Speaker biographies


Jacques Akerboom

Jacques Akerboom

Jacques is the director of Monumentenwacht Noord-Brabant and represents the Netherlands Monumentenwacht organization in international affairs. He studied Public Policy in Tilburg. Prior to being appointed to his current position he worked as building conservation policy officer for the provincial authorities in Noord-Brabant.

He also participates in many national and international organizations and working groups involved in the protection of cultural heritage.

Internationally, he is a member of the secretariat of EHLF (European Heritage Legal Forum), the successor of the ECHO working group. He was coordinator of working group 1 of FACH (Focus Area Cultural Heritage) of the ECTP (European Construction Technology Platform). He was Dutch representative in the COST action C17 (Build Heritage: Fire Loss to Historic Buildings). He was member of the Council of Europa Nostra and also member of the scientific committee of the Como conference 2009: ‘Planned Conservation of XXth century architectural heritage: a review of policies and practices’. He is also member of the Advisory Committee of the European project EU CHIC (European Heritage Identity Card).

He has published books and articles about cultural heritage and is editor-in-chief of Monumenten, the largest Dutch language circulation magazine on the subject.

George Allan

George Allan MA(Cantab) GradDiplCons(AA)

George Allan was on of the founder members of the campaign group Maintain our Heritage, which he now chairs. He is a commercial solicitor, but a campaigning conservationist from student days in Kent and in London, where he lives, George particularly likes hands-on maintenance activities and is a volunteer maintenance helper at the massive Union Chapel in Islington and has a close interest in all aspects of rainwater management, and his Architectural Association thesis was on 'Rainwater and the Conservation of Historic Buildings'. He is also a councillor in Islington and serves on its planning committees.

Maintain our Heritage is a non-profit organisation formed in 1998 by a group of conservation campaigners to try to reverse the culture of neglect that surrounds our historic buildings and to learn from experience elsewhere. Since then it has devoted itself to research and practical demonstration projects designed to test new approaches. The Bath pilot scheme was the first and George has been actively involved in the setting up and operation of the subsequent 'GutterClear' scheme in the Diocese of Gloucester.

Annette McGill

Annette McGill

Annette heads Charity Facilities Management, a national network for people looking after buildings and facilities issues in the voluntary sector. She specialises in developing educational materials, training and resources for people involved in building care.

After working in publishing and journalism, she joined the Building Conservation Trust at Hampton Court Palace as Training Director. In 1996 she became Chief Executive of the charity Upkeep, where she developed teaching materials and training courses about property care, including a City & Guilds Certificate for Repairs which has been completed by over 1,000 people.

In 2000 she founded the Charities Facilities Management Group, the first national network for people looking after buildings and facilities issues in the voluntary sector. She writes a monthly newsletter for Charity Facilities Management which goes out to 250 member-organisations and is currently managing a comparative study of members’ procurement costs.

David Mitchell

David Mitchell

David joined Historic Scotland in 2002 and was appointed Director of Conservation in 2008.

Previously, he was managing director of a private firm of industrial heritage consultants and contractors based in Glasgow for ten years. He is a member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation and the Institute of Cast Metal Engineers. David has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in earth sciences and a PhD in Architecture. He is responsible for Delivery of the Scottish Ten project and the Scottish Traditional Building Skills Strategy.

Simon Nicol

Simon Nicol

Simon Nicol is Director of the Housing and Energy Group at BRE. The Group has some 60 professional staff who undertake research and consultancy on the condition, performance and energy efficiency of the building stock.

Simon first joined BRE in 1978 as a scientific civil servant in what was then the Urban Planning Division. He moved to the former DOE in 1987 where he spent 11 years as a senior/principal research officer supporting the development and implementation of government housing policy. He re-joined the newly privatised BRE in 1998 to head the Housing Stock Research team, which has continued to grow in size and capability.

Simon is perhaps best known for his work on the English Housing Survey, for which BRE has been the development partner to the government (currently DCLG) for over 30 years, and which provides data on decent homes, domestic energy efficiency, housing health and safety and fuel poverty, amongst other measures. Simon is a widely published expert on housing conditions, housing and health, and housing survey measurement tools.

Geraldine O'Farrell

Geraldine O'Farrell CEng FCIBSE FIET

Originally a contracting engineer, turned design consultant I am a member of a small team of highly-specialised, chartered building services engineers working in the field of historic listed buildings and scheduled monuments for English Heritage.

Also I am an associate tutor with the College of Estate Management at Reading, involved in teaching and supervising MSc students studying on the Conservation of the Historic Environment course.

In addition I am a board member of The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers and services advisor to the Oxford Diocesan Advisory Committee and the Fabric Committees of both Gloucester and Liverpool Anglican Cathedrals.

Jamie Robertson

I have worked in the Sustainable Place and Housing Analysis Team in the Scottish Government for almost two years. I lead the analysis for the forthcoming 2011 SHCS Key Findings Report and was the co-author and analytical lead in the Scottish Government’s recent Fuel Poverty Evidence Review.

Roko Žanic

Roko Žarnic

Roko is a professor of building materials at University of Ljubljana, Faculty for Civil and Geodetic Engineering, since 1993. His research background is in earthquake engineering with a particular interests for built heritage preservation, development of structural elements made of advanced materials (laminated glas and FRP) and inelastic computational models for assesment oif structures. He joined the University from the position of director general of Slovenian national institute for research in materials and structures where he started his career in 1974. In 1999 he joined the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA for 6 months as Visiting Scholar granted by the Fulbright Program. In 2006 he joined the EU JRC ELSA Laboratory in Ispra, Italy for 6 months as a national detached expert. From February 2010 until February 2012 he spent on duty of the Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning of Republic of Slovenia.

He was and still is a principal Investigator and coordinator in number of international projects (USA-Yugoslav bilateral projects, EU FP4, FP5, FP6 and FP7), member of Managing Committees of COST TC UCE, COST C5, COST C16 (vice chairman), COST C530, C26, TU 0905 and International Board of EUREKA EUROCARE. He has coordinated EU FP7 project EU CHIC: Cultural Heritage Identity Card (2009-2012) and is a member of two ongoing EU FP7 projects: Climate for Culture and PERPETUATE. He has published over 360 papers and reports. In European Construction Technology Platform he is co-leading the ECTP Focus Area Cultural Heritage and is a coordinator of the Slovenian Construction Technological Platform.

Roko's research bibligraphy

Session chairs

Richard Davies

Richard Davies DipArch (Hons) RIBA ARB AABC

Richard Davies has been involved with the care and development of the built environment throughout his 30-year architectural career. During 1976-86 he held the posts of Superintending Architect, Regional Director South, Directing Architect and Director of Technical Services in English Heritage and, from 1986-95, was a UK representative to ICCROM (the UNESCO-founded International Centre for the Study, Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) where he became a member of the council, and was Chairman of the Academic Advisory Board. In 1993 he established MRDA Architects

He has extensive experience in the refurbishment and redevelopment of culturally sensitive sites and buildings to meet the current and future requirements of modern operations, living and environmental standards. As a partner at MRDA, he has worked on a wide range of listed buildings and scheduled ancient monuments. He has also been appointed architectural and planning advisor in a variety of international projects in the Gambia, Mozambique, China and Nigeria. He regularly lectures, and produces articles on conservation practice and training.

In addition to his work in private practice, he is also:

  • Chair of the COTAC Trustees
  • Vice Chairman of the National Heritage Training Group (NHTG)
  • Principal Architect on the Register of Architects Accredited in Building Conservation (AABC) and member of the AABC assessment panel.

Ingval Maxwell


Ingval Maxwell qualified as an architect in 1969, spending his entire professional career dealing with the conservation of ancient monuments and historic buildings until his retirement from Historic Scotland in 2008. He is a past Chairman of the Scottish Vernacular Buildings Working Group, and past Convener of the Scottish Stone Liaison Group, the Scottish Conservation Forum in Training and Education, and the Scottish Historic Buildings Fire Liaison Group, He represented the UK on the European Commission COST Action C5 programme ‘Urban Heritage, Building Maintenance’, was initiator and Chairman of the European Science Foundation’s COST Action C17 ‘Fire Loss to Historic Buildings’, and a member of the European Construction Technology Platform ‘Focus Area Cultural Heritage’.

Currently, he is a member of the RIBA Conservation Register Steering Group; the AHRC/EPSRC Science and Heritage Advisory Group; the Journal of Architectural Conservation Editorial Advisory Board; and an Honorary Member of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Stone. He is also a trustee of the Conference on Training in Architectural Conservation, and the Charles Wallace India Trust; an Advisory Committee Member of Learn Direct and Build, and chairs the Advisory Committee of the EC FP7 European Union Cultural Heritage Identity Card project.

Henry Russell

Henry Russell OBE MA (Cantab) DipBldgCons FRICS FSA IHBC

Henry Russell is a COTAC trustee and course leader of the Conservation of the Historic Environment programme at the College of Estate Management, Reading. Last year he was Parliamentary Liaison Officer for The Heritage Alliance in connection with the Localism Bill and the National Planning Policy Framework. He is now chair of the Alliance's Spatial Planning Advocacy Group, which is currently working on the Penfold Review heritage reforms in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, the Green Deal and the wide heritage policy implications of the HS2 rail infrastructure project.

He also chairs the Gloucester Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches, and is a member of the Church Buildings Council.

John Taylor

John Taylor MBE MA MSc FCGI

John Taylor is a Cambridge civil engineering graduate and served for 30 years in the Royal Engineers. He commanded the Army’s Amphibious Engineer Regiment and subsequently served on the Defence Policy Staff. He was appointed MBE for operational planning in Germany. He took up a second career centred on his long-standing interests in urban planning, architectural conservation and traditional building crafts, and was Chief Executive of the British Urban Regeneration Association for five years.

He was appointed by the Carpenters Company, as Director of Building Crafts College from 1997-2007, when he planned the move to its new site alongside the Channel Tunnel Rail Link at Stratford in East London, in 2001. The College expanded rapidly and achieved national recognition as the Centre of Vocational Excellence in Traditional Building Crafts. He planned a further extension of the College, which opened in 2008.

He was awarded a Masters Degree in Historic Building Conservation at Bath University in 2002, and appointed a Fellow of the City and Guilds of London Institute in 2003. He is a liveryman of the Carpenters’ and the Masons’ Companies. In retirement, he continues to serves as Chairman of the Livery Companies’ Skills Council, Honorary Secretary of COTAC, and Honorary Treasurer of the National Heritage Training Group. He is a trustee of several charitable bodies, including the City & Guilds of London Arts School and the Construction Youth Trust.

Click here for our news updates