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CBCS – Talking Conservation Series – Is That Crack Serious? – Thaxted

5 December 2023 - 09:00 - 17:30

5th December 2023

Thaxted Guildhall, Town St, Thaxted, CM6 2LA

£125 + VAT* plus booking fee

Training Instructors

This course will be taught by two of the leading surveyors in the country:  Prof. Duncan Philips FRICS and Stephen Boniface FRICS

Duncan is one of the UK’s most experienced Chartered Building Surveyors regarding historic and Listed Buildings, having been doing this work for over 30 years.   He runs Listed Building Surveys and he is Chair of the RICS Building Conservation Steering Group. He is the lead author of the new RICS Professional Standard – Conservation of Heritage Buildings and Assets, which will be published in 2024.  Duncan teaches building surveying, architectural history, building pathology and building conservation to undergraduate, postgraduate and mature students and also to the general public and the trades.

Stephen started his career, over 40 years ago, in general practice, then became involved in building conservation over 30 years ago. During this period Stephen has also been involved in many litigation cases as an Expert Witness and brings this experience into his training.  Stephen is a past Chair of the RICS Building Conservation Forum and of the RICS Building Surveying Faculty Group.  He was a partner in Whitworth – a firm of Architects & Surveyors, but now concentrates on training fellow professionals.

Course Format

This training is provided in-person.

Develop confidence and competence in your structural inspection and report writing skills to improve the quality of your work, reduce the risk of negligence claims and provide a better service for your client.

With specific reference to older buildings, the day will look at the inspection process, diagnosis, decision making and report writing.  Develop a decision-making process that leads to justifiable, practical and pragmatic advice for clients.

A structural inspection within a building survey should be far more than simply seeing a crack or a bowing wall and immediately creating considerable concern of a structural failure.  The client expects more than this snap judgement.



This training would suit professionals from a wide variety of disciplines including residential surveyors and valuers, building surveyors, architects, and structural engineers at all levels of training or experience.

This training is open and available to everyone.  Please do consider your own personal circumstances and your ability to use stairs as this is very likely to apply to the venue, town walk and/or any private property visit.  There may be uneven terrain and during any walkabout we may be crossing roads. Do let us know if you require any reasonable adjustments and we can discuss this further and try to adapt where possible.


The output of any building inspection or building survey is a written report.  Every surveyor will be judged by the quality of the report produced.  You might be the best surveyor ever, but if you can’t write a good report, based upon a thorough understanding of the property, then you are at risk of complaints from your client and open yourself up to potential negligence claims.

You will be within a safe and nurtured group of like-minded people.   Use the opportunity to ask any questions that arise.  There is no such thing a silly question.

By the end of the training you will be able to do and know the following..:

  • Understand how and why buildings may sometimes crack or move
  • Diagnosis and decision making leading to options for the client
  • Have a greater awareness of what is serious, and what isn’t
  • How to use photos in your report
  • Have better confidence in yourself
  • Understand about writing a professional and well presented report for your client


This course will cover..:

  • RICS complaints, public perception and professional standards
  • The relevance of the RICS Home Survey Standard 2019
  • What does the client really need to know?
  • Understanding the building and its context
  • Consequences of alterations and additions
  • Subsidence, and how it is different to other types of structural movement
  • Monitoring options
  • Recommendations and prioritising actions the client should take

Typical Programme

(Hot and cold drinks provided throughout the day).

9 to 9:30 – Arrival

9:45 – Introductions

10:00 to 12:30 – Talk and discussions

12:30 to 15:00 – Lunch (bring your own sandwich lunch) and town walk

A town walk during which we will discuss the buildings we see. Delegates will be free to take photos, sketch, etc. Subject to weather and general access, we will look at a variety of different buildings to consider matters under discussion. Along the way there will be plenty of opportunity to consider different buildings and structural issues that might apply to them.

15:00 – Talk and discussions.  We will discuss the buildings seen and how to make decisions on their structural integrity.

17:00 to 17:30 – Q&A – Close and depart.

Case Study Examples

Please feel free to bring your usual report writing templates with you, in paper format and/or on your electronic devices.  We will discuss use of modern technology.

The day will be flexible and will be adjusted to suit the delegates.   As these are small group sessions there will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions and discuss matters that arise during the day. Feel free to raise matters that you wish to consider and discuss.


This training will provide about 7 hours of formal CPD.


5 December 2023
09:00 - 17:30
Event Category:


Centre for Building Conservation Studies
View Organiser Website


Thaxted Guildhall
Thaxted, Essex CM6 2LA + Google Map

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