Historic Environment Scotland reveals management and investment plans for historic assets

A plan for the continued management, conservation and maintenance of more than 600 buildings and monuments across the length and breadth of Scotland has been launched today by Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

The Asset Management Plan outlines the steps HES is taking to maintain not just the historic properties and structures in its care, but also the modern infrastructure such as car parks, visitor facing facilities, mechanical and electrical installations that are critical to its operations.

The Plan has four distinct objectives, linked through a prioritisation hierarchy which places conservation needs and visitor access requirements alongside statutory requirements and wider cultural impacts.

The plan outlines how HES will improve the condition of the properties in care - inside and out.

The objectives of the Plan are to:

  • Improve the condition of the assets and manage the infrastructure through conservation
  • Maintain a consistently high quality visitor experience

  • Understand and communicate the cultural significance of HES assets
  • Deliver wider economic, social and environmental benefits and opportunities through asset management in areas such as knowledge generation, community engagement, sustainability and innovation.
  • To monitor their diverse assets, HES has adopted cutting edge technology coupled with regular condition assessments. Measures range from the introduction of the HES System for Integrated Geoscience Mapping (SIGMA) to capture the condition of monuments to the development of the Properties in Care Asset Management System (PiCAMS), which will provide a single live digital system to link, manage and access data from sites provided by a wide variety of surveys and tools.

    The Rae survey project, which seeks to provide accurate special survey data of 336 of Scotland’s most important monuments, is on-going and serves to provide a foundation for further digital analysis.

    3D laser scanning at Blackness Castle as part of the Rae Project to digitally document 336 of Scotland’s most important monuments

    Speaking at the Engine Shed, Scotland’s national conservation centre, at of the launch of the Asset Management Plan, Jane Ryder, chair of the Historic Environment Scotland Board, said: “Today marks a significant milestone for HES. I am pleased to unveil our first Asset Management Plan, as well as the accompanying Investment Plan.

    “The plan provides a new strategic approach to how we manage our assets - over 300 properties including some of the country’s most iconic sites such as Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar and Maes Howe in Orkney, Edinburgh, Caerlaverock and Stirling Castles, to the magnificent Borders abbeys.”

    HES Chair, Jane Ryder, launched the Asset Management Plan at the Engine Shed

    The Asset Management Plan has been published alongside a £12 million Investment Plan, which sets out an investment programme which will enhance the condition of sites and improve the experience of visitors.

    Overall, 20 sites across the Historic Environment Scotland estate are earmarked as priority under the Investment Plan. Projects planned include the ongoing enhancement to facilities and amenities at Edinburgh Castle; repair work on the main Spire at Glasgow Cathedral and an augmented reality app for Caerlavarock Castle allowing visitors to collect historical animations related to the castle and its adjacent nature trail.

    The Investment Plan will see important conservation work continue at Dumbarton Castle

    The visitor experience at Doune Castle in Perthshire - which doubles as the fictional Castle Leoch in the hit TV show Outlander – will also be enhanced thanks to new external lighting around the site and an introductory exhibition on its history, based in the castle vaults. The Castle’s shop was also upgraded last year to become a larger more customer friendly retail outlet.

    Introducing the plans, HES chief executive, Alex Paterson, said: “These are ambitious plans which will set new standards for the care of our properties and provide world class visitor attractions with outstanding visitor experiences.

    “We’re building on the success of recent years which have seen record numbers of visitors to many of Scotland’s historic sites.”

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