About the SPAB Briefing series

SPAB Briefings offer a summary of recent work by the Society. They contain views and information from specialists and members of the Society's staff. Briefings aim to offer cutting-edge information to help both owners and building professionals.

Editor: Roger Hunt is an award winning writer and blogger specialising in sustainability, old houses, housebuilding and traditional and modern building materials. He is the co-author of Old House Handbook and the companion volume Old House Eco Handbook which you can purchase from our bookshop. Website: Twitter: @huntwriter

Design: Made In Earnest Advertising: Hall-McCartney Printing: Pensord

SPAB Briefing: Windows & doors

Old windows and doors are an intrinsic part of our heritage. They bring texture and life to many old buildings, helping to stir our spirits and perceptions, but they are threatened as never before. The third SPAB Briefing aims to encourage a better understanding of these valuable assets. SPAB Briefing: Windows & doors is available to download (PDF 7MB).

Martin Ashley and Mandy Lorenz, Martin Ashley Architects
Joe Bispham, historic buildings adviser, carpenter and joiner
Paul Baker, Glasgow Caledonian University
Ben Sinclair, Norgrove Studios   
Richard Phillips, locksmith
Mark Hines, director at Mark Hines Architects
Catharine Bull, historic buildings surveyor
Geoff Wallis, Geoff Wallis Conservation
Laura Stevens, L V Stevens & Co and chair of the Traditional Paint Forum

Useful links
Brooking National Architectural Museum
Master Locksmiths Association 
Traditional Paint Forum

SPAB courses
Old House Handbook and Old House Eco Handbook available in the SPAB Bookshop.

Glossary of lock terminology (PDF 70KB)
Technical paper 1: Thermal performance of traditional windows, prepared for Historic Scotland by Paul Baker, Glasgow Caledonian University, October 2008 (PDF 1.2MB)
Window of opportunity: The environmental and economic benefits of specifying timber window frames, Christian Thompson, WWF-UK, July 2005 (PDF 1.8MB)

SPAB Briefing: Lime

An understanding of lime is fundamental to the repair and long-term protection of our historic buildings. Lime-based materials are also emerging into the mainstream within low carbon construction systems. The SPAB, in association with the Building Limes Forum, has produced a Briefing on lime, the second in our Briefing series. SPAB Briefing: Lime is available to download.

Carsten Hermann, building conservation advisor, Historic Scotland
Tim Ratcliffe, architect, Tim Ratcliffe Associates
Philip Hughes, chartered building surveyor, Philip Hughes Associates
Nigel Gervis, director Tŷ-Mawr Lime
Eoin Madigan, Irish stonemason and recent SPAB William Morris Craft Fellow
Andrew Townsend, Andrew Townsend Architects
Joe Orsi, Orsi Historic Building Consultants
Jeremy Blake, partner at Purcell and convener of the Building Limes Forum
Martin Brown, historic building consultant and director WarmCote

Useful links
Building Limes Forum

SPAB courses
Old House Handbook and Old House Eco Handbook available in the SPAB Bookshop

Henry, A. & Stewart, J. (eds.), 2011. Mortars, renders and plasters. (Practical Building Conservation) London, UK: Ashgate, in association with English Heritage.
Brocklebank, I. (ed.), 2012. Building limes in conservation. Shaftesbury, Dorset, UK: Donhead, in association with Building Limes Forum.
Snow, J. & Torney, C., 2014. Lime mortars in traditional buildings. (Short Guides, 6) Edinburgh, UK: Historic Scotland. Available at:
Wingate, M., 19XX. An introduction to building limes. (Information Sheet, 9) London, UK: Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.
British Standards Institution, 2010. BS EN 459-1:2010 Building Lime: Part 1: Definitions, specifications and conformity criteria. London, UK: BSI.
Elsevier: Studies of hair for use in lime plaster: Implications for conservation and new work, Craig J. Kennedy, William A. Revie, Lore Troalen, Matthew Wade, Tim J. Wess.

SPAB Briefing: Energy efficiency in old buildings

Old buildings are sustainable, their very existence demonstrates this, but they can still frequently benefit from sensitive, well-informed energy efficiency measures. The SPAB’s first Briefing aims to explore, through the words of some of the leading practitioners in the field, the methods, materials and debates that will ensure our old buildings continue to be sustainable. Energy efficiency in old buildings (PDF 7.3MB) is available to download.

Geoff Rich, Partner, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios 
James Ayres, Director, Lime Green Products
Russell Smith, Managing Director, Parity Projects
Chris Wood, Head, English Heritage’s Building Conservation and Research Team
Calum Duncan, Senior Architect, Malcolm Fraser Architects
Neil May, Managing Director, Natural Building Technologies
Paul Mallion, Director, Conker Conservation
Steven Coulsting, Consultant, Encraft

Useful links
ASBP (Alliance for Sustainable Building Products)
English Heritage, climate change and your home
Green Deal
Historic Scotland
Planning Portal
Renewable Heat Incentive
STBA (Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance)

Useful Links
Foster’s Mill at Swaffham Prior
Howsham Mill Renewable Heritage Trust
SPAB Mills

House Planning Help: Douglas Kent, SPAB technical and research director, talks to Ben Adam-Smith in the podcast 'Are Conservation Techniques Becoming More Energy Efficient?'

Old House Eco Courses
Old House Handbook and Old House Eco Handbook
Re-using Existing Buildings Towards Sustainable Regeneration, School of Architecture: Place Culture & Identity Group working paper (PDF 368KB)

Sustainable Heritage Toolkit
Warmer Bath (PDF 1.7MB), a guide to improving the energy efficiency of traditional homes in the city of Bath
Window of Opportunity: The Environmental and Economic Benefits of Specifying Timber Window Frames (PDF 1.8MB)