Local Painters & Decorators make Traditional Heritage Picture Perfect
Thursday 24 Nov 2011
Two stunning National Trust properties provided the inspiring setting for an innovative two day course on 23rd and 24th November for eighteen painters and decorators from across Northern Ireland. This bespoke training course on the repair and maintenance of painted decoration and wall coverings on traditional (pre-1919) buildings was hosted by CITB-ConstructionSkills NI in partnership with the Painting & Decorating Association (PDA) and the National Trust.
Experts from the National Trust, the PDA and the private sector, including Belfast based company Decowell, outlined the principles and legislation involved in caring for historic buildings and traditional paints and wallcoverings. The approach to this is quite different to working on modern buildings and the craftspeople were able to gain an informed understanding of how to undertake this type of work.
Learning about traditional painting skills at Castleward are: Michael Smith, Paul Sloan Painting, Joe Heaney, National Trust, Nick Stevenson, William Stevenson & Sons, Alex Bodel, Alex Bodel Concepts, Tom Nelson, Painting & Decorating Association, Seamus Hanna, CITB-ConstructionSkills, Windsor Powell, Painting & Decorating Association, William McMullan, CITB-ConstructionSkills NI.
Barry Neilson, Chief Executive, CITB-ConstructionSkills NI said, “Northern Ireland has a wealth of outstanding pre-1919 buildings and so we are delighted to be working in partnership with the PDA and the National Trust to help further develop the skills and knowledge of specialist craftspeople. By funding and organising this specific training we have responded to an industry need. We hope this will be the first of more courses on different traditional building skills in Northern Ireland aimed at increasing available skills and helping our older buildings to survive.”
The first day of the course was held at the beautiful 18th century grade A listed house at Castle Ward, Strangford and the second day at the equally inspiring neo-classical house at Mount Stewart, near Newtownards, again listed as Grade A. A tour of both National Trust properties led by the course experts gave the delegates a once in a life-time chance to see the different approaches necessary to care for the impressive decorative schemes. This included a fascinating insight into historic research, paint analysis and investigations, complex decision-making and in-situ cleaning, conservation and re-decoration - skills all vital to inform and carry out traditional maintenance and repairs. It also allowed close inspection of the work required as part of the £6million repair programme due to start at Mount Stewart.
The course attendees, who will be some of the first to gain the brand new Level 3 Award in Understanding Repair and Maintenance of traditional (pre-1919) buildings completed a short test of their knowledge at the end of the training. Some may go on to undertake the Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Heritage Skills (Decorative Occupations), where they will be able to apply the newly gained knowledge to enhance their practical skills in the workplace.
Windsor Powell, Vice-President of the PDA adds: “Traditional painted decoration and wallcoverings require specific skills and expertise and most important is to know what to do and what not to do to avoid any damage. The new course and qualification is an excellent means of building upon the existing practical skills of these decorators, to ensure the right approach and correct methods and materials are used as well as underpinning the understanding of past and present techniques.”
This course is part of a wider approach to revive the use of traditional building skills in Northern Ireland being lead by CITB-ConstructionSkills NI and the support and involvement of the National Trust has been vital.
Joe Heaney, Senior Building Surveyor with the National Trust in Northern Ireland said, “It is important to have the right people with the right skills working on traditional buildings. We in the National Trust are keen to ensure that we assist through training of this type by passing on our collective skills, knowledge and expertise gained from the careful routine care and maintenance of our buildings. Using our own two properties brought the training to life and provided an opportunity to see first-hand a wide range of problems and solutions which can be considered and applied in the care of painted decoration and wallcoverings on other traditional buildings.”
About CITB-ConstructionSkills NI
CITB-ConstructionSkills NI is funded by a statutory levy from registered in scope construction employers. CITB-ConstructionSkills NI is a partner in the Sector Skills Council for construction, ConstructionSkills and provides a range of services to the industry. This incorporates identifying training needs, encouraging and advising on training, provision of training grants and research and policy development.
CITB-ConstructionSkills NI website provides details of our services:
About the Painting & Decorating Association
The Painting and Decorating Association (PDA) is the trade body, dedicated to the painting and decorating trade in Northern Ireland. Members include sole traders through to large-scale national contractors employing hundreds of operatives.
Decorators looking to become members of the PDA – which represents the trade across the UK - are rigorously vetted prior to admission. Members are committed to the highest standards in health and safety practice, as well as training development.
The PDA is proud of its long history and high standards, and a registered member can be relied upon to do a good professional job. For more information visit:
About the National Trust
The National Trust is a registered charity founded in 1895 to act as a guardian for the nation in the acquisition and protection of threatened coastline, countryside and buildings. Today, it cares for over 254,000 hectares (627,000 acres) of countryside in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including 709 miles of coastline, more than 300 mansions with gardens of outstanding interest and importance as well as 2500 other buildings and structures The trust has just recruited its 4 millionth member.
For more information visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk