The RIBA has agreed a deal with the Architects Accredited in Building Conservation group (AABC) to develop a joint register of architects approved to work on listed buildings.
The new body - the only one of its kind in the UK - is seeking to address concerns raised earlier this year after English Heritage decided it would only provide funding for conservation projects by an accredited architect (AJ 20.2.03).
Critics attacked the heritage body's move, which was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, pointing out that the AABC has only 97 members, who each pay £50 a year.
But both the institute and the AABC hope the new 'RIBA Register of Architects Accredited in Building Conservation' will increase membership by marketing the register and so ease these concerns.
RIBA president George Ferguson said he was delighted to have made the breakthrough. 'This is an important move that marks the RIBA's renewed involvement in the historic building sector, ' he said.
'I am determined that we put ourselves at the centre of this process, in order to contribute fully and ensure that through good architecture we help protect and enhance our historic buildings and areas, ' Ferguson added.
The register - which is for architects, not practices - will be open to all UK registered architects who have been accredited by the AABC. All new members will be appraised and assessed as to their individual knowledge and experience in conservation work.