Part of Historic Environment Scotland

Historic cement and concrete conservation

Examine the recent tradition of cement concrete construction in Scotland's built environment, and its practical conservation issues.



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5 weeks


18 February - 24 March 2020

Study time

Taught:5 days


As a stand-alone short course:£405


Looking for a related qualification? Learn about our Accredited Diploma that can be taken part-time or full time.

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The inside of a building made from cement


Examine the relatively recent traditions of cement, gypsum and lime concrete construction in Scotland's built environment, and the practical conservation issue surrounding this important traditional building material.

What you will learn

This course will give you an overview of the development and use of concrete since the 18th century and the manufacture of its most common forms.

You will hear about the wide range of structures built using this material across Scotland, from lighthouses and viaducts, to houses and office blocks. You will also learn about the practical challenges faced in repairing and conserving historic concrete structures.

Discover the appropriate methods of surveying historic concrete structures, diagnosing defects and the urgency and practicality of repairs or treatment. Find out how to devise specifications for repairs using appropriate and sustainable materials, safe work practices and working with contractors with the necessary expertise.

Topics covered

  • Introduction to concrete construction and Scottish traditions
  • Heritage designation and protection
  • Concrete materials - composition
  • Researching historic concrete
  • Investigation and analysis
  • Structural considerations
  • Corrosion in concrete and its treatment
  • Concrete conservation case studies
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Course content

Short courses offer the opportunity to learn about building conservation through lectures, workshops and site visits.

Classes, lectures and presentations

Students benefit from attending classes and lectures taught by national and international experts. Forthcoming lectures are to be confirmed.

Previous speakers have included:

  • Charles Darley (CD Associates)
  • Tom Dyer (University of Dundee)
  • Simeon Wilkie (University of Dundee)
  • Bryan Dickson (National Trust for Scotland)
  • Steve Wood, Engineer (Narro Associates)
  • Carsten Hermann, Senior Technical Officer (Historic Environment Scotland)

Hands-on workshop/lab activities

Students are often offered the opportunity to take part in hands-on workshops or lab activities as part some short courses.

On this short course, you can attend a concrete equipment demonstration. 

Potential site visits

Students have the opportunity to participate in site visits. These vary from one year to another.

Previous site visits for this course have included:

  • St Peter’s Seminary (Cardross)
  • Lion Chambers
  • Sentinel Works
  • St Charles RC Church (Glasgow)
  • Hill House


Although our short courses are not formally assessed, students will be awarded a certificate upon successfully completing this course.

A formal qualification can be obtained by studying our Advanced Professional Diploma on Technical Building Conservation.

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