Course helps builders see traditional window to the world

Maintaining traditional buildings in Keith

The latest in a series of special courses aimed at arming Moray builders with the skills required to repair and maintain the region’s traditional architecture is set to take place this month.

Elgin and Keith Conservation Regeneration Scheme (CARS) are running traditional building courses free of charge with the latest aimed at building professionals in Keith.

The ‘Repair & Maintenance of Sash & Case Windows’ course will be held in the Longmore Hall on October 22 from 9.15am until 4.30pm. It is the third course to be offered from the comprehensive programme of traditional building skills training funded by the schemes.

Tutors Craig Frew, of Frew Building Conservation Ltd, and Darren McLean of Timber & Lime Conservation will deliver the training.

The course will cover all aspects of the care of sash & case windows, including lectures, discussions and practical demonstrations. Topics covered will include:

• History and development
• Repair Vs replacement
• Construction and defects
• Replacing glazing
• Repair & upgrading
• Improving thermal efficiency

Traditional wooden sash and case windows would have been present in most traditionally built properties in Moray. Historic windows such as these are increasingly being removed and replaced unnecessarily where they could be repaired, usually at a fraction of the cost.

To compound this problem, many of these windows are being replaced with modern uPVC models which are regarded as being ‘maintenance free’. While this may be the case, what is also true is that uPVC units have no user serviceable parts, so cannot be repaired if damage occurs and have much shorter life-spans than properly cared for timber units.

Advancements in modern paint systems mean that all the maintenance a timber window might need nowadays is to be painted around every five years. Take into account that properly cared for sash and case windows can last for 200+ years whilst modern plastic units will last a fraction of this time.

Modern uPVC units are not appropriate in conservation areas or in listed buildings and will not be granted planning permission. It is important to care properly for existing traditional windows and not nearly as difficult, expensive or time consuming as many people think.

CARS external repair grants are currently available for property owners in both Elgin and Keith conservation areas.

Eligible work includes repair of traditional sash and case windows and there will be a substantial amount of work available over the next few years.

It is hoped that local companies will be better placed to bid for the work as a result of the CARS training. Places can be booked by emailing by October 17.

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