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As Scotland’s Housing Expo enters its last week as a public exhibition, organisers are urging visitors to support the eco-friendly ethos of the project by leaving their cars at home.

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What is Scotland's Housing Expo

Scotland's Housing Expo is the first event of its kind in Scotland. It showcases over 50 house designs of the future - which people from all backgrounds, ages and income brackets can afford. It aims to make good design and sustainable features commonplace in every home - just like the indoor WC that was such a revelation in the 1930s!

The Expo is based upon similar models found in mainland Europe, and particularly Finland where historically the housing fair concept has proven very successful in stimulating quality design and innovation for housing.

Aspiring to bring about a similar effect in the Highlands and throughout the UK, the Expo offers a model for future housing design and development. The homes on view will be available to purchase, with a proportion being affordable housing.

Masterplanning for Scotland's Housing Expo

"Between masterplan, landscape design and the multi-faceted architecture, the housing in the Expo shows an exciting vision for future housing in this country. The Expo design departs from the UK- wide volume-built house types and cul-de-sac formula that is usually offered to house buyers even in the most beautiful of places such as the site at Milton of Leys. The Expo design considers the Scottish environment and climate and how to respond to the sensitivity of the Scottish landscape. It considers the well-designed, sustainable and humane living environments of the future.

The Expo has Streets more dense, close knit and intimate than we are familiar with from the cul-de-sac legacy. Every Scotsman's home is, the new streets suggest, not just his castle. The history of Scottish architecture, from St Kilda to the closes and vennels of Scottish towns and cities, suggests that Scots are sociable. The streets of the Expo are designed to be the focus of activity, to be well-used and pleasant places. Standard residential roads differ from this format, having instead detached house layouts, designed for cars. The expo envisages streets that suit 21st century living, where many will be working from home, where health and fitness are integral, where the needs of families are accounted for locally, where the commuter is not king.

The streets and housing of the Expo will support these aims in a number of ways. Streets are relatively narrow and close-knit, with a great variety of form that brings front doors, in many individual ways, close together with one another. Houses have been laid out in many configurations that present alternatives to detached suburban forms.

Collectively the streets form a simple narrative of place:
• The two terraces form a frontage to the wider landscape and a gateway.
• The avenue leads down the slope towards the woodland below.
• A square providing a sheltered location for home offices and studios.
• A green framed by houses opens off the avenue, forming a central meeting place.
• A surprise view from the green signals a further route down the hill.
• Gently inclined bridges paths and lanes link to neighbours and into the countryside.
• Animation is provided by highlights in the architecture, various resting places, and the playground.

The streets are designed as shared spaces between people and cars. There will be direct access to walking, running and cycling routes, to parks and to the countryside. "

Johnny Cadell. Cadell2, Masterplanner for Scotland's Housing Expo

A' toirt air tachairt
Making it happen

Message from Councillor Ian Ross, Chairman of The Highland Council's Planning Environment and Development Committee:

"The Highland Council is delighted to be supporting Scotland's Housing Expo, which will take place throughout the month of August at Milton of Leys, in Inverness. The Council has been an active promoter and supporter of the Housing Expo since its inception and everyone is greatly looking forward to the event. The benefits are already evident, not least the employment of 300 construction workers building 52 houses when housing building activity is low.

I am delighted that children will get free entry and this should encourage parents and guardians to come along to join in the experience. Attending the EXPO will be really interesting for young people and help to inform and educate them about sustainability.

The Expo is a very important event, representing a development investment of £12 million. It will put the Highlands on the national and international stage in showcasing innovative modern low energy housing designs and stimulating the wider use of sustainable local timber and other Highland materials. As a council we fully support the project and the creativity and aspirations it will stimulate. A great deal of interest is being generated and I sincerely believe it will shape the way ahead for future housing development."


Cadell2 are recognised for their work in taking forwards the Scottish Government Placemaking agenda over the past 10 years including housing at Drum in Bo'ness, Greendykes North in Craigmillar and Carron Den, Stonehaven. Their masterplanning work has led to the establishment of new housing areas where the linking community elements are given priority: streets, parks and community buildings as well as individual houses. Their work has helped restore the notion that 'people places' matter more than roads and infrastructure.

The Cadell2 masterplan for the Expo site seeks a new community with a sense of place, well integrated into the local landscape. It links the architecture of each house to form a coherent and legible pattern of streets.

Cadell2 have been retained as masterplanners of the Expo since 2006. They established the original vision for the Expo housing. They set the design brief for the 2007 Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland design competition and subsequently gained support and permissions for the Expo Masterplan from the local community and Highland Council.

The Cadell2 masterplan also set an agenda for a step change in the design of the Highland home, of architect-designed houses tailored for the materials, climate and topography of the Highlands of Scotland. Houses were composed specifically for designed situations within planned streets, adapting emerging technologies as well as local materials - a modern vernacular of sustainable architecture.


The Highland Housing Alliance is a unique development company owned by the five housing associations working in Highland, two housing trusts and The Highland Council. It buys land to build houses of all tenures and types, but has focused on assisting people priced out of the housing market who are also a low priority for affordable housing.

It was chosen by The Highland Council in 2005 to work on Scotland's Housing Expo project because of its ability to deliver affordable and private housing, and has been the company responsible for building the architects' winning designs. It has done so by buying the Balvonie Braes site, Master Planning the layout of the development, running the architectural competition, inputting the roads, sewers and other services, obtaining detailed planning consent and building warrants for the houses, negotiating six construction contracts with local Highland contractors and raising loan finance from public and private sources. It has also worked with Scottish Government Housing and Regeneration.

It has also worked in conjunction with Albyn Housing Society Ltd and Cairn Housing Association to deliver 20 out of the 52 houses for affordable rent and low cost home ownership.

The Expo project has required extreme flexibility and innovation at all levels to deliver the houses, and the Highland Housing Alliance with its ability to bridge public and private sector house building activity has been a successful delivery vehicle for an exemplar project.


With responsibility for both Project and Cost Management WSD Scotland Ltd has been involved with the project since 2006 and helped steer a path through the worst economic depression in living history. The challenges were immense but in conjunction with the Highland Housing Alliance, Albyn Housing Society and Cairn Housing Association as joint clients, WSD was able to develop a procurement strategy which balanced the higher than normal cost of Innovation with the reduced housing revenues available in the market place.

In developing the strategy it was decided to work with the six developers who had maintained their commitment to the project and negotiate a series of Design and Build packages with them which entailed a great deal of value engineering to close the gap between client and contractor expectations.

In conjunction with the contractor negotiations a great deal of time was spent assisting the Clients in working with both RBS as funder and Scottish Government to conclude various funding packages which allowed construction works to commence.

The challenges of this project cannot be underestimated and these were compounded by the worst winter weather in decades. The team of Contractors however responded with a level of co-operation and determination that we could have only hoped for and is a testament to the construction industry in the Highlands.


Albyn Housing Society is one of Scotland's leading housing associations. Established by volunteers in 1973 at the start of the modern growth of the Voluntary Housing Movement, it will shortly complete its 2500th home for affordable rent. Albyn is also one of Scotland's foremost providers of Low Cost Home Ownership options allowing people in housing need on moderate incomes to buy a home which otherwise would not be possible.

The Society now has a presence in 70 communities across the Highlands and is the biggest provider of new affordable homes in the region. Known for its interest in progressive and sustainable design and a desire to combat fuel poverty whilst contributing to the reduction in emissions of harmful greenhouse gases, above all, Albyn wants to contribute to creating a quality living environment for its customers.

This role and these aspirations as a developer have found their latest expression in Scotland's Housing Expo as developer of three Expo plots: the Timber House, the Apartment Building, and Lios Gorm. These 11 affordable homes offer a unique life-style opportunity through the shared equity (LIFT) scheme so buyers can enjoy some of the most innovative design around. This low energy, reduced carbon, sustainable approach to design chimes with Albyn's own sustainable design credentials and challenges some previous beliefs about housing estate layout and streetscape.


CHA is delighted to be at the forefront of the Expo and will provide nine homes for affordable rent after the event closes The Contractors are building three unique house types, designed to compliment sustainable living with environmentally conscious design at an affordable cost. The rented homes featured at the Expo are funded through the Scottish Government's Housing Association Grant and Private Finance raised by Cairn Housing Association.

Our Properties at the Expo are:
Plot 1: Titled the Stealth House, by virtue of its black angled elevational lineage, and clad in rubberised membrane. An iconic structure that has internal, three-dimensional living space incorporating enhanced levels of thermal efficiency and credentials that will provide comfortable living at affordable running costs for generations.

Plot 3: House Shed House. The principles of the design are based on rustic, rural design reflecting our heritage. It represents an identifiable icon of our pragmatic nature. Internally, the space has been arranged to take advantage of the sun's path.

Plot 4.2: The Healthy House. It provides a healthy, sustainable and stimulating environment through flexible social spaces and visual links through double height spaces.

CHA looks forward with enthusiasm to Scotland's Housing Expo 2010. They are looking forward to meeting tenants, customers, partners and everyone who takes the time to come along
and visit them at the homes on show.


Inverness-based William Gray Construction's commitment to sustainable construction techniques made the firm a perfect contributor to Scotland's first Housing Expo's Sustainable Zone. The company has 14 units in four buildings, 11 of which are for low cost home ownership or rent through Albyn Housing Society and three for sale on the open market.

Working in collaboration with Albyn and Cairn Housing Associations and architects, David Blaikie Architects, Andrew Black Design, Keppie Design and Graham Mitchell Architects, William Gray Construction has risen to the challenge of adapting innovative construction techniques, many of which are new to the Highlands.

These exciting and new innovations can be experienced in the following plots: 4.3, 4.2, 8 and 9. Plot Eight uses recycled bricks and a wood pellet biomass boiler, while Nine has solar panels, an air source heat pump and wastewater recycling system. Both 4.2 and 4.3 are built with local larch and warm cell insulation, and the rubber roof at 4.3 alone is worth a look.

William Gray Construction is proud to play a major role as one of the main contractors in the UK's first Housing Expo, leading the way in construction and the future of housing.
For more information on William Gray Construction and sustainable living,
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G.F Job Limited are delighted to have been involved in the construction of the infrastructure for Scotland's Housing Expo.

We have been involved in the works since the very beginning, having carried out the initial earthworks, and the installation of the main line drainage and services. We are now completing the final surfacing and hard landscaping works, using traditional local materials such as Caithness slab and granite kerbs, setts and cobbles.

We are a Highlands based company, with our head office in Nairn, and quarries located in the Nairn and Aviemore areas. Our core civil engineering business is supported by our heavy haulage and quarry operations, complete with an extensive range of heavy earth moving and light plant.

Formed in 1990 the business has significantly and successfully grown over the years as a result of having developed a strong identity and a reputation for quality, together with an ability to take on the more challenging and specialised projects throughout the Highlands.

Our workforce of 70 employees is being continually developed and trained to improve and increase skills, knowledge and experience, to produce an increasingly competent team, able to meet the challenges set by the company's customers and our own internal standards.


James MacQueen Building Contractors are proud to be associated with Scotlands Housing Expo, the first event of its kind in the UK.

An innovative design by local award winning Skye architects Rural Design Ltd, the property on Plot 17 has a unique Skye theme constructed utilising locally sourced sustainable products.

As one of the Isle of Skye's leading house builders, this project has provided us with the opportunity to learn new skills and source fresh ideas. We are consciously aware of the energy efficient needs of a design and build property, with new construction methods incorporating sustainable and renewable energy sources, setting new standards in terms of carbon reduction.


Over the last nine months, award winning concepts for modern living have been brought to life by Morrison Homes at Milton of Leys.

Working closely with a range of partners, we have conceived and constructed 11 distinctive two-, three- and four- bedroom homes using the latest thinking with regard to off-site construction, material selection and sustainability.

Two homes have been built entirely from laminated timber, including the internal walls and ceilings and a terraced row of four houses has been completed within a rubber membrane to provide a modern waterproof cladding system. A further development, Plot 24, will offer the added bonus of having its gardens designed and installed by Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway, fashion designers and champions of urban regeneration and social design.

Projects don't always have to be big to get us excited. At Morrison Homes we thrive on developing distinctive, bespoke and relevant ideas for every single commission.

Further heralding Morrison Homes return to the Highland's property sector, we have launched our first new collection of homes in the picturesque Victorian spa village of Strathpeffer. By November this year a fully furnished show home will be ready to view. Look out for further developments coming soon in the Highlands.


O'Brien Homes is a family owned company which was founded in 1973 and continually strives to maintain strong contracting and development divisions. O'Brien Homes has employed a loyal, local based, labour force whose members have been successful in building a strong client base. We pride ourselves on the repeat business we get from providing quality homes along with effective, cost efficient project management.

Thomas O'Brien (Company Director) spear headed O'Brien Homes involvement – "The Expo has given O'Brien Homes the chance to participate in new technologies from which all our staff have learned. It has given the company the responsibility for the first fully accredited passive house in Scotland and I believe the company will learn from this unique building experience. In future we will incorporate many of the passive technologies in our own developments. Our joiner workshop in Dingwall has produced the kit for our own house as well as many bespoke items to compliment the cross laminated kits. We are keen to develop our main stream housing to take advantage of what we have learned from the Housing Expo. The end result will be more sustainable homes with fuel efficiency for the people who buy our houses."

See our homes on plots 11, 12, 16, 21, 25 and 26.


Robertson Highland has built eight houses for Scotland's Housing Expo, on Plots 2, 5, 6, 7 and 20. The construction for each of these houses showcases modern methods of construction and sustainable building practices.

Based in Inverness, Robertson Highland has a wealth of experience across a range of sectors. Recent projects include the new oncology unit at Raigmore Hospital, the Kingsclub at the Kingsmills Hotel and the new DFS store on Millburn Road.

In addition to Robertson Highland's involvement, Robertson Timberkit also provided a number of the timber frames for homes at Scotland's Housing Expo, underlining the Robertson commitment to more environmentally friendly building.

Robertson is a privately owned group of companies working in infrastructure, construction and support services throughout the UK and Ireland. There are currently eleven Robertson companies directly employing over 1000 people.

The Robertson businesses include:

a capital projects company which is a specialist project management and investment company dedicated to providing long term accommodation solutions using a range of industry procurement initiatives including private finance and framework arrangements

a facilities management company specializing in public and private sector partnerships

a timber frame manufacturing business that creates sustainable building solutions for social housing and multi-occupancy buildings

six regionally-based construction companies and a property development company that
form the Robertson Construction Group

the house-builder Robertson Homes



As a subsidiary of the Highlands' flagship house builder, Tulloch Homes Express is delighted to be involved in the Scottish Housing Expo. We view this as a milestone event for the Scottish, and in particular Highland, development industry because it constitutes a unique meeting of construction company minds, coming together to create a community with the emphasis on eco-friendly buildings, materials and lifestyles. The Expo is not only giving birth to a new community – it's also a test bed for eco-conscious construction techniques and technologies, which can form a blueprint for future building projects.

Tulloch Homes Express was interested in the Expo event because it saw an opportunity to support a major eco-building initiative, and wanted to demonstrate its own commitment to future eco-friendly, sustainable house-building trends.

Our particular contribution to SHE is the building for sale of our 'Modular House' on Plot 15, along with being the Design & Build Contractor for Highland Housing Alliance on Plots 14, 18, 19, 22, 23 & 27. These nine properties designed by seven different design teams provided us with a unique challenge to deliver a product utilising a diverse range of building technologies and design statements. Each design team under our charge has encapsulated in the finished product their own take on the future of house building in Scotland and we are delighted to be a part of this.


Highlands and Islands Enterprise Dunfermline building society Sust Highland Council Scottish Government Forestry Commission Highland Housing Alliance