Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival prepares for seventh annual outing



The timetable has been unveiled for the seventh annual Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival which will be held from August 19-22.

Sponsored by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and forming part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, this year’s event will focus on the need to repair and maintain traditional buildings which follows the findings of the Tenement Working Group in the Scottish Parliament.

The event’s origins date back to a visit of the convener of the Edinburgh Traditional Building Forum to the Festival of Politics at the Scottish Parliament which was part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

As he walked up the Royal Mile to an Edinburgh Traditional Building Forum meeting, he saw the usual volume of tourists taking photographs of the Royal Mile and Edinburgh’s rich built heritage, and thought “if they can do a Festival of Politics, we can surely do a traditional building festival”.

He raised it at the meeting and it was well received with all members of the forum pulling together to develop the programme, and funding, for the first Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival with the strapline of ‘Celebrating Edinburgh’s Traditional Buildings’. The forum wanted the Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival to focus on the positive impact that traditional buildings have on people throughout Edinburgh and the whole of Scotland.

The programme has developed over the years but the core practical trade demonstrations continue with the National Federation of Roofing Contractors and Stone Federation GB both being there from the start. Other practical demonstrations have been brought into the programme and this year include painting and decorating, sash and case window demonstration, lime slaking, plastering and external render plus a series of talks which vary from year to year.

The Edinburgh Traditional Building Forum relies on volunteers to organise and deliver the event while Edinburgh World Heritage Trust and Architecture & Design Scotland kindly provide the venues.

This year’s event has come under Construction Scotland’s Inspiring Construction programme which aims to raise the profile of the variety of career options in the construction industry and ensure the highly skilled workforce across the whole supply chain for Scotland’s construction industry.

Ian Hughes, CITB strategic partnerships director for Scotland, said: “Edinburgh’s rich built heritage has long inspired people at home and abroad. The historic buildings along the Royal Mile are, for example, a wonderful testament to the quality of Scottish construction work. CITB is delighted to sponsor the Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival.

“It is an opportunity for people of all ages to appreciate the marvellous work of previous generations and to discover, via employers, trade bodies and a range of insightful seminars, the diverse career opportunities in construction today. Come along and be inspired.”

Ken Gillespie, chair of Construction Scotland’s Industry Leadership Group, added: “The Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival builds on the success of the Traditional Building Skills events which are part of our Inspiring Construction programme. We aim to attract more school leavers to the sector by informing young people and their parents, teachers and career advisors about the huge and diverse range of careers available in construction, and importantly, how to access them.

“The Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival promotes traditional trades but also some of the key construction professions which are essential across the construction industry. This industry has something to suit everyone.”

The timetable of events is as follows:

19 August

  • 10.30am – Property Repair Seminar

Show Description

Property Repair Seminar – find out from traditional building experts how to keep your traditional home in well maintained and in good repair, plus guidance on working with your neighbours for common repairs such as those in Edinburgh’s beautiful tenements.

  • 12 noon – Home Maintenance, what you can do yourself.

Show Description

Home maintenance, what you can do yourself - talk by SPAB helping homeowners develop a maintenance programme to keep your home in a good state of repair at minimal cost and what to do when a larger repair is required.

  • 1.30pm – Energy Efficiency of Traditional Buildings

Show Description

Energy Efficiency of Traditional Buildings - Historic Environment Scotland talk on appropriate energy efficiency measures for a traditional house. Traditional buildings have unique challenges for energy efficiency and this will provide the toolkit for appropriate steps to reducing energy consumption.

20 August

  • 10.30am – Roof Slating Demonstration

Show Description

Traditional Roofing Slating Demonstration - A practical demonstration from the National Federation of Roofing Contractors. How repairs should be done. A home must we wind and watertight to be energy efficient and your roof is key to achieving this.

  • 12 noon – Roof Leadwork Demonstration

Show Description

Roof Leadwork Demonstration – Practical demonstration from the National Federation of Roofing Contractors. Expert demonstration and guidance on lead burning and bossing. A home must we wind and watertight to be energy efficient and your roof is key to achieving this.

  • 1.30pm – Stonemasonry Demonstration

Show Description

Stonemasonry Demonstration – A practical demonstration from Stone Federation GB. Expert demonstration and guidance on stone repairs and replacement. Highlighting the need to ensure correct stone, and mortar, selection and why this is so important.

21 August

  • 10.30am – Sash & Case Window Demonstration

Show Description

Sash & Case Window Demonstration - Practical demonstration on the inner workings of a sash and case window from the Federation of Master Builders. See the inner working and how a tradesperson repairs and maintains them.

  • 12 noon – Lime Render Demonstration

Show Description

Practical demonstration by Scottish Lime Centre Trust on the making and application of lime render. The slaking process of adding water, turning the traditional building material lime from calcium oxide (burnt lime or quicklime) into calcium hydroxide (slaked lime).

  • 1.30pm – Traditional Plastering

Show Description

Practical demonstration on the making and application of traditional plaster by Will Napier and Fionn Blench. Finding out about the unique ingredients within traditional plaster and the importance of them and practical demonstration on how traditional plaster should be applied.

22 August

  • 10.30am – Painting & Decorating Demonstration

Show Description

Painting & Decorating Demonstration - Practical demonstration on marbling and graining techniques from Nevin Decorators. See how a skilled tradesperson transforms a piece of MDF into looking like oak or marble. Needs to be seen to be believed.

Show Description

Do you love Georgian architecture? Come and join Graham Hickey, Conservation Director of the Dublin Civic Trust, for a fascinating lecture exploring the architectural development of Edinburgh and Dublin, two world-renowned Georgian cities, and learn about the similarities and differences between these two international capitals.

  • 1.30pm – Building Stones Geology Tour of Calton Hill

Show Description

Building Stones of Edinburgh Geology Walking Tour – A building stones tour of Calton Hill outlining how stone is formed and the importance of stone matching and bedding. Highlighting the stones, and their sources, used to build Edinburgh.



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