Retrofit for older and traditional buildings


This standard covers knowledge of factors that influence traditional pre-1919 buildings.

CITB has developed this standard in discussion with industry. 


Minimum 2 days of 7 learning hours per day

Purpose / Scope

This training module is designed give the learner the knowledge of factors that influence traditional pre-1919 buildings.

 The scope covers:

  • the age and construction of older and traditional buildings
  • the factors which influence how older and traditional buildings perform and the implications for the introduction of energy efficiency measures
  • the factors influencing the selection of appropriate energy efficiency measures and materials
  • energy efficiency measures and materials
  • make recommendations and give advice on the introduction of energy efficiency measures in older and traditional buildings

Occupational relevance

Training delivered against this standard would be relevant to the following occupational groups:

  • Operative and craft
  • Supervision
  • Management and leadership.

Candidate pre-requisites

There are no candidate pre-requisites as part of this standard. However, a basic knowledge of the retrofit for older and traditional buildings terminology and techniques would be beneficial.

Instruction / Supervision

As a minimum, course instructors must be able to demonstrate that in relation to this standard they have:

  • A train the trainer or instructional techniques course certificate 
  • Successfully completed training to this standard 
  • At least 2 years relevant industrial experience
  • A verifiable CV.


Delivery may be in an on or off the job environment.

All materials and equipment should be of suitable quality and quantity for candidates to achieve learning outcomes and must comply with relevant legislation.

The class size and candidate/instructor ratio must allow training to be delivered in a safe manner and enable candidates to achieve the learning outcomes.

The following delivery methods may/may not be used in the delivery of this standard:

  • classroom

This standard is considered to contain 51 per cent or more theoretical learning.

This standard is considered to be set at an advanced level.


For the successful completion of training, candidates must complete an end of course knowledge test that measures the learning outcomes and has a pass or fail criteria.

Quality assurance


Quality assurance against this standard will require initial approval of the training organisation and their content mapped to the standard. 

CITB will also conduct an approval intervention, either desk-based or centre visit, to ensure the training organisation can meet the requirements of the training standard. 

Approved training organisations (ATOs) will be required to present information on records of training and assessment upon request to CITB for desk based analysis. They will also be visited annually by the CITB quality assurance team.

Renewal / refresher

There are no mandatory renewal or recommended refreshment requirements for this standard.

Approval date


Review cycle

Either on request or in 3 year(s) from approval date.

Learning outcomes

The candidate will be able to:

  • Estimate the age of a building.
  • Explain the heritage values and significance of older and traditional buildings.
  • Identify the materials and construction methods used in older and traditional buildings with specific reference to:
    • roofs
    • walls
    • floors
    • doors and windows
    • chimneys and fireplaces
  • Explain how conservation principles are applied to older and traditional buildings.
  • Identify local and regional variations of traditional buildings and materials.
  • Clarify the circumstances where referral to a specialist or recommendation for further analysis or investigation would be appropriate.
  • Identify the way older and traditional buildings perform with specific reference to:
    • how the performance of traditionally constructed buildings differs to modern construction
    • the breathability and permeability characteristics of traditional building fabric 
    • the geographical location, aspect, orientation and the differing exposure of individual elevations
  • Identify the types of heating and ventilation systems in the building. 
  • Explain the implications of common building defects for energy efficiency measures with specific reference to: 
    • damp and causes of dampness 
    • structural defects 
  • Identify how alterations since the original construction affect the thermal performance of the building. 
  • Assess the implications of existing building defects in relation to the choice of energy efficiency measures.
  • Interpret the implications of occupant behaviour on proposed energy efficiency measures. 
  • Identify the implications of the relevant legal and regulatory requirements with particular reference to: 
    • planning permission 
    • listed building consent 
    • conservation areas 
    • local listing
    • scheduled monuments
    • national building regulations
  • Outline the technical risks associated with the energy efficiency measures in relation to:
    • thermal bridges (cold bridges)
    • ventilation
    • thermal bypass
    • condensation and interstitial condensation
    • alterations in structure
    • moisture movement
  • Assess the impact and consequences of using unsuitable interventions or inappropriate energy performance measures.
  • Explain the limitations of using default U-values in RdSAP (or approved software) for older and traditional buildings and their impact on the energy rating and recommended energy efficiency measures in the EPC.
  • Explain in what circumstances calculated U-values or in-situ measured U-values should be used, the issues to be aware of and appropriate sources or processes to obtain these.
  • Outline a range of materials and techniques appropriate to older and traditional buildings.
  • Assess the effects of energy efficiency measures in combination with each other.
  • Identify when the energy efficiency measures need to be adapted to older and traditional buildings due to:
    • existing building structure
    • detailing
    • services
    • the heritage values and significance of the building
    • technical risks
    • cases where energy efficiency measures cannot be recommended
  • Review and revise measures from reports or surveys based on:
    • an understanding of the building
    • the range of options available and appropriate to the building
    • the likely effectiveness and value for money of measures to improve energy performance
    • the repairs needed prior to the installation of the measures
  • Justify the selection of energy efficiency measures including:
    • when the energy efficiency performance of the proposed measure does not meet U-values prescribed in national building regulations
    • rationale for why energy efficiency measures may, or may not, have been selected
    • specific design, installation or operational features used to minimise the impact of the chosen energy efficiency measures on the building
  • Summarise the suitability of energy efficiency measures selected and their implications.
  • Explain the requirements for the delivery of the energy efficiency measures including:
    • the packaging and sequencing of
    • measures
    • any repairs needed to enable them
    • any works needed to protect the building or its features
    • any ongoing maintenance requirements

Additional information

Further reading:

P Swallow, R Dallas, S Jackson and D Watt (2004) Measurement and Recording of Historic Buildings London: Donhead 

R Chudley (1996) Building Construction Handbook London: Laxtons 

R D Pickard (1996) Conservation in the Built Environment Harlow Essex: Longman 

John and Nicola Ashurst (1990) Practical Building Conservation Vol 1,3 Aldershot: Gower Technical Press