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Devon cob building survey training day - Grade II* Listed - Honiton, Devon - 15th July

Location: Honiton, EX14, Devon - £150 + VAT plus booking fee

Why you should do this training day

This training day is all about cob buildings.   If you want to better understand how to survey a Devon cob building, whether Listed or not, then this is for you.


We will be visiting two houses.  We will start in Honiton and then do a short drive to Woodbury.   You will need to provide your own transport.   You can go home from Woodbury, or join me for a coffee at Darts Farm afterwards.


The first house we will see in Honiton is Listed at Grade II*, despite its otherwise unassuming appearance from the street.   There is some known history and it is believed to have origins back to the rebuilding of Honiton in the mid-1600’s, or thereabouts.  Very little has been done to maintain the house in recent years, and what has been done, has been done poorly.   The building is of cob construction, with a thatched roof.  This is a really useful opportunity for anyone learning, those interested in old buildings and those who are looking for greater experience of cob buildings.   We will also discuss the risks to homeowners of unauthorised alterations.

This visit will only be available to a small group.   There is no roadside parking, so you will need to find somewhere in the town and walk to the house.

We will then do a short drive to Woodbury.  It is about 20-25 minutes.   The second house is not Listed but it is a hybrid of cob, popplestones and brick.  It is likely to be a former barn.  You will get to meet the owner and hear her story of her purchase and learn a lot of inappropriate alterations to the building.

You will get to see the whole building and, as a group, we will discuss how a pre-purchase building survey might be undertaken on it and how repairs would best be undertaken.   You will be within a safe and nurtured environment in a very small group of like-minded people.   Use the opportunity to ask any questions that arise.  There is no such thing a silly question.

By the end of the training you will be more confident and aware of..:

  • Understand your responsibilities and liabilities as a professional building surveyor
  • Have a better understanding of the client needs for having the survey done
  • Take a methodical approach to the process of doing a building survey
  • Identify a range of common defects found in this type and age of building
  • How to prioritise repairs to suit the needs of the building as well as the budget of the client
  • Make better decisions on the advice that you will provide to your client
  • Learn about when it might be necessary to make a referral for further inspections
  • Have better confidence in yourself
  • Be able to write confident and well presented reports for your client



This training will typically include..:

  • Placing this building in context of our architectural history
  • RICS expectations on you as a professional building surveyor
  • Best practice when undertaking a building survey for a RICS Level 3 report
  • Health and Safety.   Surveying safely.
  • Building pathology for this specific type of property
  • Moisture assessment, decision making and reporting
  • Listed Building Consent applications and procedures
  • Climate change considerations and sustainability issues
  • Client care
  • Professional liability
  • Report writing and how to use photos

Training Format

This training will be delivered in-person and the day will start in Honiton, Devon – EX14 post code area.  It is a private residence.   The full address and joining instructions will be given nearer to the date of the training.   We will also then go to see a very interesting property in Woodbury – about 20-25 minutes drive.   After that, you can go home or join me for a coffee at the nearby Darts Farm.


Professionals from a wide variety of disciplines including residential surveyors and valuers, building surveyors, architects, and structural engineers as well as the many conservation trades will benefit from this online training opportunity.

This is also perfectly suitable for anyone with a general interest in older buildings.   That can include homeowners and buyers, for example.   Students, from all backgrounds, will find this especially valuable to their learning.

It will be particularly suitable for those who have some limited experience of doing RICS Level 2 and Level 3 building surveys and want to know more about older buildings.   It might also be suitable for more experienced surveyors who wish to broaden their knowledge of this period of architecture.

This training is open and available to everyone.  Please do consider your own personal circumstances and your ability to use stairs as this is very likely to apply to the venue, town walk and/or any private property visit.  There may be uneven terrain and during any walkabout we may be crossing roads. Do let us know if you require any reasonable adjustments and we can discuss this further and try to adapt where possible.


These houses are private homes and we are not asking the owners to provide any catering facility.  We won’t stop for a lunch break, as such, but you are, of course, welcome to bring your own drinks and snacks/sandwiches or purchase them in nearby shops.

08:30 – 09:30  –  Meet me here, at this Wetherspoons pub..:   The Star Inn, New Street, Honiton, EX14 1BS.

10:00 – We walk to the house, just long the road

We will be constantly walking and talking, with ample opportunity for questions, discussions and explanations.

13:00 –  We will then go to see a second property in the afternoon – about 20-25 minutes drive away, in Woodbury.

15:00 –  Depart.  This time is entirely flexible.


This training will provide up to 5 hours of formal CPD.

Training Instructor

This training will be taught by Prof. Duncan Philips FRICS.  Duncan is one of the UK’s most experienced Chartered Building Surveyors regarding historic and Listed Buildings, having been doing this work for over 30 years.   He runs Listed Building Surveys and he was Chair of the RICS Building Conservation Steering Group 2017 – 2023. He is the lead author of the new RICS Professional Standard – Conservation of Heritage Buildings and Assets, which will be published in 2024.  Duncan teaches building surveying, architectural history, building pathology and building conservation to undergraduate, postgraduate and mature students and also to the general public and the trades.


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