It was great privilege to be a speaker at the National Federation of Builders Heritage Group Event on 13 March 19. It was held at the Tower of London – a secure fortress, royal palace and infamous prison!

My talk was on the challenges and lessons learnt in multidisciplinary heritage projects. It had particular reference to bringing modern designs in projects at world heritage sites which are naturally busy working places and to the implication of archaeological discoveries during construction. Key aspects in successful such projects often include:
• Good risk identification and an effective strategy for managing it. Special care is needed with CDP (Contractor’s Design Portion) which is often misunderstood.
• Excellent project management using critical path short term programmes for both construction and decision-making.
• Effective team working, humility and mutual respect throughout the entire project team.

The heritage sector is still a resource under threat with skills, experience and expertise being lost to future generations. Without these skills we will be unable to repair and care for our historic buildings. This highlights the need for immediate, strong and sustained action to prevent further erosion of the skills base. The conference comprised members of the NFB, National Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and other stakeholders. The conference heard keynote addresses from relevant and influential heritage industry stakeholders.

A particular encouragement was to see how the various participants in a heritage project such as client’s representative, main contractor, specialist subcontractor, planners, building control, conservation officers etc can work together in true collaboration to get a job completed to a high standard and at a fair price. Heritage work is so very different from most new build and the different skill sets needed across the project team are not always properly understood.

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