What is Traditional Buildings Health Check Scheme?
The Traditional Buildings Health Check Scheme was a pilot project which ran from 2013 – 2018. It was initiated by Historic Scotland (now Historic Environment Scotland) in partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Scotland.
Stirling City Heritage Trust (SCHT) was responsible for the design, delivery and management of the membership service in partnership with the funding bodies.
Based on the positive results at the end of the pilot period, Stirling City Heritage Trust is continuing this unique service in Stirling as part of the core activities of the Trust. Historic Environment Scotland is currently investigating how to grow the service in other areas of Scotland.
HOW IS THE SERVICE FUNDED?
The service is currently funded by Historic Environment Scotland and run by Stirling City Heritage Trust on a not-for-profit basis. All membership and inspection fees collected from members are used within the project to assist in the financing of the service.
HOW IS THE SERVICE MANAGED?
The service is managed on a day-to-day basis by the Stirling City Heritage Trust. The project as a whole is governed by the Stirling City Heritage Trust Board of Trustees and advised by a Steering Group comprising of the Stirling City Heritage Trust Manager, a minimum of two SCHT Trustees, and two representatives of Historic Environment Scotland.
WHY TRADITIONAL BUILDINGS?
Maintenance is required for all buildings irrespective of type, ownership, construction method and age. Historic buildings are a finite resource and need particular skills and materials to keep them in good repair as inappropriate interventions can be damaging. It is generally acknowledged that there is a shortage of skilled operatives in the maintenance and repair sector.
Stirling is a small city with a mixture of urban city centre and outlying traditional residential areas. It has a good representation of traditional building types on a scale that is manageable for a small team. Stirling City Heritage Trust has been active in promoting and protecting the city’s heritage since 2005, with a network of local contacts and knowledge of the traditional building stock. Historic Environment Scotland has a base in Stirling and this was strengthened in 2016 when the new building conservation centre, The Engine Shed, opened on Forthside. The new Forth Valley College campus provides good opportunities to link the scheme to a training venue.
WHY WAS THE PILOT NEEDED?
There had been a growing concern over the condition of Scotland’s traditional buildings from a wide representation of the construction, housing and heritage sectors. This included bodies which represent trades and contractors such as the National Federation of Roofing Contractors and the Stone Federation to Historic Scotland, the Government’s advisors on our historic buildings. Evidence is provided by the Scottish House Condition Survey which in 2010 found almost 60% of all dwellings had disrepair to critical elements, components that make the building wind and watertight.
In 2012, Stirling City Heritage Trust was commissioned to research these concerns in more detail and a Scoping Study was undertaken presenting the case for a proactive maintenance scheme for traditional buildings in Scotland. The study recommended a pilot based on other maintenance models tested in the UK and Europe. As a result, in 2013 Historic Scotland committed to a 5-year pilot scheme as part of their Traditional Skills Strategy (PDF) and in partnership with CITB Scotland.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER AREAS?
The findings of the pilot are assisting Historic Environment Scotland in its consideration of how to extend the service to other locations in Scotland. There are some other resources and initiatives in other areas of Scotland that are available to assist owners with maintenance. See our resources pages to check if there’s anything near you or speak to your Local Authority.
If you would like to see this scheme in your area register your interest here.