Repair Course

THE REPAIR OF OLD BUILDINGS COURSE: an introduction to the SPAB conservation approach

'The course has a reputation for being a life-changing experience. It certainly felt that way to me. The theoretical and technical teaching, coupled with site visits, makes it a unique experience.'
Past Repair Course delegate

This popular short course has been presented by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings since the 1950s. Run over five days, this course delivers an intensive programme of lectures and visits to building repair projects. It runs twice a year - in the spring and the autumn.

Presented by leading building conservation professionals, the Repair Course considers British and international approaches to the conservation of old buildings.  The SPAB philosophy of repair and maintenance - established by William Morris in 1877 - underpins the course programme of case studies, presentations and site visits.


The Repair Course offers an introductory to intermediate level of learning about building conservation. The course welcomes students and professionals interested in deepening their understanding of old buildings, and who may be interested in developing work in this area.
Past delegates on this course have included:
Architectural Technologists;
Building Surveyors;
Buildings Archaeologists;
Conservation Officers and Planners;
Craftsmen and women;
Project Officers and Managers;
Structural Engineers and others.

The Repair Course aims to introduce delegates to the philosophy of conservative repair, specifically the SPAB approach to repairing old buildings. The course will also highlight the importance of maintaining old buildings. Through delivery of the course programme, the fabric and features of an old buildings will be considered, as well as environmental and social influences on building conservation.


The Repair Course offers a five day programme of lectures and site visits.

The course delivers three days (Monday, Tuesday and Friday) of presentations by practicing building conservation professionals and SPAB staff. The course is based in London.
Lecture themes include:
Laws and Planning;
Control of Dampness;
Structural Appraisal and Repairs;
Lime and Earth;
Windows and Glass;
Plasterwork and much more.

From churches to stately homes and historical gems, two days of the course (Wednesday and Thursday) are dedicated to visiting buildings under repair in London and further afield. Previous visits have included the Tower of London, Bletchley Park, Ely Cathedral, Hampton Court Palace, Royal Hospital Chelsea and Wilton's Music Hall.

Importantly, the course provides an opportunity to meet like-minded professionals to share information and experiences with.

For a sample of the course programme, download the PROGRAMME OVERVIEW from the May 2017 Repair Course. 

There is no formal assessment for this course; delegates will receive a Certificate of Attendance on completion of the course.
The Repair of Old Buildings Course is recognised by the IHBC for CPD, and the RIBA for Career Learning.


'It was a great course – the best CPD I have ever attended. It is already making a huge difference to my everyday work.'


'The thorough explanation of basic principles reinforced my confidence and my knowledge base.'
Project Engineer

'The discussions/site visits made me think about philosophy - my own and in relation to projects. Some lectures were directly relevant to my work and this gave me food for thought in relation to these topics.'

Conservation Officer

'The broadness of the overview of the course, the visits and the lecture topics were great. The opportunity to discuss the various topics, projects and approaches with others from such a variety of professions was also very useful.'


'The flexibility of the SPAB Philosophy and its varied applications was most useful - good to have plenty of practical examples, especially from onsite visits.'
Church Maintenance Support Officer

'Having such experienced craftspeople and architects giving the lectures and site visits was extremely useful. Visiting active sites really helped to assist my understanding of the lecture material.'


'The immersion into conservation was total and there was a real sense of emerging a different practitioner at the end of the week!'



The next course will run from 9-13 October 2017. This course is now  * FULLY BOOKED * 

The course fee for 2017 is £805 - this includes insurance, one night accommodation (Wednesday) with transport and meals during the site visits only. The fee also includes one year individual membership to the SPAB. Delegates are responsible for their own transport, meals and accommodation on all other days of the course.


The SPAB has a small fund to allow it to award bursaries to individuals who might not otherwise be able to afford a place on the Repair Course.
We are grateful to Donald Insall Associates for their support to the fund, in memory of their colleague and former SPAB Scholar Peter Locke (1929 – 2012).
Please note that a bursary does not necessarily equate to the full course fee.

The deadline for bursary applications for the course on 9-13 October 2017 has now passed.  


us or telephone +44 (0)20 7377 1644 for more information about the Repair Course or the bursary.

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