Mission Statement

The aim of the Scottish Stone Liaison Group is to enhance availability, promote utilisation and advance knowledge and skills in design, specification and use of indigenous Scottish stone in existing and new build projects.

The Natural Stone Institute

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The Natural Stone Institute began as a project group of the SSLG, but is now a registered charity and a Company limited by guarantee in its own right. This page summarises NSI activities.

The NSI was formally launched at Stirling Castle in September 2001 at a meeting attended by some 80 people from diverse backgrounds, from professional to material producers, from contractors to those with a deep interest in Scotland’s built heritage.

The NSI seeks to establish a unique centre of excellence, offering a one-door approach. It is developing services for the dissemination of information to clients, specifiers, architects, specialist masonry builders and the general public. The NSI aims:

Why is the Natural Stone Institute necessary?

Stone has been used in construction from pre-history to the present day. Resonating with meaning, it is also an exciting material for use in new construction. That the monuments built by masons 5000 years ago have survived to this day indicates just how durable a material stone can be. While stone is a finite resource, its longevity, coupled with its contribution to our quality of life, mean that stone has outstanding sustainability credentials. However, in the current construction climate stone is marginalised; there are few working quarries and a reducing pool of stonemasons skilled in working the material. Little importance is attached to teaching of masonry construction in architecture and building courses.

The Natural Stone Institute is seeking to ensure that the appropriate materials, skills, knowledge and information are readily available now, and into the future, to enable the correct repair and appropriate maintenance of our built heritage.

Currently those needs are met, in part, by a range of organisations and public bodies but it is the intention of the SSLG to create a one-door Institute that will be open to all who have an interest in matters ranging from quarrying to building, from builders to professionals to members of the public and from educators to operatives. The Institute will seek to address the questions raised and supply the information sought. Through making such material, skills, knowledge and information readily available it is considered that the Institute will meet the needs of everyone seeking to use stone - be it in the field of conservation or new build projects.

However, it is stressed that the conservation field alone will not guarantee a viable industry and therefore the NSI seeks to encourage the use of stone and other indigenous materials in new build projects. Through such activity it is anticipated that the increase in demand generated should safeguard production from quarries that also provide the stone so necessary for our built heritage.

Unless there is a strong demand for their products, the producers of the very building blocks of Scotland’s built heritage could be jeopardised and any subsequent reduction in the size of the Scottish stone industry would only further damage our ability to meet this generation’s obligations to our built heritage.

The Natural Stone Institute will:

Who can benefit from membership of the Natural Stone Institute?

The services offered would grow to meet demand but the NSI will be there to offer support to everyone seeking knowledge and information on the use of stone in new build, conservation or repair and maintenance programmes.

The Natural Stone Institute is not bound by geographical boundaries and seeks to expand its international contacts and to work in conjunction with similar like-minded bodies on issues of mutual interest.