If you are a Developer

Find out about the stages of archaeological works which may be required during the planning process.

Planning applications

The Archaeology Service appraises all planning applications submitted to Aberdeenshire, Moray, Angus and Aberdeen City Councils.

watching briefShould a proposed development be judged to have an impact on known or potential archaeological sites (for instance the historic core of towns) then you will be required to make sure the archaeology is recorded/protected. The initial Planning Condition imposed on the Application may vary from a photographic survey to desktop assessment, to a watching brief or even a full excavation. Once approval for an Application is given, an Archaeological Development Brief will be provided to you, on request, detailing what work is to be undertaken. The developer is obliged to pay for any work undertaken to record the archaeology affected. Please feel free to contact us for advice, even if it is before you have submitted an Application. We can also supply you with an ad hoc list of archaeological contractors.

There are several national policies that cover archaeology, specifically within the planning system, and they are the basis on which our Archaeological Policy is formed:

Development brief

A written specification prepared by the Aberdeenshire Council Archaeology Service for the applicant outlining the nature of the specific archaeological work required under the archaeological planning condition, and which includes information on the archaeological background of the development site. This document can be used by the applicant in the tendering process, and should be used by the appointed Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) member archaeological contractor to inform the Written Scheme of Investigation.

Written Scheme of Investigation (WSI)

A written specification produced by the appointed Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) member archaeological contractor on behalf of the applicant which outlines in detail the proposed scheme of archaeological investigation. It should detail what archaeological works will be carried out and how; how any encountered archaeological remains will be dealt with; how any updates to the WSI will be provided; the reporting process; and the potential for post-excavation requirement. The WSI must be submitted to the planning authority for approval before being implemented. The contents of the WSI must conform to the relevant national and CIfA standards and guidance.

Post-Excavation Research Design (PERD)

A written specification for the post-excavation analysis of artefacts and samples recovery during the excavation phase or archaeological works, prepared by the appointed Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA)  member archaeological contractor on behalf of the applicant. This should include a project design for the post-excavation work, a costed assessment for this work, and costed proposals for the publication of results. The PERD must be submitted to the planning authority for approval. Once the PERD has been agreed, written confirmation must be provided to the planning authority demonstrating that an agreement is in place between the applicant and the appointed CIfA member archaeological contractor, committing the applicant to fund the post-excavation work and for said work to be completed by an agreed date.

Securing post excavation research design

When any post excavation research design is required through the implementation of a programme of archaeological works, the analysis, publication and dissemination of results and archive deposition requires to be agreed and secured between the developer of the site and the archaeological contractor undertaking the archaeological works on the site before it will be agreed in writing by the planning authority.

Archaeological Building Recording

Archaeological building recording may be requested as part of the planning process. View guidance on the specifications of the different levels of work (PDF 232KB).


If you have any queries contact us on 01467 534333 or by email at