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Conservation row heats up north of border

One of the founding fathers of accreditation for conservation architects in Scotland has called for radical reforms in the process's English equivalent.

Leading Scottish conservation architect James Simpson has called on a radical overhaul in the workings of the Register of Architects Accredited in Building Conservation (AABC).

Simpson was one of the people instrumental in setting up a similar system in Scotland via his membership of the RIAS committee that oversaw its birth.

But he has now told the AJ that there should be 'varying degrees of accreditation to the register [in England], preferably three'.

He said: 'It should be relatively easy for young-ish architects to get onto the lowest rung of the register. It should also be an attractive prospect for them to try to climb to the highest level.'

The architect claims that such a system would go part-way to solving the problem of young, inexperienced conservation architects not being able to make their way on to the register.

To get on to the register, architects must already have several conservation projects under their belt (AJ+ 23.08.05).

Yet two years ago English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund decided to only offer grants to conservation architects who are on the register.

Meanwhile, another practitioner has made a formal complaint to the Office of Fair Trading regarding the workings of the AABC.

Glasgow-based Jim Cuthbertson has added to fellow conservation architect Ian Salisbury's call on the office to take action against the current system, citing similar complaints to those of Simpson.

by Rob Sharp

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