What motivates us to do things, to try and make a difference ?


What motivates us to do things, to try and make a difference ?

Here is Michael Foley’s bio on his LinkedIn page, explaining why he decided to re-train and  become a building surveyor when at the top of his game as an accomplished craftsman carpenter and joiner with decades of experience in the construction industry;

“I was called to go and ‘sort out’ a job in 2011. The property was a significant Georgian building on Ramsgate seafront.

The prospective client was pulling his hair out, he had let the builder have a ‘free hand’ with the project; there was no onsite supervision and a complete lack of coordination with the trades.

It was the usual story, the building had been striped back to brick, the lath and plaster ripped down, only to be replaced with cement based plasters, plasterboards with gypsum as the finishing plasters. All the original doors had gone.

I handed back my set of keys back along with a finished project about 8 weeks later. I said to myself while working on the job ‘I need to get in at the beginning of these projects to help the building owners make the right decisions and to save unnecessary and inappropriate works being carried out’.

I was tired of seeing old buildings being stripped out, when a well considered repair strategy would provide the best approach in budget terms and historic building fabric retention.

I decided to do something about this; I enrolled and started an HNC in Building Surveying in September 2011.

After years of focused study, training and practice mostly in the historic built environment and gaining a professional qualification with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors , I decided to set up my own RICS regulated building surveying practice. This was done so that I could deliver a high level of professional service as standard heritage practice in my local areas.

I am currently engaged on the Professional Development Diploma in Historic Building Conservation and Repair (recognised by Historic England), at West Dean College*.

I am also preparing a submission for associate membership of the Institute Historic Building Conservation (Intervention).I intend to complete both this year.

All in all making this experience a seven year plus journey by the time I reach these waypoints; underpinned with decades of practical experience.


*Michael completed the 10th module/ Building Conservation Masterclass in the repair and conservation of historic buildings last year and is now putting a portfolio together which reflects on the courses and how he has put them in to practice. Michael knuckled down over three years to complete the following Building Conservation Masterclasses:

  1. Conservation of Timber; 2016
  2. Mortars for repair and Conservation; 2016
  3. Specifying Conservation Works; 2017
  4. The Structural Repair of Historic Buildings; 2017
  5. Conservation and Repair of Plasters and Renders; 2017
  6. Masonry Cleaning; 2017
  7. Conservation and Repair of Architectural and Structural Metalwork; 2018
  8. Conservation and Repair of Brick and Flint Masonry; 2018
  9. Managing Wildlife in the Historic Environment; 2018
  10. Conservation and Repair of Stone; 2018.



Michael Foley ‘knocking back’ his  lime pointing in the stone and bricks at the the masonry work shop at West Dean College.

West Dean College is an internationally acclaimed centre of excellence for the arts and conservation, their Professional Development Diploma PDD (Building cons) is is believed to be the best qualification in the care, repair and conservation of historic buildings. See the link to their website; West Dean College.

Update; Michael was awarded the Professional Development Diploma (with distinction) on 13th July 2019.