Traditional Building Skills In The Spotlight

Dumfries and Galloway Council has recently commissioned Savills Architects and Building Surveyors to undertake a Traditional Building Skills Audit and is inviting interested contractors to get in touch.

The aim is to gain an understanding of the traditional building skills that are available locally and to identify ways in which businesses could be supported to develop this area of work in future.

Over 20% of houses in Dumfries and Galloway are traditionally constructed with many dating from the 19th Century. As well as the many historic town centres and villages in the region there are fine farm complexes, churches and other historic houses which are traditionally built. Traditional building methods require a range of skills with masonry, joinery and roofing being key trades. The use of lime in masonry, the accurate replication of mouldings in joinery and the detailing of lead in roofing are examples of the traditional skills currently believed to be in short supply locally. This situation is not unique to Dumfries and Galloway with concern about low capacity in stonemasonry at a national level resulting in a further study currently being led by Historic Environment Scotland.

Locally, these initiatives have been combined in the D&G Traditional Building Skills Audit and contractors are being asked to contribute by completing a short questionnaire about the masonry, joinery and roofing skills they have in their workforce. In the longer term it is hoped that the Audit will provide the springboard for creation of Traditional Building Skills training opportunities in the region enabling businesses to expand their offer and increase their customer base. It may be possible to develop Traditional Building Skills Accreditation which could help contractors with obtaining work as well as ensuring the region’s traditional buildings are better maintained and repaired.

Savills Dumfries Team is presently inviting contractors to contribute by completing a short questionnaire over the next few weeks. If you have not already been contacted and would like to make sure your business is included please email your contact details to [email protected] or call Savills at 01387 263066.

Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy and resources Committee, Katie Hagmann said: “The local construction sector has a great opportunity to help shape the future of the industry and we would urge as many people as possible to contribute to this study. The results will help us to ensure future support is provided in the best way possible.”
Vice Chair, Sean Marshall said: “Traditional buildings contribute so much to the character of our region and to the distinct identity of each of our towns and villages. It’s important that the skills and experience are available to ensure repairs are carried out to a high standard protecting our historic buildings for the future.”
Michael Leybourne, an Architect with Savills in Dumfries said, “The skills of properly trained operatives are critical in preserving and maintaining the many historic buildings in the region.”

This work is being enabled by funding from Historic Environment Scotland and DGC as part of the Stranraer and Dumfries Conservation Area Regeneration Schemes (CARS) with the aim of protecting traditional buildings, supporting local businesses and developing capacity in the local workforce.

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