Finding a building professional

If your older property needs significant repairs or alterations you should seek advice from a building professional. We've info on finding a building professional such as an architect, engineer or surveyor who specialises in traditional buildings.

  • Find a qualified building professional
  • Learn about building professional regulatory bodies
  • Learn when you need advice from a building professional


Finding a building professional

When should I engage a building professional?

If you are considering significant repairs or alterations to a traditional building it is worth seeking advice from a building professional, such as an architect or surveyor, who has good traditional building experience. Consider engaging a Chartered Architect or Chartered Building Surveyor who is “Accredited” in Conservation from their professional institute. The number of accredited individuals is small so you may choose to work with someone who is not accredited. In this case make sure to ask to see evidence of previous conservation work on similar traditional buildings.

If you're looking for a building contractor to carry out work, read our guide on finding a contractor.

Where can I find the building professional I need?

Depending on the type of work you are undertaking, you may be looking to engage an architect, building surveyor or structural engineer.  The following tabs outline which qualifications or membership bodies to keep an eye out for.

Finding a qualified architect


The regulatory body for architects is the Architect Registration Board (ARB) The term 'architect' is protected in the UK and cannot be used by anyone who has not completed the required training and is not registered with ARB. You can check if an architect is registered on Architect Registration Board’s website.


There are two institutions for architects: The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).  Architects in Scotland have the option to join their institute in the UK or Scotland or both.

Royal Institute of British Architects

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) was founded in 1834. Individual architects and architects’ practices can be members of the RIBA. The Institute holds directories of chartered practices, chartered members, a client advisers directory (for a specialist adviser by locations and area of expertise) and a conservation register (for architects specialising in heritage properties). These should help you find the right specialist for traditional buildings.

Find an architect on the Royal Institute of British Architects website.

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) was founded in 1916. The RIAS is an incorporation of six chapters in Scotland including areas around Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling. For information on local architects based in Stirling, Falkirk and the Central Belt, visit the Stirling chapter (Stirling Society of Architects) website.

As with the RIBA, individual architects and architects’ practises can be members of the RIAS. RIAS holds a directory of all members and also specific directories of those with RIAS accreditation in the specialisms of Architectural Conservation, Sustainable Design and Design Certification.

Find a RIAS accredited specialist architect on their website.

Finding the right surveyor

Surveying is a broad area in terms of qualifications and specialisms which relates to all aspects of land and property. The different types of surveyors include valuation surveyor, quantity surveyor and building surveyor.

Whilst a valuation surveyor (also known as a general practice surveyor) will give advice on how much your property is worth for sale or lease, a building surveyor is an expert in the construction and fabric of a building. If you require advice on a repair matter you should approach a building surveyor.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Unlike architects, the term ‘surveyor’ is not protected but in order to become a ‘chartered surveyor’ an individual must pass an assessment of professional competence which is set by the RICS. Surveyors who have the letters MRICS or FRICS after their name are chartered surveyors and are required to meet and maintain the professional requirements set by the RICS.

Check if your surveyor is RICS qualified in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors website.

Surveyors can also be building conservation accredited. Search for a surveyor in your area and filter by conservation.

Finding the right engineer

Like surveying, engineering covers a wide spectrum of activity. You are most likely to be seeking a structural engineer if you are altering your property or have concerns over its structural integrity.

The Engineering Council

If registered with the Engineering Council an engineer will have one or some of the following letters after their name: CEng (Chartered Engineer), IEng (Incorporated Engineer), EngTech (Engineering Technician).

The Engineering Council holds a national register of over 235,000 engineers and technicians. You can get help finding an engineer on the Engineering Council website. 

In the UK the Engineering Council sets and maintains internationally recognised standards of professional competence and ethics for the engineering profession. These are detailed in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC).

The award and retention of these titles ensures the individual is a member of a relevant professional engineering institution (PIE) licensed by the Engineering Council. Those holding the titles have demonstrated they have met their institutes technical and professionally competencies.