Stone Federation Great Britain’s Stone Heritage Group is dedicated to the heritage sector of the natural stone industry and promoting the use of Federation members for heritage projects.
Retaining Britain’s built heritage relies on the conservation and restoration of natural stone buildings.
Churches, monuments, town halls and residential properties, great and small, across the British Isles depend on the skills and expertise of the natural stone industry’s restoration and conservation sector.
The most common challenge faced by those looking to care for these historic structures is selecting the correct professional to undertake the work.
The question that most often arises is: “How can I be sure that the job will be done properly?”
This is where Stone Federation Great Britain can help.
Stone Federation is the trade association for the natural stone industry in construction, with more than a century’s experience in connecting architects, local authorities and clients with the finest stone professionals.
We have a vetted membership of more than 240 firms that offer clients excellence in all areas of business, from technical support and expertise to ethical sourcing and sustainability.
Almost 50% of Stone Federation’s membership work in the conservation and restoration sector. And, as a result, the Federation has established the Stone Heritage Group to reinforce the importance of natural stone in conserving the nation’s built heritage.
The remit of the Stone Heritage Group is to highlight and champion all matters pertaining to the use of stone in the repair, restoration, conservation, cleaning and maintenance of natural stone in the heritage sector.
A lot of heritage buildings are constructed of stone and the Stone Heritage Group aims to make people more aware of this fact and the need to have available supplies of stone available for future repairs.
The professionals – architects, surveyors and structural engineers – need to understand natural stone, from quarrying to its use in the buildings.
The Federation works hard to help establish an understanding in the heritage sector of the significant differences between today’s methods of construction and the traditional methods of yesteryear, and to be aware of what to consider when stone is to be used, or when cleaning stonework is being considered.
Stone Heritage Group helps ensure the correct training is given to both professionals and stonemasons to carry out the work. The Group also endorses the need for further training for stonemasons who work in the heritage field beyond the normal banker and general site fixing skills.
There are specialist training programmes and NVQ courses as well as management and business improvement programmes, some of which are available online.
These courses include Façade Preservation and Heritage Masonry, both of which are eligible for CITB grants. The one year Heritage Masonry programme is particularly popular, giving trainees four week-long residential courses at Fountains Abbey. These courses cover many aspects of conservation work involving the repair and maintenance of stonework.
Jane Buxey, Stone Federation’s Chief Executive, spells out some of the many reasons for using a Federation member firm when natural stone is involved in conservation work. “When you use a Stone Federation member you can rest assured that the firm is operating to the highest standards of workmanship, in accordance with the latest industry standards and codes of best practice, as well as having a fully trained workforce.”