MSPs and experts set up new group to tackle quality of tenements in Scotland

Ben Macpherson

A new working group has been set up at Holyrood to to address issues surrounding tenement maintenance.

Convener of the new group, Ben Macpherson MSP, said: “This working group brings together a range of experts, academics, industry professionals and MSPs from different political parties. Together we will bring forward focused and robust proposals to better enhance and enable the maintenance of tenement communal property.

“Repairing and maintaining roofs, stairways and other communal property is essential in order to improve and sustain a huge amount of Scotland’s housing stock.”

To support the cross party working group, Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) invited stakeholders to submit a synopsis of the issues and solutions they think require parliamentary attention.

Six organizations submitted suggestions and Historic Environment Scotland has shared information on the Traditional Building Health Check, a project arising from a previous BEFS campaign on building maintenance, piloted in Stirling.

Hew Edgar, RICS policy manager, said: “The establishment of this working group is an excellent start to tackling the issue of tenement maintenance. Building maintenance is key to sustaining and future proofing the fabric of our current housing stock – ensuring it provides adequate standards of quality now and for future generations.

“The deteriorating standard of Scotland’s current tenement housing stock is high on the agenda of stakeholders who operate within the built environment - particularly the historic arena - and it is a great step that all parliamentary parties, are recognising this.”

According to the most recent Scottish House Condition Survey 2016 there are 566,000 tenement properties, equating to 23 per cent of the total housing stock in Scotland. Pre-1919 built tenement properties are the second most commonly occupied property type in Scotland (behind post-1982 built detached property); and five per cent of all pre-1919 built Dwellings have “Critical, Urgent & Extensive disrepair”.