Part of Historic Environment Scotland

Unit 4: Final Project

Dates: 30/4/18 - 25/5/18
Total hours: 195
Taught hours: 5
On-site instruction: 5
Off-site instruction: 190
Credits: 20


Put into practice the knowledge and skills acquired in Units 1 to 3 to take on a challenge that professional conservationists regularly come up against.

Students will form small teams to take on an intensive four-week case study project centred around a structure on Scotland’s Buildings at Risk Register. Your task will be to identify, research, survey and assess a chosen site, and specify a programme of repair works for it. You will then develop proposals to alter or convert the redundant structure to give it a new use and a more secure future.

This authentic assessment will let you demonstrate your understanding of key aspects of conservation work, as studied in the diploma’s initial 19 modules.

You will also be able to show that you have a practical handle on how the conservation sector operates in Scotland. How historical, political, legal, socio-economic or technical factors may influence conservation work. How successful repair or restoration projects should be undertaken on the ground.

A key element of the case study is engaging with the many stakeholders typically involved in such projects. This will help you to build a well-rounded picture of the opportunities and constraints that surround problematic heritage sites, and get to grips with local attitudes around potential changes of use.

Topics covered in this unit

  • Carrying out archival research for all available primary and secondary source material to inform the inspection, planning and design process
  • Surveying and documenting site conditions, diagnosing causes of decay, developing a specification for works, and outlining a methodology for the same
  • Devising a strategy to identify key issues, establishing priorities for action, identifying potential new uses and investigating feasibility
  • Liaising with stakeholders about new uses, including obtaining statutory consents and conforming to local or national heritage strategies
  • Seeking advice from local building preservation trusts, the planning authority and/or conservation specialists about funding for the works
  • Finalising practical recommendations for the building’s conservation, alteration or conversion, and its reuse
  • Outlining a plan for future monitoring and maintenance following completion of the works

Unit delivery

The final four weeks of the diploma are devoted to this self-directed group exercise. Students will meet, both individually and as a team, with the course director and a project adviser on a weekly basis. The course director and project adviser will monitor both individual and group progress.

Entry requirements

Unit 4 (Module T) can only be taken as part of the Advanced Professional Diploma. Entry to Unit 4 is restricted to diploma students who have successfully completed Units 1 to 3 within the previous four academic years.

Unit Assessment

At the end of the project you will deliver a report written, illustrated and produced jointly by the team, and an illustrated digital presentation (PowerPoint, Keynote or equivalent) to be given by the team to an invited audience at the Engine Shed. The audience will include tutors from other modules, the course director, the external examiner, project consultees and non-technical staff from the Engine Shed, Stirling Castle and other Historic Environment Scotland sites. The work of the team – the report and presentation – will be graded as a whole, and each individual’s contribution to the team effort will also be assessed. The process of undertaking the case study project is considered as important and valid as the final product itself.