BEFS Bulletin – Skills, sustainability and working in partnership

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


BEFS are delighted to introduce our new Communications and Membership Manager, Jess Burrows. Jess joins us fresh from handing in her dissertation in the Architectural Conservation MSc at Edinburgh University and having previously worked for both the Soil Association Scotland and the Churches Conservation Trust in Communications roles. Jess’s role and title reflect not only the importance of BEFS Communications as part of our work, but now rightly reflect the importance of BEFS Members as essential to all our activity. We’ve welcomed her into the team over the past week, and Members can all be assured she’ll be contacting you all to introduce herself.

This week BEFS Director met with the Convenor and Vice Convenor of the Scottish Parliament, Local Government, Planning and Housing Committee. BEFS had been asked to provide a briefing in relation to priorities for the Committee’s work in the coming Parliamentary Session. BEFS had also been asked to reach out to relevant Members in relation to their working practises during the pandemic. BEFS thanks all those who contributed time and information as well as to the Committee for their invitation. BEFS Briefing can be found here.

We’ve already released the news on Twitter, but BEFS are thrilled to be partnering with NTS to support their Portfolio Review. BEFS are now seeking a Research Manager for a 6-month contract to aid delivery of the project. Applications close: 23 August.

Skills have been on our mind as we worked with the Scottish Traditional Building Forum on a film taking a walk down the Royal Mile and providing a new take around sustainability to this more traditional tourist location. Thanks to all those involved! The film will be launched on Monday at the Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival – full details for the festival (running 23 – 27 August) can be found here.  We also know that North East Scotland Preservation Trust are keen to know about skills training in the North East – brief survey here.

BEFS also formally welcome our most recent Associate Member, Stirling City Heritage Trust who provide a Blog of introduction to their work, and the work of the Traditional Building Health Check Scheme.

Glasgow City Heritage Trust have also launched a new podcast If Glasgow’s Walls Could Talk – we look forward to exploring the series.

HES are currently reviewing and updating their grant funding programmes. This consultation is seeking feedback on these proposals to help to ensure that the new grant funding programmes and grants priorities meet the needs of applicants and align with current policy and priorities regarding the historic environment and the wider outcomes it can deliver for society, the economy and the environment. Closing Date: 6 September 2021.

HES also want to know about individual experiences of using HEPS over the last two years. As many responses as possible are needed to give a true reflection of how the Historic Environment Policy for Scotland is used. Consultation here. Closes 30 August.

The A&DS and RIAS Scottish Student Awards for Architecture 2021 are open for entries! The awards are an annual highlight – recognising emerging talent from our student members and the Scottish architecture schools. Full details and submission form can be accessed here. Submission deadline: Monday 23 August 2021.

Applications are now open for the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund. Community groups and organisations can apply for funding of between £500 and £5,000 to support public facing activities and events taking place in Scotland during 2022, either in person, virtual or hybrid. Full details here – the application deadline for the first funding round is 5pm on 1 October 2021.

The Heritage Alliance have also now started the search for a new Head of Policy and Communications to lead their small advocacy and comms team. BEFS wishes Hannah Shimko all the best for the future, it’s been a pleasure working with you!


Historic Environment Policy for Scotland Consultation
Closes 30 August 2021

HES Grants Refresh Consultation
Closes 6 September 2021

Funding for Culture – Call for Views
Closes 8 September 2021

Domestic Energy Performance Certificates Reform Consultation
Closes 8 October 2021

Home Energy Efficiency: Equity Loan Pilot – Call for Evidence
Closes 8 October 2021

Scottish Building Regulations: Proposed changes to Energy Standards and associated topics, including Ventilation, Overheating and Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
Closes 15 October 2021


Rome Declaration of the G20 Ministers of Culture (G20 07/2021)

Levelling up through circular economy jobs (Green Alliance 08/2021)

IPCC 6the Assessment Report (IPCC 09/08/2021)

Heritage Volunteering Group Creating Capacity (08/2021)

RTPI Scotland’s response to consultation on Short Term Lets draft Licensing Order and Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment(12/08/21)

Learning how to live well together: our strategy for change (Carnegie UK 08/21)

New Briefing: Delivering multi-year budgeting in Scotland (The David Hume Institute 08/2021)

Land for Housing: Towards a Public Interest Led Approach to Development(Scottish Land Commission 18/08/2021)

Scottish Government News Releases

The Scottish Government has moved to appoint Dr Fiona Simpson as Interim Chief Planner until the position is filled on a permanent basis. Fiona has taken on that interim role with immediate effect.

Realising Scotland’s full potential in a digital world – a digital strategy for Scotland: progress report 2017 to 2021(SG 30/07/2021)

Developing Net Zero Technical Solutions for Scotland’s Future Mass Retrofit Housing Programme (SG 03/08/2021)

Scottish Advice Note: Determining the fire risk posed by external wall systems in existing multi-storey residential buildings (SG 04/08/2021)

News Releases

Scotland Loves Local Fund II – Open until 1 October
A total £2 million-worth of grants will be available this financial year from the Scottish Government Scotland Loves Local Fund, a multi-year support scheme that aims to encourage people to support businesses and enterprises in their local community.

Opinion & Comment

How do we make homes fit for net zero (BBC 04/08/2021)

Major retrofit proposed for ‘greener’ Glasgow (SHN 09/08/2021)

Scotland’s Heritage sites under attack by thieves and vandals (Herald 01/08/21)

Holiday Accommodation Representatives withdraw from short-term lets working group (Holyrood 08/2021)

Let Kinloch Castle fall into curated decay – and become the ruin that Scotland needs (The Guardian 17/08/2021)

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”.

S6W-01904 Liam Kerr, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 27/07/2021
To ask the Scottish Government what measures it will put in place to support owner-occupiers of off-gas grid homes to achieve EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) Band C by 2025.

S6W-01909 Liam Kerr, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 27/07/2021
To ask the Scottish Government how many off-gas grid homes it estimates are not suitable for the installation of heat pumps, and what its position is on what alternative low-carbon heating systems they are able to install.

S6W-02067 Miles Briggs, Lothian, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 04/08/2021
To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made to date in introducing a Housing First approach.

S6W-02069 Miles Briggs, Lothian, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 04/08/2021
To ask the Scottish Government what its strategy is for reducing the number of empty homes.

S6W-02088 Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/08/2021 R
To ask the Scottish Government by what date it will publish an update to the report, Housing statistics: Empty properties and second homes.

S6W-02125 Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/08/2021
To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made on carrying out inspections of the historic sites cited as being closed as a precautionary measure by Historic Environment Scotland on 7 June 2021.

S6W-02126 Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/08/2021
To ask the Scottish Government what funding it has allocated to Historic Environment Scotland to enable historic sites to be made safe for reopening to members of the public, and what the timescales are for the reopening of these sites.

S6W-02159 Ariane Burgess, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Green Party, Date lodged: 11 August 2021
To ask the Scottish Government what engagement it has had with community councils to inform its proposals for the National Planning Framework 4.

S6W-02217: Graham Simpson, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2021
To ask the Scottish Government what proportion of the funding in the Infrastructure Investment Plan 2021-22 to 2025-2026 has been allocated to projects related to a) utility networks, b) transport and c) digital communications.

S6W-02158: Paul Sweeney, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/08/2021
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will review its response to the Scottish Parliamentary Working Group on Tenement Maintenance, and when it will publish the programme for delivery of the actions identified in its response.

S6W-02179: Paul Sweeney, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/08/2021
To ask the Scottish Government by what date it plans to introduce Compulsory Sale Order (CSO) powers for local authorities.

S6W-02188: Sharon Dowey, South Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2021
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the progress of the planned review of the home report, due in 2021, whether the review will include a consultation and, if so, by what date that consultation will open.

Parliamentary Questions and Answers

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”.

S6W-00967 Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour
Date lodged: 22 June 2021
To ask the Scottish Government whether it considers that increasing the Scottish Land Fund significantly in the early years of the current parliamentary session will be the most effective way of ensuring that communities can compete for the ownership of land, given that there is an increasing number of wealthy private owners expressing interest in buying land.
Current status: Answered by Mairi McAllan on 13 July 2021

Other Parliamentary Activity

The Scottish Parliament is in recess from 26th June 2021 – 29th August 2021
The UK Parliament is in recess 22nd July 2021 – 6th September 2021


Pathways to Traditional Skills; A European Perspective
Date: Tuesday 24 August 2021 – one day conference
Historic Environment Scotland has led a research outcome of the Erasmusplus Traditional Building Skills project working with Scottish and EU partners comparing educational routes into building craft skills and developing new courses in schools and colleges. This conference will report the findings from this work, assess how we can learn from other models and consider the future of building craft skills and how they can be passed on to the next generation.

SURF Annual Conference – Partners in Place
Dates: 24, 25, 26 August 2021
Booking now open for a series of three 90min virtual sessions focusing on: Post-Covid Recovery; Place-based Regeneration and Climate Change.

HTN & HCS At the Heart of the Community – A Future for Your Church
Session Three: Finding New Uses (you do not need to have attended the previous sessions)
Date: Wednesday 1 September 2021, 10-11.30am
In this event we will hear from Harriet English from the Plunkett Foundation, who will introduce the new Community Businesses in Places of Worship project and the support available. We will then go on to have an informal discussion with attendees on the topic of finding new uses, challenges and successes.

Biocultural Heritage in the UK – INHERIT Report Launch
Date: 2 September 4pm
The research was undertaken by Zoe Russell, who will present the findings at the event. We’ll also hear from a panel with diverse perspectives on the topic: Peter Rawcliffe from NatureScot; Hannah Fluck from Historic England; Chris Higgins from Ecodyfi in Wales, and; Krystyna Swiderska from the International Institute for Environment & Development (IIED).

DTA Scotland Conference – Community Climate Action
Date: 5 – 7 September
DTA are offering an engaging, thought-provoking and relevant programme. Immediately after every Conference session, we will also be hosting an informal networking space where people can come together and carry on the conversation – or strike up new ones with new contacts.

SPAB: Inverness Castle Pre-Works Visit
Date: 8 September 2pm
Location: Inverness Castle
This is a unique chance to take part in a tour of this fascinating group of buildings before major conservation and development works start. The buildings have been stripped out of previous modern fittings, and this will be an interesting moment to see the original shapes of the buildings.

PAS – Scotland’s Digital Planning Transformation
Date: 14 September
This event is an ideal opportunity for planners, placemaking professionals, architects, local and national government officers, elected representatives at local and national level, communities, infrastructure providers, engineers and all other relevant stakeholders to engage with other thought leaders and potential partners.


HES are now recruiting for an MSc in technical building conservation. Full details here.

Architectural Conservation CPD: Timber Decay and Repair in Traditional Buildings
Date & time: Wed. 25 August, 12:30-13:30 (from 12:15).
Online via Microsoft Teams, streamed live from Lower City Mills, Perth.
The more technical second half of the 2020 CPD programme opens with this session on timber decay and repair. Delivered by Historic Environment Scotland’s Technical Research Manager Roger Curtis, this CPD will look at the use of timber in traditional construction, decay processes, remedial measures and repair techniques to structural and finishing timber. Sessions are hosted online with Q&A and networking opportunities and delivered using live and recorded content by industry accredited professionals and are recognised CPD by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) and Scottish Traditional Building Forum (STBF).

Arts & Business Scotland: Legacy giving. Now is the time – if you do it right. Learn how to!
Date & time: 16 September, 11:00 – 15:00
Online via Zoom
This course is focused on how to integrate legacies into your current fundraising at little or no cost at a time when more people are making Wills than we have witnessed in decades. The course will cover how to talk and write about legacies in an upbeat but sensitive way, using tone of voice and listening skills. The session will also look at the best messages to ensure no invasion of privacy during difficult sensitive times as well as where to put those messages to trigger interest and action.

SPAB: Duart Castle Visit & Lime Day
Date & time: Sat 18 & Sun 19 September, all day
Location: Duart Castle, Isle of Mull, accessd by ferry from Oban.
Duart Castle is an iconic Scottish Castle in a dramatic and sublime landscape. The Castle was brought back into use in the early C20th (around 1912) after being a ruin for 150 years.  Stonemason Andy Bradley and architect Martin Hadlington will run this weekend event.
DAY 1 (Saturday 18th September) – Visits & tours of castle, including lighting of the lime kiln.
Approx times: 11am – 3pm, including lunch.
DAY 2 (Sunday 19th September) – Practical day, opening up of the kiln and working with tutors to mix mortar and use it on the castle.
Approx times: 10am – 4pm, including lunch.

Scottish Lime Centre Trust: The Structural Repair of Historic buildings
Date & time: 24 September, 9:30 – 16:30
Location: Charlestown Workshop
This masterclass led by Ian Hume, aims to provide professionals with a sound understanding of the philosophy of conservation.  Suitable for: This masterclass is suitable for anyone involved in the structural repair of historic buildings. Conservation officers, architects, engineers, site managers and others would find this seminar helpful.

IHBC CPD – Conservation Engineering
Date & time: 28-29 September, 10.00-13.00 both days
The sessions are intended to help conservation professionals understand some of the structural engineering problems and solutions which historic buildings might have.  The sessions will attempt to put conservation professionals in a position to hold informed discussions with project structural engineers, some of whom may not be particularly familiar with the constraints which conservation might put on their structural solutions.

COTAC Conference 2021 – Protecting our World, Protecting our Heritage
Date & time: 23-24 November, 10.00-13.00 both days
Day 1 will explore the expected impact of climate change on the built heritage, and the potential impact of climate change mitigation on the built heritage. Day 2 will explore ways to support development of the training, skills, and expertise needed to protect the built heritage and reduce emission of greenhouse gases.


Society of Antiquaries of Scotland: Publications Officer
SoAS are looking for a Publications Officer to join a small team producing diverse publications about Scotland’s past. The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland is a charity and an independent publisher of high-quality books and journals. This varied role will offer excellent experience in all aspects of academic publishing. Closing Date: 22 August 2021

Built Environment Forum Scotland – Research Manager
BEFS are delighted to be partnering with NTS to support their Portfolio Review. BEFS are now seeking a Research Manager for a 6-month contract to aid delivery of the project.The successful Research Manager will be working with both the BEFS team who are Project Co-ordinators and the NTS team who are leading the national scale review of their asset portfolio. This is an exciting opportunity to be involved with a strategic national project. Closing Date: 23 August 2021

Heritage Trust Network: Board of Directors
Heritage Trust Network is recruiting new members to its Board of Directors. This is a unique opportunity to join the leadership of one of the fastest growing organisations in community-led heritage regeneration. You could help steer their ambitious strategy to strengthen the organisation and help their members succeed. Closing Date: 23 August 2021

Director of Scotland’s Churches Trust
Due to the retirement of the present post holder at the end of 2021, it is looking to recruit a Director who will be responsible for the day to day running of the Trust and related activities, and who will report to the Board of Trustees. Closing Date: 1 September 2021

Volunteer with North Lanarkshire Doors Open Days – Coordinator 
This is a great opportunity to help people in your local area freely access heritage sites and events; network with professionals across Scotland’s heritage sectors; and develop skills in project management, communication and website management. You will be supported by a friendly national network of Doors
Closing date: applications accepted on a rolling basis.