Part of Historic Environment Scotland

Fired earth conservation

Get to grips with fired earth in traditional buildings. Learn about its uses, properties, weathering and decay processes, and conservation and repair techniques.



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

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3 weeks


27 November - 11 December 2019

Study time

Taught:4 days


As a stand-alone short course:£330


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

Explore Diploma course
A traditional brick building


Fired earth products have been used in Scotland’s historic environment since the Roman era. Explore the use of brick, tiles and terracotta products in traditional Scottish structures on this short course, which includes:

  • external walls
  • engineered structures
  • roofing pantiles
  • chimney pots
  • ridge coverings
  • glazed clay products such as faience and ceramic wall
  • floor tiles

What you will learn 

Gain a broad overview of the geology and mineralogy of brick clays, fire clays and associated earth products. Learn about their material characteristics and the development of industrial production.

Discover the fundamental physical properties of fired earth building products with our experts, including weathering and decay processes and the effects of man-made wear or damage.

Gain a solid understanding of current conservation repair principles and process. You will also learn the means and methods for carrying out repairs including:

  • initial survey and diagnosis
  • specification and procurement
  • on-site installation

Everything you study on this course is in accordance to established standards of best practice.

Topics covered

  • Origins of the material and Scottish traditions
  • Historic brick manufacturing in Scotland
  • Traditional brickwork
  • Terracotta, faience and cast stone
  • Tiles
  • Decay mechanisms
  • Repair and conservation
  • Techniques
  • Specifying repairs
  • Health and safety issues

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:

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