We have a fantastic built heritage in the United Kingdom and we believe that this history should be carefully maintained, restored and celebrated. The practice was established through the significant restoration project at Iona Abbey and conservation has been at the heart of the practice ever since. We make use of both modern and traditional technologies that allow for detailed survey work to be carried out and champion the use of traditional materials and techniques to ensure that the buildings, structures and environments that we work on are returned to their former glory. 

Our building conservation philosophy, although influenced by the philosophy and practice of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (S.P.A.B) and the subsequent international conservation charters, is underpinned by the principles set out in the Burra Charter and The Conservation Plan – A Guide to the Preparation of Conservation Plans for Places of Cultural Significance by James Semple Kerr. 

We believe that the conservation of a place or an object should take into consideration all aspects of its cultural significance without unwarranted emphasis on any one aspect at the expense of others and so each conservation project will as far as possible follow the following structure:

  • Understanding the site, based on research, site surveys and consultations
  • Assessing the cultural and other significance of the site and its features and agreeing the significance with all stakeholders
  • Defining conservation and management issues 
  • Establishing appropriate conservation policies for retaining the significance of the place
  • Preparing an overall strategy and management policies
  • Securing the formal adoption of the Plan through consultations on a draft report and approval of the final report

The practice are wholly committed to this rigourous approach to ensure that the significance of each building and the processes of its decay are as fully understood as current knowledge will permit before considering the most appropriate strategies for either preservation, conservation, renovation or re-use. 

The practice promotes the importance of building maintenance as fundamental to building conservation and preservation of authenticity.

As well as conservation works we are experienced in developing conservation management plans for historic properties and places. John has also authored and contributed to guidance documents on best practice for surveying and maintaining our historic built environment. Follow the links below for more details. 


John was responsible for organising and providing practical training courses for Iona Cathedral Trustees’ Direct Labour Organisation in the consolidation, repair and conservation of historic and ruined masonry. The training courses included repointing of historic masonry with traditional lime mortars; the dismantling and rebuilding ‘as found’ of masonry walls; the consolidation of historic plasters and renders; the grouting of voided wall cores; harling and lime washing; and specialist conservation treatments to the carved medieval detail within the Abbey Church. 

The training, which was run over a number of years between 1993 and 2000 was also attended by masons from Historic Scotland and local contractors and was funded by the Radcliffe Trust and Historic Scotland.


This project involved the survey of a rare cast iron entrance canopy on a seafront building in Rothesay. 

The canopy was taken down as part of a research project for Historic Scotland and sought to examine a number of conservation, repair and maintenance methods.  The canopy was then restored using traditional techniques and reinstated.

Princes Street Gardens

This project was an Historic Landscape Survey and Conservation Management Plan for Edinburgh’s most prominent and famous open spaces, as the basis for future management and Heritage Lottery Fund submission; including research, archaeological, architectural, ecological, urban design, visual landscape and fabric condition surveys.  

The project was undertaken with Peter McGowan Associates for City of Edinburgh Council and was completed in 2003