Work to begin on £8.9 million Engine Shed project

Historic Scotland’s landmark £8.9 million Engine Shed project in Forthside, Stirling, takes another step closer to being realised, with the appointment of contractor, Esh Border Construction.

The construction phase will see the transformation of an unused building into a world-leading education centre for building conservation in Scotland, creating and delivering educational resources and training on traditional buildings and materials.

As well as providing a centre of excellence for those already operating in the sector, it will also provide the opportunity for sharing expertise through the creation of a central ‘knowledge hub’ offering an opportunity to engage members of the public with conservation and heritage through a variety of events, exhibitions and activities.

Commenting on the Engine Shed project, ahead of today’s Scottish Government Culture Debate, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said:

“The Engine Shed will play an important part in helping to achieve objectives highlighted within Scotland’s first historic environment strategy. This ten-year plan will allow our heritage to continue its strong contribution to the cultural, social, environment and economic value of Scotland.

“Investing in the development of traditional building skills will help protect and preserve this unique asset, for the future benefit of all.

“The appointment of Esh Border Construction is a key step in the project.”

The Chair of Historic Environment Scotland, Jane Ryder, along with other members of the Board, toured the Engine Shed site and commented:

“This marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for both the Engine Shed and Scotland’s wider heritage sector.

“The is made doubly special in a year which will also see the new body Historic Environment Scotland take on its role, charged with caring for and promoting our nation’s historic environment for the benefit of both current and future generations to come.”

Scotland’s historic environment is a vital part of Scotland’s culture and its economy with around 450,000 traditionally constructed buildings, many of which are still used for living and working in today.

There is a real skills gap, with a lack of availability of high quality, adequately skilled traditional contractors within the construction industry and a current shortage of around 5,000 traditionally skilled workers to meet this demand.

David Mitchell, Director of Conservation at Historic Scotland, added:

“The Engine Shed is set to become a leading hub for building conservation on both a national and international level. Our aspiration is to create a place that anyone with an interest in traditional buildings, skills and materials will be able to enjoy. Our cutting edge science and digital documentation work will mix with centuries old skills, demonstrating that both have a role to play in the future. A wide range of education and training will be offered from a new postgraduate level qualification in technical conservation to activities for the next generation of conservation enthusiasts.

“We want to demonstrate the benefits of traditional forms of construction and their continued potential for economic growth and we’re pleased that Esh Border Construction will be working with us over the coming year, helping to deliver the Engine Shed project.”

John Moore, Construction Director for Esh Border Construction in Scotland, said:

“This is a really exciting project for Esh Border Construction to be involved in and is exactly the kind of challenge we love to take on. There is a massive emphasis here on economic and regeneration objectives, which goes hand-in-hand with Esh Border’s focus of adding value in the communities where we operate.

“Furthermore, we have been energised by the enthusiasm that has been shown by Historic Scotland in bringing the Engine Shed to fruition and hope to maintain that momentum throughout its construction, helping to fully realise its education and outreach ambitions.

“We have no doubt that the centre will excel as an inspiring place of learning for local residents and visitors, that will serve to celebrate and preserve Scotland’s rich built heritage, and we are very proud to be part of it.”

Historic Environment Scotland has been established as the new body to investigate, care for and promote Scotland’s historic environment, which comes into effect on 1 October 2015.

It replaces Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments Scotland (RCAHMS). The Engine Shed is a major project for the new organisation.

The construction phase is due to be complete by summer 2016.