Context 161 - September 2019

50 C O N T E X T 1 6 1 : S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 9 in traditional buildings, regardless of special protection, should have to achieve the Level 3 award, but as it stands only a tiny proportion will, which must be seen as a failing. On the face of it, some low-risk areas are covered as, for example, a retrofit coordina- tor or a qualified architectural technologist is required. For higher risks, higher ranking professionally qualified designers with member- ship of a professional institution are required. However, where the highest risk category is concerned and the building is tradition- ally built, the designer will also need to be a member of a building conservation competency scheme. Crucially, though, that does not have to be in the highest membership category: the Registrant categories of the RIBA and CIOB schemes would provide the threshold attain- ment level. At this level there is no guarantee that individuals will have demonstrated abilities to undertake significance analyses and herit- age impact assessments. Furthermore, only the CIOB scheme has energy efficiency and sustainability as part of the scheme assessment criteria. Although not mentioned in PAS 2035, this should all point towards training concerning traditional buildings that should be delivered by individuals who are conservation accredited or certified. While a fair attempt has been made to ensure that individuals are competent, none of the requirements in PAS 2035 mean that individu- als have demonstrated that they can do what they are required to do in the workplace. Some building conservation competency schemes may provide a model for the type of robustness that needs to be taken when it comes to indi- viduals demonstrating competency in retrofit. Measured judgments Despite these issues, PAS 2035 should allow for a substantial improvement to how UK homes are retrofitted, but it still poses risks for traditional buildings. It requires a proper assessment of a building, and well-considered proposals and specifications of what works should be carried out. It aims to make the necessary improvements by providing detailed requirements that cover building pathology, thermal modelling and calculations, ventila- tion, interactions between energy efficiency measures, testing, commissioning, monitoring and evaluation. It also has some very specific technical requirements in relation to ventila- tion and the calculation of energy loss, for example, even though much of this is stated as optional. This may seem like a way of avoiding compliance, but in reality, it means that those involved in projects can make measured judg- ments. In the case of traditional buildings, this is a huge advantage, as a risk-based approach is often the only feasible way forward. As with any standard, time will tell how effective PAS 2035 is. A review has already been scheduled for 18 months’ time to ensure that the standard achieves its ultimate goal of improving the energy efficiency of UK homes by improving retrofitting practices. John Edwards is a trustee of the IHBC, representing theWales branch; coordinator of the institute’s technical panel; a director of Edwards Hart Consultants and the Environment Study Centre; professor of practice at the University of Wales Trinity St David; and a member of the BSI PAS 2030 and PAS 2035 steering groups and Retrofit Standards Task Group. Training Retrofit coordinator training is available at the Retrofit Academy ( and at the Environment Study Centre for Sustainable Buildings (environmentstudycentre .org), which specialises in training and qualifications in retrofitting traditional buildings.