Yesterday I was at the “drill hall” in Chepstow for a meeting of the National Trust building conservation advisory group. (BCAG). (the acronym always reminds me of an injection I received whilst at school, but that says more about me) I have been a member of this little multi-disciplinary team for a few years now. The team draws its expertise from every corner of the Trust, which ranges from building surveyors to archaeologists, curators to outside experts. The purpose of the group as i see it is to provide advice, guidance and policy on the conservation the management and care of our historic buildings and curtilages. With so many buildings (29000) and projects happening this forum is an ideal way of providing a consistency in our approaches; for example car park development ( yes i know…life at the edge) but this is much-needed if you have hundreds of them. We cover everything from ergonomics, to archaeology…aesthetics to environmental impact. The sum result is a useful tool kit and often followed by a whole Trust training package on all sorts of areas.
In the meeting today I agreed to work on the technical side of windows because the multiple inquiries across the NT on uPVC vs other materials. What is our stand point and what do we need to consider? Rory is finalising a historic building specifying book (and yes sorry I will finish the chapter on sustainability) Ingrid has re-developed our building design guide. Then on to Fit for the future ‘light’ training for all of the property managers across the NT…and so on. The group is well-respected across the NT because they ‘do stuff’ and help. Its success is in finding the balance between many seemingly disparate aspects; energy vs aesthetic, archaeology vs building security and so on. It may not all be huge hydros and castles but looking after the detail makes the big stuff so much easier.