The IHBC is the professional body for building conservation practitioners and historic environment experts working in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with connections to the Republic of Ireland. The Institute exists to establish, develop and maintain the highest standards of conservation practice, to support the effective protection and enhancement of the historic environment, and to promote heritage-led regeneration and access to the historic environment for all.
IHBC members come from a range of professional disciplines in the public, private and voluntary sectors, including conservation officers, planners, architects, regeneration practitioners and academics. The work of members varies from overseeing small-scale traditional repairs to managing multi-million pound area regeneration projects.
The historic environment is all around us and creates a sense of place and local identity. It provides continuity with the past, but also accommodates change and helps places adapt for the present and future. To thrive, historic places need the specialist and cross-disciplinary management skills that IHBC members can provide, drawing on the highest professional standards, nationally and internationally.
Historic places attract people, activity and investment, giving new life to their communities and helping make places more competitive. They play a central role in regenerating towns, cities and rural areas all around the UK, especially helping to repopulate inner-city areas. IHBC members often work at the cutting edge of regeneration practice.
The terms design and heritage-led regeneration have become synonymous with dramatic urban transformations, often in previously failing areas. Where there is great pressure for development, the historic environment can help to maintain variety and a range of community facilities. In rural areas, historic buildings assist tourism and promote local economic diversity.
The IHBC is committed to making development more sustainable. Maintaining and converting historic buildings is a way of conserving the resources used to build them, and minimising the carbon emissions associated with demolition and redevelopment. Historic places often better cater for the needs of pedestrians and accommodate mixed uses and varied rental levels, essential to nurturing small businesses and encouraging innovation.
Design is another key concern for the Institute. Historic places will always be the inspiration for the great architecture of the future. The combination of refurbished old buildings, exciting new ones, good urban design and high quality spaces has created places where people positively choose to live, work and spend leisure time.
Many Institute members are involved in historic building projects aimed at supporting local communities, providing education, assisting cultural development, promoting tourism and improving the quality of life.
Valuing Our Heritage
The IHBC's underlying principle is that historic buildings and places have their own intrinsic cultural, social, educational and spiritual value. Any nation that claims to cherish cultural achievement in any field has a duty to care for its heritage. IHBC members are duty bound to respect that heritage across their professional work.
The IHBC's activities include lobbying at international, national, regional and local levels. The Institute has a strong network of regional and national branches, with regular training, CPD and education events. A range of publications includes the Institute's journal, Context.