RESEARCH, REPorTS And Policies

  Here we like to highlight research papers and other information which is relevant to the traditional skills sector.

Traditional Building Skills Report (2013)


Skills Needs Analysis 2013 report cover imageThe construction industry, which includes the built heritage sector, changed dramatically following the recession in 2007. Research undertaken in 2013 was designed to give an updated and comprehensive perspective on the supply of and demand for traditional building skills. This includes identifying skills gaps and determining areas of recruitment difficulty.

Findings include:
⦁    5.5 million traditional (pre-1919) buildings in England.
⦁    £3.8 billion spent on work on traditional buildings in 2012.
⦁    89% of contractors are general construction companies, 87% do not hold formal qualifications relating to traditional buildings.

A Skills Action Plan was agreed as a result of the research to address the key issues. It focuses on the continued need to increase client demand, and improve the training and qualifications available.

Read the full report here.


Mapping Heritage Craft: the Economic Contribution of the Heritage Craft Sector in England (2012)


Mapping Heritage Craft report front coverThis report written by Creative and Cultural Skills and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills,  provides evidence on the size, shape and nature of work in the Heritage Craft sector, which will engender a consistent approach to supporting its workforce in the future. Anecdotal and isolated evidence has led to a lack of awareness of the challenges facing the sector and its real size and scale. This new evidence base shows that over 169,000 people work within it, using traditional hand skills to provide products and services in response to growing public demand. The sector is set to grow in the future; with an anticipated 12% growth in employment in the period leading up to 2022.

Read the full report here.

Mapping Heritage Craft: Focus Group Briefing Paper

This report was produced by Creative and Cultural Skills in conjunction with: The Heritage Crafts Association, The Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, The Office of the Prince of Wales, Construction Skills.


Memorandum of Understanding on Maintaining Standards and Best Practice in the Built Heritage Sector in England (2009)


Memorandum of Understanding on Maintaining Standards and Best Practice in the Built Heritage Sector in England. This Memorandum of Understanding, dated 31st March 2009, was developed by ConstructionSkills, English Heritage and the National Heritage Training Group in consultation with the All-Party Parliamentary Arts and Heritage Group. The principles of this apply to all clients, property managers, planners, contractors, craftspeople and professionals in the built heritage sector of the construction industry.


Traditional Building Craft Skills research, skill needs analyisis of the built heritage sector in Ireland NHTG Report (2009)


This report provides hard evidence on the current state of demand, supply and training provision within the built heritage sector across the whole of Ireland, and also provides an overarching strategy and Skills Action Plans for both countries, to exploit and enlarge the pockets of excellent existing provision. In Northern Ireland, ConstructionSkills (Sector Skills Council for Construction), the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), the National Heritage Training Group (NHTG) and others will work together to respond to the needs in the province. In the Republic of Ireland, the Office of Public Works (Oifig na nOibreacha Poiblí, the government’s agency responsible for heritage sites), FÁS (Foras Áiseanna Saothair, the Republic‘s national training and employment authority) and their partners will similarly use the findings and their Skills Action Plan to respond to current and future demand.

Read the full report here.

Read the summary report here.


Traditional Building Crafts Skills NHTG Research Report, England (2008)


Traditiona Building Craft Skills report England 2008 cover image This report shows that the substantial investment in time and energy necessary to change mindsets regarding the need for traditional building skills and developing the training and skills infrastructure is paying dividends.

Read the full report here. 

Read the summary report here.


UK Built Heritage Sector Professionals NHTG Report (2008)


Built Heritage Sector Professionals survey report imageOur built heritage – the 6 million or so UK pre -1919 buildings – is a vital and vibrant part of the built environment. Understanding and caring for this important inheritance requires professionals and craftspeople well versed in traditional building methods and materials and with a sound knowledge of the approach to and techniques of conservation, repair, maintenance and restoration.

It is therefore of concern that this ground-breaking research report has highlighted extensive knowledge and skills gaps among many of those who undertake this type of work. This will have a detrimental effect on preserving our traditional building stock and with a lack of suitably knowledgeable younger recruits to replace experienced professionals when they retire these gaps are set to widen unless immediate action is taken.

Read the full report here

Read the summary report here.


West Midlands Contractors Survey, NHTG Report (2008)


Traditional Building craft skills training needs in the West Midlands report coverThe West Midlands has a rich historic environment which plays an important role in reflecting the history and development of the region, contributing to regional and local identity, sense of place, education and, through businesses and tourism, the regional economy.

A this report is a survey of building contractors' views on Traditional Building Craft Skills and Training needs in the West Midlands.

Read the full report here.

Read the summary report here.


Traditional Building Craft Skills in Scotland, NHTG Research Report (2007)


Traditional Building Craft Skills in Scotland report cover imageIt is not only the landmark Scottish buildings that we must preserve, the almost 500,000 pre-1919 buildings in Scotland are an essential physical resource and represent almost 20% of the total building stock. Repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) also represents 41% of the construction industry total output and employs specialist trades which generate a lot of work for skilled trades/craftspeople. While we will always need new buildings we cannot simply demolish the old to make way for the new and although sustainability is a well trodden phrase these days, what could be more sustainable than maintaining our older buildings by careful repair and regeneration – achieved through specialist skills and knowledge developed within the Scottish construction workforce. 

Read the full report here

Read the summary report here


Traditional Building Craft Skills in Wales, NHTG Research Report (2007)


Traditional Building Craft Skills in Wales report cover Wales has a rich cultural heritage and its historic environment is one of its greatest assets – the landscape and the historic built environment play an important role in reflecting the history and development of its people. It contributes to the strong Welsh national identity, creating a sense of place and attracting visitors, and, as tourism is one of the main industries in Wales – of which visiting historic buildings and monuments is a major attraction – contributes greatly to the economy. The wide spectrum of the built heritage – from cottages to castles, chapels to terraced housing – represents the unique qualities of Wales and its different regions. As well as being a welcome attraction for visitors, this forms the historic heart of our cities, towns and villages – the functioning places we work and live in – and without them we have no link to the past. There are almost 500,000 pre-1919 buildings in Wales, almost one-third of the building stock. The vast majority are the more humble terraced houses and vernacular architecture – used for everyday working and living – but we need to ensure that these are preserved along with the major historic buildings. Unfortunately, the once commonplace skills and knowledge base necessary for correct repair and maintenance of such buildings has diminished over time.

Read the full report here.

Read the summary report here.


Traditional Building Craft Skills in England, NHTG Report (2005)


Traditional Building Craft Skills Executive Suammary reportThe purpose of this first ever labour and skills needs analysis was to:

  • Analyse and quantify the size of the built heritage sector in England
  • Define existing traditional building craft skills levels and needs
  • Identify any shortages and gaps within the workforce
  • Evaluate training provision within the learning and qualifications frameworks
  • Make recommendations to address any problems and devise a skills action plan


Read the Executive Summary here.

The Characterisation of Roman Plaster

This research addresses the results of various analytic investigations undertaken upon a small sample set of plaster, reportedly from two rooms located on the Romano British Villa site at Dewlish (Dorset) - Author: Mark Watson.

Read the full article here.

Death and Insanity a.k.a.  Lead and You article

This article is a cautionary tale about interaction with lead products, it is not written to discourage workshops from using it and it is not a cry for its boycott.  It has been written to spread awareness of potential dangers and promote good working practice for the benefit of everyone’s health. Published by the National Heritage Ironwork Group in 2013, written by Matt Boultwood and Jo Adkins

Download and read the full article here.




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