BEFS Bulletin – Building Maintenance

Get The Latest Built Environment News, Policy Developments, Publications, Consultations And More.


BEFS has responded to a number of consultations in recent weeks. BEFS responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on draft proposals for changes to Permitted Development Rights for the four development types selected for Phase 1 of their programme. Read the submission here. BEFS also responded to the Scottish Government’s technical consultation on proposed amendments to Scottish Planning Policy and Housing, here. Finally, look out for BEFS response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan that closes today and sets out a vision for Scotland’s future infrastructure, on our consultations page.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) would like your feedback on the Make Your Mark Community Heritage Volunteer Recruitment Campaign. Find out more here.

Next week is National Maintenance Week (20-27 November 2020) – the SPAB’s annual reminder to give your home, whether it’s a 1930s semi-detached or a medieval manor, a maintenance check before the winter months. Alongside resources and top tips for keeping buildings in good condition, SPAB’s National Maintenance Week 2020 includes a number of free online events to help owners and users get to know their old buildings better and take practical action to look after them. Find out more about the events including one tailored specifically for Scotland, one for Faith buildings and then some more general maintenance talks, here.

Edinburgh World Heritage and writer Vivian French have published a new education resource for children in primaries 3 and 4 and their families for Book Week Scotland. Designed for outdoor learning, it is aimed at making children more aware of the state of traditional buildings in the World Heritage Site, getting them involved in identifying signs of neglect, and encouraging a conversation around maintenance as a solution. The resource takes the form of a ‘story trail’. Find out more here and download the trail.

Icon Scotland is welcoming BEFS Director Euan Leitch as the speaker for its 23rd annual Plenderleith Memorial Lecture next Thursday, 26th November. Book now!

In addition to those mentioned, there are number of exciting events and training opportunities coming up at the end of the month from across the sector, so do check them out in the events section below.


Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan – 2021-22 to 2025-26
Closes 19 Nov 2020.

Equality at the Heart of HES: Our Equality Outcomes Consultation
Closes 30 Nov 2020.

Fair Rents (Scotland) Bill
Closes 7 Dec 2020.

HES – Talking About Heritage
Closes 15 Dec 2020.

Community Heritage Volunteer Recruitment Campaign
Closes 15 Dec 2020.


Northern Powerhomes: A green recovery plan to decarbonise homes in the North (IPPR 17/11/20)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector guidance (SG 09/11/20)

Affordable housing for rural and island communities (SG 11/11/20)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for the performing arts and venues sector (SG 10/11/20)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector guidance (SG 09/11/20)

Green Recovery Inquiry – Report (ECCLR Committee SP 08/11/20)

RIAS Quarterly – Activism in Architecture (11/20)

Measuring What Matters – Planning Outcomes Research (RTPI 11/20)

Productive Placemaking (APPG Building Communities 11/20)

News Releases

£194,349 awarded to coasts and waters heritage projects (HES 16/11/20)
Historic Environment Scotland has awarded funding to eighteen projects across the country.

World heritage status for Scottish peat bogs could help UK hit net zero goals (Guardian 13/11/20)
Hopes rise that the Flow Country, the world’s largest carbon store, could become first peatland to win the status.

European Commission and Europa Nostra announce Europe’s top heritage award winners 2020 (EN 10/11/20)
The winners of the 2020 European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards, Europe’s top honour in the field, were celebrated this afternoon with a virtual gathering that connected heritage lovers, professionals, volunteers and supporters from across Europe and beyond.

Government loses potential for £15bn economic boost and job creation (FMB 05/11/20)
The Government must cut VAT on home improvement works to 5% to boost jobs and stimulate the economy. This is in response to the PMI data, published today, which shows that staffing numbers across the construction sector were in decline.

Archaeological Scientists – ScARF Needs You! (ScARF 11/20)
Please get in touch with us directly if you haven’t heard from us yet and would like to be involved in our ScARF Science update project.

We’re backing the heritage sector to adapt and thrive again (NLHF 04/11/20)
As everyone around the UK faces the challenges of responding to COVID-19 amid varying guidance and restrictions, our Chief Executive shares The Fund’s latest plans to support our heritage community.

Green New Deal: Glasgow (CW 11/20)
Explore our interactive remodelling of the city, where we visualise a transformative space that puts people and the climate first.

Opinion & Comment

We’ve got to get better at remodelling derelict land and buildings (Paul Devine, Scottish Futures Trust 10/11/20)

Parliamentary Questions

Questions marked with a triangle (?) are initiated by the Scottish Government in order to facilitate the provision of information to the Parliament.Questions in which a member has indicated a declarable interest are marked with an “R”.

Question S5W-33042: Claire Baker, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2020
To ask the Scottish Government how the £97 million in UK Government consequentials announced on 5 July 2020 has been allocated as packages of support for the arts, culture and heritage sectors, and how much is still to be distributed.

Question S5W-33091: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 06/11/2020
To ask the Scottish Government how much it is has invested in (a) decarbonising heat and (b) improving energy efficiency in each of the last five years, broken down by sector.

Question S5W-33094: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 06/11/2020
To ask the Scottish Government how much funding it has allocated to improve the energy efficiency of (a) business buildings, (b) local authority buildings, excluding housing, (c) social housing and (d) domestic housing in each of the last five years.

Question S5W-33095: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 06/11/2020
To ask the Scottish Government what consideration it has given to prioritising the installation of low-carbon heating in the existing housing stock ahead of improving energy efficiency in that sector.

Parliamentary Questions & Answers

Questions marked with a triangle (?) are initiated by the Government in order to facilitate the provision of information to the Parliament.

Question S5W-32965: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/11/2020
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will temporarily re-categorise museums to allow them to be classified as public buildings and remain open in areas under tier 3 restrictions.
Answered by Fiona Hyslop (06/11/2020)

Question S5W-33092: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 06/11/2020
To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to reintroduce the Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations, and when it expects these will come into force.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (10/11/2020)

Question S5W-32616: Angus MacDonald, Falkirk East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/10/2020
To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has for an awareness campaign on the implementation of changes to the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 to ensure that homeowners, landlords, and those responsible for complying with the new regulations are aware of their responsibilities before 1 February 2021.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (30/10/2020)

Question S5W-32766: Andy Wightman, Lothian, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 26/10/2020
To ask the Scottish Government what specific steps it has taken to inform homeowners of the changes introduced by the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 (Tolerable Standard) (Extension of Criteria) Order 2019 since January 2019, and when it took these steps.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (02/11/2020)

Question S5W-32595: Liz Smith, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 15/10/2020
To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish the Scottish Land Commission Report on regional land use partnerships.
Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (16/11/2020)

Question S5W-33114: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/11/2020
To ask the Scottish Government what funding is available for tenement properties that require urgent repair.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (13/11/2020)

Question S5W-33113: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/11/2020
To ask the Scottish Government how much has been allocated to each local authority for improvement and repair grants in each year since 2007.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (13/11/2020)

Question S5W-33093: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 06/11/2020
To ask the Scottish Government how many applications for support through the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme have been received in each of the last five years, broken down by eligibility criteria, and how many (a) have been approved, (b) have been rejected and (c) are awaiting a decision.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (12/11/2020)


Covid-19 Support (Tourism and Hospitality) (11/11/20)


For the latest information about BEFS Members’ events see our events calendar.

Heritage Trust Network Conference 2020 – Grassroots Heritage: Empowering recovery
Date: Friday 20th November, with lead up events on the 19th.
Join HTN members and friends from across the UK, to find out how to drive your heritage project through recovery. Our expert speakers will offer guidance, knowledge and inspiration on a range of topics aimed to help you adapt and succeed in the most difficult of times. We will have sessions on fundraising, environmental sustainability, strategy and innovation, along with workshops from our key partners.

Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders Archaeology Conference
Date & time: Saturday 21 November 2020; 10:00am – 3:00pm.
This annual archaeology conference is organised by City of Edinburgh Council, East Lothian Council and Scottish Borders Council.  It provides an important opportunity to hear and discuss first hand accounts of the archaeological fieldwork and research being undertaken in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders. This year the conference will be held online. It is free to attend, but please book a place.

Maintenance Matters in Scotland 
Dates: 20 – 27 November 2020
Prerecorded Online Lecture
Free – registration required
This illustrated lecture will focus on identifying and tackling commonly-encountered maintenance issues for old buildings in Scotland, with reference to typical building forms, materials and environmental conditions. Presented by Jamie McNamara, current Chairperson of SPAB Scotland. Jamie has worked with the conservation of canals, churches, city regeneration schemes and within the traditional skills area.

Maintenance for Faith Buildings 
Dates: 20 – 27 November 2020
Prerecorded Online Lecture
Free – registration required
In this session, we will consider the importance of regular care at places of worship of all dates and types, as well as the vital role played by volunteers in looking after these complex buildings at the heart of our communities. Presented by Kate Andrew, heritage consultant. Kate was a regional project officer for the SPAB’s recent Maintenance Cooperatives Project (MCP).

Maintenance Question Time 
Date & time: 21 November 2020, 11:00 – 12:00
Live Online Forum
Free – registration required
All buildings, old and new, benefit from regular care, and many maintenance tips are widely applicable. Join the SPAB’s advisers for this interactive introduction to maintenance, which includes an online Q&A and discussion of how to tackle some of the common problems found with old buildings, and how regular care and attention can prevent or reduce them.

Maintenance Matters! An Introduction to Caring for Your Old Building
Date & time: 24 November 2020, 14:30 – 15:30
Live Online Lecture
Free – registration required
This illustrated talk explores how old buildings are different to new, how and why they can decay, what maintenance is and why it’s important. It includes practical advice on getting started and working safely. Presented by James Innerdale, an architect and historic buildings consultant. James was the Technical Officer for the SPAB’s recent Maintenance Cooperatives Project (MCP).

If you seek a monument, gaze around
Date & time: 26 November 2020; 18:00 – 19:00.
Great sculptors have lived and worked in Edinburgh for centuries, and the city has one of the finest collection of public monuments of any city. In this live event, our panel will talk about their favourite Edinburgh sculpture, and discuss whether the city’s monuments present an incomplete and outdated version of the past. Special guests include sculptor Alexander Stoddart, the Queen’s Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland, Director of Edinburgh Art Festival Sorcha Carey and more.

Archaeology Scotland Online AGM and Members’ Day 2020
Date & Time: Saturday 28th November 2020 10am – 12noon.
Online via Zoom.
Short description of event: Archaeology Scotland is excited to welcome you to our online AGM and Members’ Day. Not a member? That’s ok. We have a number of talks open to non-members on topics such as The Peebles Bronze Age Hoard, Stobs’ Camp, and Archaeologists of the Future for those budding young archaeologists out there. We hope to see you there!

“Whose Festival is it Anyway?” The 2020 Cockburn Association Annual Lecture 
Date & time: Monday 30th November at 7.00pm.
Online (Zoom).
Join Professor Cliff Hague as he delivers 2020’s Annual Cockburn Lecture, this year discussing what Edinburgh’s Festivals should look like in the future. He will discuss how the sheer scale of the city’s Festivals has come to be a source of controversy to many residents and offer some suggestions how these events might become more citizen-friendly from 2021 onwards. His talk will build on the “Our Unique City” manifesto produced by the Cockburn Association that outlines our vision for life in Edinburgh in a post-COVID era. Tickets to the event are free to Cockburn members and by donation to non-members.

Scottish Housing Policies after Covid: Challenges and Constraints to 2025
Dates: 1-3 Dec. 2020.
As 2020 comes to a close, and the news of potential vaccines for Covid-19 brings new hope of recovery in 2021, the CaCHE Scottish Housing Policy Conference (SHPC) provides a space for all to: 1) look back at the housing impacts of the pandemic to date; and, 2) look ahead to the long-term impacts for housing choices and policy in Scotland over the next five years. The SHPC is an annual conference organised by the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE). This year, the conference will be held virtually for the first time and will take place across three days, featuring a combination of pre-recorded materials and panel discussions with leading academics and professionals from across Scotland and beyond.

At the Heart of the Community – A Future for Your Church
Date & time: Wednesday 2nd December, 10 – 11am
Heritage Trust Network and Historic Churches Scotland are joining forces to host this introductory discussion forum for any group contemplating the future of their church building. Whether you have managed your church for decades or currently contemplating taking the building on, this event is for you.

The Rhind Lectures
Dates & times: Six free lectures open to all, premiered one every evening at 6pm from Sunday 13 December 2020 to Friday 18 December 2020.
Online via the Society YouTube channel, with a live Q&A on Zoom for the final lecture.
The Rhind Lectures are our most highly anticipated event of the year. Since 1876 the Society has invited experts to give an annual series of six lectures on a historical or archaeological topic. This year, Dr Alison Sheridan FSAScot will discuss the Neolithic period in Scotland, from the first appearance of farming to the end of the era with the arrival of new people, ideas, technology and practices from the Continent around 2,500 BC.


Damp, Masonry Decay, & Sustainability
Dates & times: 2.00-3.45pm online on three consecutive Thursdays: 19 & 26 Nov, 3 Dec 2020
– Day 1
– Day 2
– Day 3
Moisture is a key factor in almost all forms of decay, and damp fabric increases heat loss. However, identifying its source can be complicated as moisture is so mobile. It can condense from humid air onto cold surfaces and it can spread through a structure by capillary action and gravity. Understanding these mechanisms and their consequences is vital, particularly now that we are increasing insulation levels in historic buildings and restricting ventilation. Getting it wrong can be disastrous.

Keeping in touch with your supporters: keeping yourself right with data protection law (GDPR)
Date & time: Wednesday, 25 November 2020; 13:00 – 16:00.
Online via Zoom. 
During this difficult time when so many venues are closed, we are keeping in touch with our audiences, supporters and followers virtually. Of course some events can take place online and as a result you may obtain more contact information and personal data than you usually do, but what can you do with that lawfully? The proper use of personal data is important, not only to ensure compliance with the law but also to maintain the trust of supporters. This session will provide you with an understanding of the law, using practical examples from the sector to bring the topic to life.

CPD: Retrofitting the Canongate Housing Development
Date & time: Wednesday 2nd December 2020 – 12:30-1:30pm.
Online via Zoom.
Addressing energy efficiency is one of the most pressing issues for older, traditionally-constructed buildings. Retrofitting can bring new life to old buildings whatever their age, use or type. Low energy refurbishments designed to minimise fuel bills will enhance traditional buildings for improved function and less running costs whilst retaining original features and charm. Join us for this CPD, delivered by Scott Abercrombie and Barbara Lantschner from John Gilbert Architects, to look in detail at their retrofitting methodology in the context of their ongoing project to improve the energy efficiency of the Canongate Housing Development, alongside undertaking vital conservation work.