Head of Conservation (Buildings)

City of Edinburgh
26 Apr 2022
16 May 2022
Contract Type
Full Time

Head of Conservation (Buildings)


Reports to: Director

Direct reports: Conservation Projects Officer

Contract: Full-time, permanent (part time may be considered)

Salary: £32960-£36771

Annual leave: 25 days plus 10 public holidays

Other: Flexible, hybrid working; 8% employer pension contribution


About us

Edinburgh World Heritage is an independent charity with the aim of ensuring the city’s World Heritage status is a dynamic force that benefits everyone. Our mission is to connect people to their heritage in everything we do – whether through the conservation of historic buildings, delivering improvements to the public realm, developing our new climate emergency programme or engaging people directly with the rich heritage of their city.


About the role

This is an exceptional opportunity to play a key role in the conservation of Edinburgh's historic environment, supported by passionate staff and with a good work/life balance.

We are looking for a Head of Conservation (Buildings) to lead the conservation and enhancement of the built heritage across the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site, working with stakeholders and communities to deliver meaningful projects. Experienced in the delivery of conservation projects and bringing expert technical conservation advice, you will lead the delivery our Conservation Funding Programme – helping to conserve the city through the investment of approximately £1.5m per year from Historic Environment Scotland, partners and owners. Through the programme we offer different types of grants to owners and organisations to help improve the condition of their building or public space, as well as running a number of initiatives to future-proof our heritage against the effects of climate change and poor maintenance.

As part of the Senior Management Team, you will support the leadership and direction of the charity, helping to formulate and execute the organisational strategy and integrated business plan.


Main responsibilities

Strategy & Programme Management

  • Lead our strategy on conservation and enhancement of the built environment of the World Heritage Site
  • Deliver our conservation funding programme, including leading on all aspects of programme planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation
  • Set the programme objectives and priorities, in line with EWH and HES strategic objectives 
  • Develop, implement and report on the assessment of grant applications, in line with strategy
  • Maintain a pipeline of projects and pro-actively identify opportunities for conservation funding
  • Lead on the delivery and coordination of the Area Regeneration strategy across EWH work areas

Technical Advice

  • Provide technical advice and support to professionals, heritage groups and the general public
  • Guide professional advisors and contractors on scope and specification of conservation work
  • Undertake inspections on site to ensure quality and ongoing maintenance
  • Provide advice and develop initiatives to promote the use of traditional skills and materials
  • Research and maintain a strong understanding of conservation best practice
  • Develop conservation methodologies, based on best practice and lessons learned within Edinburgh World Heritage, as well as across Edinburgh, the UK and internationally
  • Disseminate knowledge and provide skill development support to staff on conservation matters

Stakeholder Management & Engagement

  • Maintain and enhance our position as an authoritative voice, the go-to organisation for heritage and conservation issues in Edinburgh
  • Influence thinking around the positive role that heritage can play within a historic living city by developing relationships with key partners and stakeholders, including property owners
  • Build and maintain relationships with the community and with prospective and actual grantees
  • Engage with owners and residents, giving them comfort and support in the programme and work with them to develop solutions for actual or potential project blockages
  • Work with the Head of Engagement & Development to promote the programme

Reporting and Funding

  • Contribute to quarterly reporting to Historic Environment Scotland
  • Work with the Director to write business cases for funding
  • Cooperate with audit requirements and implement audit recommendations

Budget/Resource Management

  • Manage the Conservation Projects Officer
  • Manage the programme finances, working with the Operations & Finance Manager

Senior Management

  • Support the Director and other senior managers to deliver our strategy and programmes
  • Provide inspiring leadership across the organisation, promote our values
  • Champion collaborative working and manage organisational resources
  • Brief the Director, senior managers and Board on key conservation issues as required
  • Ensure that Edinburgh World Heritage remains a financially sustainable organisation


Person Specification



ARB registered architect

Conservation Accreditation or equivalent experience and technical knowledge


Membership/pending membership of IHBC

Advanced Conservation Accreditation




Extensive experience in delivering historic building conservation projects

Experience in building relationships with a range of stakeholders

Experience in oversight and management of project finances


A track record of strong management and leadership

Experience of managing a grants programme


Skills & Knowledge


Expert knowledge of conservation best practice, including traditional building skills and materials

Excellent project and programme management skills

Strong influencing and negotiation skills

An exceptional communicator, able to explain complex ideas to a range of audiences

Excellent time manager, able to manage complicated tasks simultaneously and deliver to tight deadlines

Resilient, able to solve complex problems


Diplomatic in managing the competing demands of stakeholders, community groups and owners

Exceptionally organised, able to plan and manage complex systems with good attention to detail

Flexible, innovative, with an energetic attitude and a desire for continuous improvement




Passionate about our work and committed to our vision, mission and values