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Scotland's rich cultural heritage is not only an invaluable economic and social resource, it is what gives Scotland's people a sense of belonging and identity; as such it is one of our nation's most precious assets.

The NTS was established as a charity in 1931 with a statutory duty to conserve and manage its 129 properties which, taken together, celebrate the distinctiveness of Scotland's buildings, land history and people.

Although most people associate the Trust with the nation's iconic castles such as Culzean in Ayrshire and Craigievar in Aberdeenshire, the work of the Buildings Team necessitates a wide and versatile range of professional knowledge: from castles to crofts, stonemasonry to seismic surveys, wind turbines to watermills.

The Trust's historic properties are managed utilising methods of regular survey, inspection and maintenance programmes that revolve around the Quinquennial Survey system, established in conjunction with Historic Scotland in 1985 for a select number of sites.

This approach is the cornerstone of the Trust's maintenance regime, coupled with the Annual Repair Grant provided by Historic Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government, in order to carry out the Trust's responsibility of stewardship for the nation.

Detailed knowledge and understanding is crucial to the successful management and conservation of our properties, and as such the Trust has developed a system of planning where by documents such as Conservation Plans, Statements of Significance and Heritage Impact Assessments help inform the judgements and decisions that are required on a regular basis.

'The greenest building is the one that is already built'

Whilst the Trust promotes sustainable design in new build, which has been successfully delivered recently at our visitor centres at Culloden and Glencoe, our current challenge is to ensure that all our buildings are managed according to our strong environmental principles.

Buildings that are of stone construction with single glazed windows may prove extremely challenging for this, but even the smallest actions count, and reducing each individual energy commitment across the estate combines to make a large impact. We like to promote the phrase, “the greenest building is the one that is already built”, when considering our environmental principles.

Although it is a challenge to keep on top of the extensive maintenance issues that come from looking after some 1600 built structures, it is one that the trust is committed to.