Technical Research at Historic Scotland is structured around better understanding of traditional materials and their use in historic and other structures. We are at the forefront of technical research relating to the built environment through commissioned work with sector specialists, joint initiatives with academic institutions and in-house research.
Research is driven by the needs and requirements of the building conservation sector and associated activities. We seek to develop and improve our understanding of traditional materials, construction techniques and issues affecting the built environment. We strive to better understand traditional techniques and decay process in order that our decisions relating to the care of the built environment are better informed. Our research is managed strategically to address specific areas of need, lack of understanding, or in response to other pressures.
HSCG Research Strategy
The HSCG Research Strategy
[pdf, 153kb] sets out the context for our research, the broad themes our research relates to in terms of scope, and how we prioritise our research programme.
The output of research is normally written up in a series of reports or guides. Basic guidance for homeowners is given in a series of leaflets called INFORM Guides, they cover basic tasks and elements of traditional buildings. Other guidance for Homeowners and building professionals is covered under Short Guides, where topics are addressed in more detail these can be downloaded free from our free publication section
Energy Efficiency Work
For a summary of Histroic Scotland's work on energy efficiency in traditional buildings please see the following documents: Energy Efficiency and traditional buildings – Historic Scotland’s work [pdf, 90kb] Inform Guide on Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings [pdf, 715kb] Technical Research Unit Projects for 2012 [pdf, 134kb] Historic Scotland Energy Pilots 2010-11 Interim results Jan 2012 [pdf, 110kb] Fabric Improvements for Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings [pdf, 1.43mb]
Further technical research is reported in Research Reports, Practitioners Guides and Technical Advice Notes (TANs). These are available for purchase from the Historic Scotland Online Shop.
The present focus is on energy efficiency in older buildings as higher standards are expected of buildings and their component elements. Our research into the thermal performance of traditional buildings seeks to assess baseline performance and give owners of traditionally built home options for improvement that do not compromise the important vapour dynamics of natural materials. These options have to balance the requirements of planning, building control and other legislation, with the needs and requirements of listed buildings. These themes and general advice and principles on modern services etc in older structures are considered in the Guide for Practitioners 6, available as a free download:Guide for Practitioners 6: Connversion of Traditional Buildings, Application for the Scottish Building Standards
[pdf, 6.4 mb]
More recent research is published as Technical Papers.
Recent research results are published as Historic Scotland Technical Papers. The topics covered in this publication series range from energy efficiency research, such as energy modelling of traditional buildings and testing of the thermal performance of walls and windows, to sustainability issues, like embodied energy and indoor comfor.t considerations, and to more traditional building conservation, e.g. research on materials used in painted Renaissance timber interiors.
View the Technical Papers here.
Refurbishment Case Studies
Work on the Historic Scotland Pilot studies is reported in the Refurbishment Case Study Series. Fabric improvements are descried in detail and initial monitoring results are presented where they are available. More in depth discussion of the monitoring results is considered by the Monitoring team in the Technical Papers.
View the Refurbishment Case Studies here.
For more general updates and information on conservation publications see our quarterly FOCUS magazine