Free event – PROCUREMENT: How do you ensure good craftsmanship?

Event Description

The second in a new series for all heritage professionals and practitioners in which invited guests compare their professional experiences through informal conversation. This FREE series, called Conversations Build Understanding, is hosted jointly by the NHIG and Icon Metals Group

  • Sharing different perspectives helps build a much deeper understanding.
  • Hear first-hand insights of the issues involved in decision-making
  • Ask the questions you don’t normally have the chance to ask.

PROCUREMENT has become a streamlined management process. To win the work, it’s often a case of survival of the fittest or the boldest contractor. This event explores how best to navigate the procurement process in order to inspire and ensure good craftsmanship.

Bethan Griffiths, Ironwork Designer & Consultant, will be joined by Conservation Architect, James Sibson, and Ironwork Conservator, David James. Their discussion will be based on answering delegate questions, but will address:

  • Why is there a perception that good craftsmen are hard to find?
  • Is it the specification or the craftsman that should be relied on most?
  • Is procurement let down by weak commissioning skills?
  • How to establish positive working relationships between client and craftsman.

Although this talk will focus on ironwork conservation, the same issues relate to other crafts, so everyone is welcome.

Questions can be asked live, but if you have one ahead of the event, please email it to NHIG Administrator Jessica:

James Sibson is an Architect with Conservation Accreditation who has worked with historic buildings for the past 17 years. His work typically entails the assessment and repair of listed buildings as part of broader schemes for development and re-use. His work with iron has ranged from restoration of the Victorian glass house at Stanley Park and repair of 17th century ironwork railings and gates to the appraisal and investigation of ironwork at Shrewsbury Flax Mill and Murrays’ Mill, Manchester. He has sought to ensure that large projects with a heritage component recognise the importance of maintain craft skills by embedding ‘heritage’ at the core of the deign and deliver process.

David James is a fifth generation blacksmith working from the same forge as his great-great-grandfather, at George James & Sons in Northamptonshire. He is a past chairman of the British Artist Blacksmiths Association (BABA) and the NHIG. David’s interests in blacksmithing are wide-ranging, however his focus in recent years has been on the conservation of historic ironwork, which has led him to work on some of the country’s finest masterpieces.





Alexander McCallion is the Director of Works & Precinct at York Minster. He leads the 40 strong Works Department of York Minster, the home of the craftsmen and women who are responsible for the care of the Minster and maintenance of its Precinct. His role at the Minster involves overseeing the maintenance, restoration and conservation of the cathedral and its 56 precinct properties and services, with immediate priorities including the conservation of the South Quire Aisle – a £15m project which will take more than a decade to complete.

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