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National Indicator: Historic Sites

l Improve the state of Scotland's historic sites

Indicator Measure
Percentage of pre-1919 dwellings classified as having disrepair to critical elements

Current Status
In 2015, 68% of pre-1919 dwellings were classified as having disrepair to critical elements. The decrease from 2014, of 4 percentage points, is within the margin of error for this survey.

2005/06 to 2015

Source: Scottish House Condition Survey
The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page.

Last Update: 13 April 2017
Next Update: February 2018

Improve the state of Scotland’s historic sites

Why is this National Indicator important?
What will influence this National Indicator?
What is the Government's role?
How is Scotland performing?
Criteria for recent change
Further information
Who are our partners?
Related Strategic Objectives

Why is this National Indicator important?

Our historic environment helps define our nation and is a key building block for a successful future for Scotland. Its conservation, sustainable use and development play a major role in economic growth, tourism, sustainable development and regeneration.  But it is also important not to forget that buildings which are a century or more in age provide homes for 20% of Scotland’s households. 

Our measure of success is to decrease the percentage of occupied pre-1919 buildings which are assessed as suffering from critical element disrepair, which is central  to a dwelling being wind and weather proof, structurally stable and safeguarded against further rapid deterioration. Looking at the condition of ordinary buildings in the same framework as that of listed buildings provides a more socially inclusive Indicator than did the former measure, which looked only at A-listed buildings.  It will illustrate the link between the well-being of Scotland’s traditional building stock and that of about a million people who live in such older buildings.

Government can work together with local authorities, private individuals and voluntary sector organisations to improve these buildings to a standard that ensures they remain capable of continuing in use as habitable properties which meet modern living standards.  Showing that there is a viable alternative to the cycle of deterioration, followed by demolition and replacement by new build, will make a significant contribution to meeting Scotland’s present and future housing needs in a sustainable way.

What will influence this National Indicator?

The main influence will be the state of the economy and how that translates into the willingness and ability of owners (private, public sector and voluntary sector) to invest in the repair and maintenance of their buildings. The availability of grants for repairs or maintenance will also be a significant influence, as will grants for energy efficiency and other improvements. Access to quality advice and to traditional building construction and craft skills and materials will also be relevant in influencing how well older properties are maintained.

What is the Government's role?

The Government works in partnership with local authorities and others to encourage positive action to maintain buildings which are in use as dwellings. Historic building repair grants are available to owners of listed buildings at serious risk from neglect or disrepair, but the large majority of older buildings are not listed.  Instead, their maintenance and improvement relies primarily upon affordability, access to good advice and the existence of a suitably skilled workforce.  Available financial support focusses upon habitability rather than building conservation, which means that high-level maintenance work (which the Indicator addresses) is usually “packaged” with improvements to living space. 

This will place a premium upon the development of methods for adapting and improving traditional buildings, to meet modern standards for comfort and energy efficiency while conserving their distinctive character. Through Historic Environment Scotland and its many collaborators, the Government is investing in research in this area, and also in the provision of advice to home-owners.  Training in traditional skills is also supported, with a National Conservation Centre (Engine Shed) due to open in 2017.

How is Scotland performing?

The proportion of pre-1919 dwellings classified as having disrepair to critical elements gradually increased from 73% in 2007 to a peak of 80% in 2012.

Since then, the proportion of pre-1919 dwellings classified as having disrepair to critical elements decreased by 8 percentage points from 2012 levels, down to 72% in 2014.

In 2015, 68% of pre-1919 dwellings were classified as having disrepair to critical elements. The decrease from 2014, of 4 percentage points, is within the margin of error for this survey.

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

Criteria for recent change

The evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 5 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A decrease of 5 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas an increase of 5 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening.

Further Information

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Who are our partners?

Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS)

Further Education Colleges and Universities

Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC)

Local Authorities

Private, Public and Voluntary Sector Building Owners

Historic Environment Scotland

Related Strategic Objectives

Wealthier and Fairer

Smarter

Greener

View National Indicator Data

Downloadable document:

Title:Improve the state of Scotland’s historic sites
Description:Improve the state of Scotland’s historic sites
File:Improve the state of Scotland's historic sites [XLSX, 13.0 kb: 13 Apr 2017]
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