architectural styles and when materials were first used.  Period up to C18th.

Architectural History: Georgian

Considering the period of Georgian architecture and how the styles developed over the period.

Architectural History: Victorian and Edwardian

A period of significant changes as materials developed, were invented, and when new innovations were brought in.

Architectural History: Twentieth Century

Affected by two World Wars and the introduction of regulations, planning, etc. An overview of the period that saw the shift from what could be regarded as traditional buildings to modern.


Consideration of various materials and elements, looking at their history, performance and factors that lead to deterioration.


Various uses of timber in construction and framing, and the causes of timber deterioration. 

Masonry: brick

Use of masonry, the forms of wall structures, and consideration of how and why such materials may fail.

Masonry: stone

As above.

Masonry: earth

As above.

Roofs: man-made

Tiles and other man-made roof coverings.

Roofs: natural (hard)

Slate and stone roof coverings.

Roofs: natural (thatch)

The various forms of thatch, development, and what can lead to failure.

Roofs: metals

Lead, zinc, copper roof coverings.

Movement: ground

Causes of movement, investigation, and remedial work.

Movement: other

Causes of movement, investigation, and remedial work.


Sources, causes, and remediation. A look at a methodology for analysing damp problems.


The development of windows and glazing, and common problems.


The variety of joinery, its repair, and maintenance.


Consideration of conserving historic schemes and approaches to modern decoration in historic buildings (e.g. reproduction, realistic, sympathetic).


Planning for works and alterations and how to ensure a better future for buildings.

Conservation Philosophy and Principles

An overview of the philosophical approaches to conservation and the principles that underpin how we deal with historic buildings, heritage assets and sites.


The assessment of buildings and sites for specific purposes.

Problem Solving & Decision Making

Looking at the questions to ask and how we arrive at decisions to act, or not, and what degree of intervention may be appropriate.  What investigations might be appropriate, when and how to undertake.  The use of technology.


Heritage statements and making applications. A look at contraventions and enforcement.


Ongoing maintenance and monitoring.


Preparing schedules, specifications, and organising works.


Archaeology, recording buildings, works in progress, events, and creating a log book.