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Below left: Kynance Cove café on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall, pictured before the makeover that fi tted it with solar roof slates, and (left) the refi t in progress

pounds from our reserves to deal with the most urgent cases. As a result, a typical Building Surveyor will now have to project manage the renovation of several cottages each year, including the production of drawings and specifi cations. As the Trust is such a huge and complex

are located in stunning settings that are often also protected, and many are open all year round. In addition to building conservation, a signifi cant amount of our work relates to new-build projects such as visitor centres and farm buildings. We are proud of our reputation as

innovators in sustainability, and our project management framework ensures that this is built into all of our schemes. We were one of the fi rst organisations to use solar roof slates in the UK when, in 2005, we incorporated them into the refurbishment of Kynance Cove café in Cornwall, surely one of the most beautiful coastal locations in the country. We now have hundreds of examples of sustainable technology in our buildings and structures, typically including biomass boilers, solar photovoltaics, and ground and air-source heat pumps. This work is all organised by our Building Surveyors, who are kept abreast of the latest developments through our extensive training programme. It is indeed a privilege to work within

this environment – particularly for anyone passionate about heritage – but, as with all buildings, much of our time involves dealing with day-to-day repairs such as leaking roofs, defective gutters and drainage problems. Hardly the noble embodiment of history that we generally share with our visitors! Staying open and serving our many

constituencies are primary goals, especially now that we’re upgrading much of our estate. This process is partly driven by changes in the law governing residential lets – by 2018, all of our cottages will have to be brought up to EPC Level E when they’re vacant in order to be re-let. We have released millions of

beast, it has a pressing need to harmonise its IT systems. This includes the upgrade of the property system that is intended to enable surveyors and other advisory and property staff to monitor the progress of maintenance and project works, raise orders, pay invoices and receive reminders of when work is due. All Building Surveyors join an

organisation with a certain amount of construction knowledge and understanding that they improve upon over time. The big difference for Trust surveyors is that they also need to build up an awareness of conservation principles and legislation, and acquire experience of traditional building methods. We ensure that they gain this awareness within a short time of starting, and we have a “Spirit of Place” induction process that is integral to the Trust’s ethos.

And this is where the Trust comes into

its own. I’m confi dent that our training and development programme is at least as good as any other conservation organisation in the world. I believe that the courses available to our staff – internal and external – provide fi rst-class opportunities to learn from experts in the fi eld. I have been in my role for 13 years, and the breadth of knowledge within the organisation never fails to amaze me – and all of our experts are keen to pass on that knowledge and experience. We also have Assistant Surveyor posts, which we use as a means of “growing our own”. This is an important strategy, since we can’t afford to the same salaries as large construction companies, nor can we expect the diversity of our work always to make up for this. By nurturing new Building Surveyors, we’re able to provide them with the requisite specialist skills in conservation and a route into a rewarding career with the Trust.

Lords of all they survey

One of our Regional Lead Building Surveyors is Paul Wankiewicz (pictured), who is based at Hardwick Hall in the Midlands. He plays a pivotal role advising on technical issues, standards, training and development for a team of 15 Building Surveyors across the region. He also works on national and even international projects, including the development of the recently launched European Conservation Accreditation scheme. Paul has become a key adviser regionally and nationally for more than 150 directly employed craftsmen and women, including more than 30 apprentices. Another stalwart is Peter Bee, a Senior Building

Surveyor based in Cornwall. He started his career with us when he was 19 and has stayed for 35 years. His portfolio covers west Cornwall and includes two mansions, 12 farms, 50 tenanted cottages, 20 holiday cottages as well as many Cornish engine houses used in the copper mining industry, and included in the Botallack World Heritage Site. Emily Rimmer started in her role three years ago after

completing an MA in Conservation Studies in Historic Building at the University of York. She will shortly gain her professional qualifi cation, after which there will be opportunities to progress to a Building Surveyor role. Her portfolio covers the West Wycombe and Bradenham Estates in Buckinghamshire, where she has worked on conservation projects up to a value of £100,000.

“I’m confi dent that our training and development programme is at least as good as any other conservation organisation in the world”

I hope this resumé of the work of our Building Surveyors provides an insight into life at the National Trust. The role of a Trust surveyor is challenging, but it is also extremely rewarding – you need only think of your favourite Trust properties to know why. Being responsible for maintaining

and conserving some of the UK’s most treasured historic buildings and structures is more than a job, but, happily, it is our job. If you would like to make it yours, take a look at www. surveying to fi nd out more. Rory Cullen, head of buildings, the National Trust CM


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