BEFS Bulletin – A refreshed national strategy in the offing, and a busy summer season of events to explore

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


The high-level masonry assessments and work ongoing across many HES sites is a topic that’s received a lot of attention from the sector and general public. BEFS were pleased to see both a detailed blog piece from HES Director of Operations, Craig Mearns; and a short film addressing the actions being taken, and the challenges faced in this process. (Craig has also welcomed the invitation to BEFS Members’ Historic Environment Working Group (HEWG) meeting at the end of August.)

BEFS, along Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS) are really looking forward to hosting a seminar day in September, focussing on Conservation Areas, their management, designation, and exploring their role in creating good places. This event is aimed at anyone with a role in decision making within a Conservation Area, Local Authority officers and policy makers. We would love to see you there!
Thinking of Conservation, Edinburgh World Heritage are looking for a Conservation Programmes Officer. Do have a look at the Vacancies section below for more information.

RIAS have announced their shortlist for the prestigious Andrew Doolan Prize for Best Scottish Building. We’d never pick favourites, but we are pleased to see a restoration project included – High Sunderland – a 1957 Category A-listed modernist icon whose future was uncertain following a fire in 2017.

Six organisations, including a number of BEFS members, have recently signed up to a three year, 45 point action plan to jointly improve Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) across the sector. These actions could have a positive impact on over 350,000 members across the sector organisations in question. BEFS look forward to seeing the outcomes of this plan.

BEFS would also like to congratulate Scotland’s new Chief Reporter, Scott Ferrie, whose appointment was confirmed last Thursday.

Next month (September) will bring us Doors Open Day, the popular festival that sees hundreds of sites across Scotland offer free access to buildings and events. The full programme of events will be released in mid-August, but in the meantime be sure to head to the Doors Open Days website to mark your diary for the 2022 weekends, and subscribe to the Doors Open Days newsletter to be notified when the programme goes live.

And finally:
BEFS, working closely with HES and the Scottish Government, will be holding a series of engagement events (online and in person) across August in relation to refreshing Our Place in Time, the national strategy for the historic environment. Invitations were sent out last week, and places are limited, so do please book via the related Eventbrite links should you wish to attend. As soon as the report from the Scottish Historic Environment Forum (SHEF) event is available we’ll be sharing the links via the Bulletin and our twitter feed.

Thinking of future OPiT – whilst the KPIs may change, the good work being done across the sector always needs to be captured. Due to Covid we haven’t been actively seeking new case studies for a wee while, but it’s essential we can illustrate a refreshed OPiT with excellent examples. The current case studies can all be found here – and you can submit new ones via this online form.  We look forward to seeing the fantastic activity taking place over the last few years.


Buildings at Risk Register (BARR)
Historic Environment Scotland
Closes 5 August 2022

Views on the impact of budgetary decisions including the Resource Spending Review on the culture sector in Scotland
Scottish Parliament Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee
Closes 19 August 2022

Delivering Scotland’s circular economy: a consultation on proposals for a Circular Economy Bill
Scottish Government
Closes 22 August 2022

Delivering Scotland’s circular economy: A Route Map to 2025 and beyond
Scottish Government
Closes 22 August 2022

Land Reform in a Net Zero Nation
Scottish Government
Closes 25 September 2022

New Build Heat Standard: consultation – part two
Scottish Government
**new** Closes 20 October 2022

Consultation Responses

Onshore wind policy statement refresh – draft: consultation analysis
Scottish Government

Local development planning – regulations and guidance: consultation responses
Scottish Government


A Wellbeing and Heritage Strategy for Historic England (Historic England May 2022)
Strategy document showing how HE aims to improve delivery, enhance the social impact of programmes, highlight inequities that heritage can challenge, and communicate the value of heritage. 

National Lottery Heritage Fund Annual Report and Accounts 2021-22
The 2021-22 Annual Report and Accounts for the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Toolkit for recording archaeological materials (CIfA July 2022)
Toolkit intended for use by anyone engaged in organising, managing or monitoring the records created during initial processing of archaeological materials recovered during an archaeological project.

Levelling Up and Sustainable Place Making (RICS July 2022)
RICS 10-point plan, ‘Levelling Up and Sustainable Placemaking’ sets out the overarching policy recommendations for the UK Government.

RIBA Construction Contacts and Law Report (RIBA July 2022)
The RIBA Construction Contracts and Law Report 2022 report details the findings of a survey of 950+ construction professionals on their experience of legal and contractual practice over the past twelve months, complemented by a series of articles from cross-sector experts.

Making a house a home: Why policy must focus on the ownership and distribution of housing (JRF July 2022)
Briefing setting out the argument underpinning a new area of work at JRF, around ownership and distribution of homes in the English housing market. It suggests proposals for reform, and highlights areas JRF want to explore.

A population-based retrospective study of the modifying effect of urban blue space on the impact of socioeconomic deprivation on mental health (Nature July 2022)
Findings from a study using population primary care health data in the North of Glasgow exploring whether living near blue space modifies the negative effect of socio-economic deprivation on mental health during the regeneration of an urban blue space (canal) from complete dereliction and closure.

Scottish Government Publications

Letter to Convener, Local Government, Housing & Planning Committee (11/07/22)
Correspondence from Tom Arthur, Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth, to Ariane Burgess on the estimated timescale for the final version of National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) being laid before the Parliament, and for the Committee’s scrutiny.

Controlling short-term lets (01/08/2022)
Statement outlining how Edinburgh will become Scotland’s first designated Short-Term Let Control Area after the Scottish Government approved the City of Edinburgh Council’s proposed change to planning requirements.

New Releases

Celebrating a growing relationship with the Council for British Archaeology
Elia McQueen celebrates a strengthening relationship between Archaeology Scotland and the Council for British Archaeology.
New Bill proposed to prevent local planning decisions being overruled
Conservative MSP Miles Briggs is to bring forward new legislation that will ensure no planning decisions made locally would be overturned after highlighting new figures local authorities were overruled on almost half of all planning appeals in the last year.

Celebrating excellence in retrofit and reuse in the built environment
The 2023 AJ Retrofit Awards, brought to you by The Architects’ Journal, are looking for entrants. The awards recognise and celebrate the design expertise behind the vital renewal and repurposing of existing buildings, setting a precedent for ways to slash the industry’s carbon footprint in the process. 
New partnership to help tackle empty homes in Scotland’s rural and island communities
Tighean Innse Gall (TIG) and the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP) have launched a joint project to tackle the issue of empty homes in Outer Hebrides.

Creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive built environment sector – Action plan
Six built environment bodies jointly commit to a three-year action plan to improve equity, diversity and inclusion. 

A subterranean secret
Forestry and Land Scotland blog on surveying the remote Iron Age souterrain (or cellar) of Cracknie in Borgie Forest in Sutherland using laser scanning techniques.  

Funding for 57 New Projects Across England That Will Tell the Untold Stories of Our Nation’s Working-Class Heritage
These new projects will reveal and celebrate untold stories from across England: from the distinct history of the Dunston Staiths – a coal drop for ships in Gateshead, to the stories of the colliers, iron workers, and traveller communities that used tin chapels in the Forest of Dean. 

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside! Funding awarded to revitalise historic Scottish harbour buildings
The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is delighted to have awarded two new grants to projects aiming to revitalise historic harbour buildings in both Portsoy and Annan.

Opinion & Comment

Scots Gov is accused of ignoring experts after overturning almost half of all appealed planning decisions (The Herald 24/07/22)
Reducing embodied carbon in building products for a sustainable future (PBC today 26/07/22)

Homes for Scotland questions quality of local planning decisions (Scottish Housing News 27/07/22)

Architects and designers must embrace the circular economy (Project Scotland 27/07/22)

Climate change: Huge public demand for eco-friendly homes means council planning departments need proper funding (Edinburgh Evening News 28/07/22)

Why urban design needs to integrate nature (RICS Built Environment Journal 28/07/22)

Why the mysterious Scottish broch is making a return (BBC 28/07/2022)
Dereliction threat to Scotland’s canals from financial restrictions hampering regeneration (The Scotsman 31/07/22)

Behind the scenes: a monumental challenge (HES Blog 01/08/2022)

Catherine Cartmell: Scotland’s built heritage highlights why it’s so important to invest in skills (Press & Journal 02/08/2022)

Parliamentary Questions 

Scottish Parliament is in recess until 4th September.
Questions marked with a triangle (?) are initiated by the Scottish Government 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-09932Donald Cameron, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Date Lodged: 25 July 2022
To ask the Scottish Government how many projects have (a) applied for and (b) received funding from the Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme since it was created, broken down by (i) local authority area and (ii) the value of each project award. Answer expected on 22 August 2022

S6W-10002: Liam Kerr, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Date Lodged: 26 July 2022
To ask the Scottish Government what its strategy is to deliver public advice and messaging regarding a transition to renewable heat sources in order to ensure that homeowners can access comprehensive advice in relation to the decarbonisation of homes. Answer expected on 23 August 2022

S6W-10119: Liam Kerr, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Date Lodged: 1 August 2022
To ask the Scottish Government how many homes have benefitted from the Social Housing Net Zero Heat Fund as of 30 July 2022, and what the average cost per property is. Answer expected on 29 August 2022

Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Questions marked with a triangle (?) are initiated by the Scottish Government 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-09251Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour Date Lodged: 23 June 2022
To ask the Scottish Government what the average day rate is of the contractors in its Cladding Remediation Unit.
Answered on 21 July 2022

S6W-09252Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour Date Lodged: 23 June 2022
To ask the Scottish Government (a) how many contractors have worked and (b) what the expenditure has been on contractors, in its Cladding Remediation Unit in each of the last 12 months.
Answered on 21 July 2022

S6W-09628Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour Date Lodged: 5 July 2022
To ask the Scottish Government how many community-run retrofit organisations does it fund.
Answered on 27 July 2022

S6W-10001Liam Kerr, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Date Lodged: 26 July 2022
To ask the Scottish Government what skills strategy it has in place to ensure that Scotland has sufficient professionals to advise homeowners on their transition to clean energy and carry out installation and maintenance.
Answered on 2 August 2022


For the full list of BEFS Members’ upcoming events see our events calendar.
Green Home Festival 2022
Date & Time: 8-12 August 2022
Location: Online and in person 
Running from 8-12 August, the Green Home Festival will feature 12 shows, which are all free to attend. Some will be in-person and hosted at the offices of RICS in Edinburgh, others will be delivered online via webinar or on-site at other locations around the city. The climate emergency, net zero and soaring energy prices are the driving factors behind the Green Home Festival. Explore events such as, Retrofitting a Traditional Tenement or Transforming a Listed Museum.
Whose Town Is It Anyway? (Part of Festival of Politics)
Date & Time: Thursday 11 August 2022 12.30-1.30pm
Location: Online 
Who holds the power in town centres – is it the developer, the chain stores, or the investors? Do they really have the town centre interest at heart or does the profit margin supersede community? How can the community and independent retailers take control and does free parking at out-of- town centres trump local community any day? Join the debate on how we build in climate, social inclusion and health and well-being to every town centre in Scotland.
Supported by the Cross-Party Group on Towns and Town Centres.
Understanding Ghost Signs: Ghost Signs of Glasgow Tour and Sign Writing Workshop with Women’s Type Foundry
Date & Time:  Saturday 20 August 2022 10.30am-5pm
Location: George Square, Glasgow and GCHT office, Bell Street
Ghost Signs of Glasgow is a project which unearths the stories behind old signs and shopfronts of the city by researching and documenting them. These ghost signs, the fading remains of old painted signs on buildings, provide an invaluable insight into Glasgow’s architectural, social and cultural history. Many ghost signs hide in plain sight in the urban landscape around them, leaving a tangible part of Glasgow’s heritage vulnerable to being lost forever. In the afternoon you’ll get to participate in a sign painting workshop with Women’s Type Foundry, a female-led design, research and typography studio based in Glasgow.
Live podcast recording: “Preserving historic hospitals: the Royal Infirmary”- Friends of Glasgow Royal Infirmary in conversation with Niall Murphy
Date & Time: Wednesday 24th August 2022 7-8.30pm
Join us for an exclusive live recording event of a new episode of GCHT’s very own podcast. ‘If Glasgow’s Walls Could Talk’ explores the relationships between the city’s historic buildings and places and its communities. Each episode focuses on a specific area or type of building, not only from a historical and architectural point of view, but also from the perspective of the community. Here you will have the chance to listen to GCHT Deputy Director Niall Murphy interviewing Dr Hilary Wilson and Dr Kate Stevens, both Trustees of Friends of Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
STBF – Festival of Traditional Buildings
Date & Time: Monday 22 – Friday 26 August 2022
Location: Edinburgh and online (hybrid)
This will be the 10th Festival of Traditional Buildings, with a rebranding from Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival. In the last two years the event has been hosted online due to the pandemic, creating a truly global audience. Whilst the team are delighted to be back delivering the festival in-person, this will be a hybrid event so those unable to attend in person are still able to participate in the events.
From Slogans to Sound Strategy? The 2022 SURF Annual Conference
Date & Time: Thursday 25 August 2022 10am-3pm
Location: COSLA Conference Centre, Edinburgh
Anyone involved with the regeneration of Scottish places, is very likely to have heard repeated references to Community Wealth Building and Levelling Up in recent times. SURF’s 2022 Annual Conference will critically examine policy and practice developments associated with both concepts, with particular reference to the Argyll & Bute town of Dunoon.
Broomhall House, Charlestown and the Lime Kilns
Date & Time: Saturday 27 August 2022 9am-6pm
Join AHSS on a tour of Broomhall House, the home of the Bruce family for more than 300 years. It continues to be lived in, and cared for, by the descendants of King Robert the Bruce. This will be followed by a visit to the historic “planned” village of Charlestown, which pre-dates New Lanark, and sits on the Broomhall Estate. The tour of Broomhall will end with a visit to the Charlestown Lime Kilns, which are regarded as one of the most important Industrial Revolution remains in the UK.
Doors Open Days
Date & Time: Weekends in September
Location: Various across Scotland
Doors Open Days, the popular festival that sees hundreds of sites across Scotland offer free access to buildings and events, will return in September! The full programme of events will be released in mid-August, but in the meantime be sure to head to the Doors Open Days website to mark your diary for the 2022 weekends, and subscribe to the Doors Open Days e-newsletter to be notified when the programme goes live!
Scottish Archaeology Fair 2022
Date & Time: Sunday 4 September 2022
Location: Castle Douglas Town Hall and the Carlingwark Park and Activity Centre
Archaeology Scotland and Galloway Glens are bringing the Scottish Archaeology Fair back this year after a two-year pause following Covid restrictions. The event will officially launch this year’s Scottish Archaeology Month and the celebration of the conclusion of the outstanding Can You Dig It? community archaeology project.  Archaeology Scotland and Galloway Glens aim to raise the profile of Scottish Archaeology and provide a space for everyone to connect with, learn from and enjoy their local heritage and archaeology.  


Practising ethical competence in archaeology
Date & Time: Wednesday, 24 August 2022
Location: Online
Ethical behaviour is not innate: it is learned and practiced in the real world – or in a safe environment like this workshop. Using case studies developed from real-life experiences in archaeological practice, scenarios in this workshop allow participants to explore what happens when different roles in commercial fieldwork have conflicting motivations and the ethical dimensions of going beyond the contract when that happens.
The Structural Repair of Historic Buildings
Date & Time: Friday 26 August 2022
Location: Charlestown Workshops, Charlestown, Fife
This masterclass led by Ian Hume, aims to provide professionals with a sound understanding of the philosophy of conservation.
Participants will gain a better understanding of the relationship between structural engineering and conservation, of safety issues and of the aesthetics of conservation based structural repairs.
PAS, SP=EED Community Engagement Skills training
Date & Time: Thursday 15 September 2022 10am-3pm
Location: Online
Want to brush up on your community engagement skills? Join PAS next live ‘SP=EED’ training. SP=EED is a unique development programme designed to develop your skills and confidence in designing, delivering and evaluating effective community engagement.  
Conservation Areas Seminar
Date & Time: Thursday 29 September 2022 10am-4:30pm
Location: Engine Shed, Stirling
Historic Environment Scotland (HES), the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS) and BEFS will host a day of discussions focussing on Conservation Areas, their management, designation, and exploring their role in creating good places. This event is aimed at anyone with a role in decision making within a Conservation Area, Local Authority officers and policy makers.
STBA and SPAB Annual Conference – Sustaining Buildings 20222
Date & Time: 12 October 2022 9.30am-5pm
Location: Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh
The popular STBA / SPAB annual conference returns in-person this autumn for a full day of presentations and Q&A sessions by UK experts in the field. With retrofit and the green agenda firmly in the eye of the public, SPAB Scotland and STBA bring you a selection of speakers who will dive deeper into these topics and provide expert analysis of WUFI, embodied carbon analysis, training opportunities, and much more. 


Development Officer
Salary: £29,500 pro rata
Status: 0.8FTE (with potential for full-time if preferred)
Location: Glasgow or home-based
This is an exciting opportunity to join a small but busy team – supporting aspiring and post-purchase community landowners, building networks and raising awareness of community landownership. The postholder will provide support to communities in South, Central and Eastern Scotland.
Closing date: 5pm, Monday 8 August 2022

Edinburgh World Heritage – Conservation Programmes Officer
Salary: £28,840-£30,900
Status: Full time, permanent 
Location: Edinburgh
EWH are looking for a Conservation Programmes Officer to support the conservation and enhancement of the built heritage and public spaces across the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site, working with stakeholders and communities to deliver meaningful projects. Experienced in the delivery of best practice conservation repair and maintenance projects and bringing exceptional organisational and planning skills, you will help to conserve the city through the investment of approximately £1.75m per year from Historic Environment Scotland.
Closing date: 10am, Monday 15 August 2022
NTS Conservation Maintenance Surveyor
Salary: £36,523-£40,238
Status: Full time, permanent
Location: North East Scotland 
The National Trust for Scotland is looking for strong team players who are committed to conserving and sharing Scotland’s heritage.  Join the NTS Building Surveying Team and you will work with Scotland’s largest and most diverse portfolio of historic buildings and structures. This is a new role and you will be instrumental in shaping the way the Trust manages the conservation maintenance of its buildings, helping to build maintenance plans for each building and dealing with backlog maintenance projects.  
Closing date: 10am, Friday 9 September 2022