Part of Historic Environment Scotland

Building fabric and function

Get an introduction to traditional Scottish building methods and materials. Learn how the separate elements of a structure or a building interact and function as a whole.



Our Advanced Diploma prospectus contains information about all our short courses:

Download our prospectus


3 weeks


11 - 25 September 2019

Study time

Taught:3 days


As a stand-alone short course:£240


Looking for a related qualification? Learn about our Accredited Diploma that can be taken part-time or full time.

Explore Diploma Course
A traditional, rural building made from stone


Get an introduction to traditional Scottish building methods and how materials like earth, stone, lime, timber, glass and metals are fashioned into structural components. Learn how the separate elements of building fabric interact and function as a whole.

What you will learn

Examine the scientific principles of physical and structural decay in the historic environment, and the causes of deterioration in building fabric. More detailed analysis of material-specific issues of weathering, decay and deterioration will be covered in specific short courses on each material or component.

Discover the methods and techniques used to identify decay and defects, and how to intervene according to standard conservation principles. Get an understanding of the impact such interventions have on the integrity of traditional buildings, and the need to keep analysis and intervention as simple as possible.

Topics covered

  • Building fabric and function
  • Causes of decay
  • Weathering and deterioration
  • Structural issues
  • Intervention techniques and methodologies
  • Role of maintenance

Course content

Short courses offer the opportunity to learn about building conservation through lectures, workshops and site visits. 

Classes, lectures and presentations

Students benefit from attending classes and lectures taught by national and international experts. Forthcoming lectures are to be confirmed.

Previous speakers have included:

  • Steve Wood, Engineer (Narro Associates)
  • Will Napier, Building surveyor (Adams Napier Partnership)
  • David Mitchell, Director of Conservation (Historic Environment Scotland)
  • Roger Curtis, Technical Research Manager (Historic Environment Scotland)

Potential site visits

Students have the opportunity to participate in site visits. These vary from one year to another. 

Previous site visits for this course have included:


Although our short courses are not formally assessed, students will be awarded a certificate upon successfully completing this course.

A formal qualification can be obtained by studying our Advanced Professional Diploma on Technical Building Conservation.

What our students say