It's a business that has strong ambitions to be a UK leader and also help keep alive an ancient craft in doing so.

Glasgow-based Stratum Masonry's managing director said the company recognises the need to maintain the prestigious but, he said, dying trade.

The head of the stonemasonry firm that specialises in the restoration, conservation and new build elements of listed buildings and structures of historical importance identifies next steps to help keep the trade alive and offers career and business insight in this week's Herald business Q&A. 


Scott Reid

What is your business called?

Stratum Masonry

Where is it based?

We are based in Glasgow

What does it produce/do?

Stratum Masonry are a stonemasonry company that specialises in the restoration, conservation and new build elements of listed buildings and buildings of historical importance.

To whom does it sell?

We work in both residential and commercial markets covering the whole of Scotland. Our projects can range from building owners through to property developers and main contracting companies.

How many employees?

17 employed full-time staff including three apprentices.

Why did you take the plunge?

I’ve always had a passion for stonemasonry since qualifying as a stonemason many years ago. After working on my first few projects as an apprentice I realised that stonemasons aren’t just a trade, it’s a craft and one which is dying unfortunately.

READ MORE: Shortage of stonemasons could affect Scotland's crumbling heritage

I genuinely love what I do and for me knowing we are part of a building's history and we have been part of preserving its fabric, ensuring it lasts for many years to come is a very fulfilling role. We get to see the incredible architectural buildings our country is home to and feel very privileged to play our part in the maintenance and preservation of them.

What were you doing before?

When I left school at 16 years old, I went to college to study computing, that didn’t work out as planned because I realised after one year of doing my HNC that computing wasn’t something I enjoyed. My late grandfather then ended up securing me an interview with a local stonemasonry firm which at the time I didn’t know what stonemasonry was or that it was an active trade/craft.

The Herald: Stratum Masonry aims to build on its successStratum Masonry aims to build on its success (Image: Stratum Masonry)

After working for my first company (Hunter Clark) for one year I was then offered an apprenticeship after working closely with stonemasons and realising that this was something I enjoyed, every day was different and seeing a project go through its different stages was incredibly satisfying.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

We have huge ambitions to grow the company to be the leading stonemasonry firm in Scotland and the UK, we recognise the need for the craft and are always looking to recruit apprentices that want a career in stonemasonry.

READ MORE: What price heritage? 

With one of our local colleges closing down it places a lot of pressure on the need and requirement for stonemasons in our country.

What single thing would most help?

Collaborating with major bodies such as the Scottish Government and Historic Environment Scotland would help us in our mission to save this dying craft and contribute massively to the need for stonemasons in our country and the built environment sector.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned?

I’ve learned many lessons over the years, so I’ll give two, one career and one business.

Career: To get great at what you do, you must be willing to go the extra mile, understand that you will need to sacrifice short term to benefit long term. If you focus on mastering what you do, looking to get 1% better, you’ll become great at it. Also, think in decades and not days, play the long game in everything you do.

READ MORE: Stonemason who learned in Scotland invited to ceremony

Business: Double check everything, not everyone has the same intentions as you. Due your due diligence on clients, staff and always ask yourself “how can we de-risk what it is we are about to do?” Take risks but calculated ones.

What was your best moment?

We’ve had some huge wins and achieved some incredible things since Stratum Masonry was formed in 2019 however the first thing that popped into my head when I saw this question was winning Best New Business at the 2021 Scottish Home Improvement Awards.

An accumulation of the amazing work our team does. It was great to see the incredible staff who work with us be recognised for their contributions day in, day out.

The team we have is 100% without doubt our biggest strength.

What was your worst moment?

Again, with business and life, there are plenty of moments where you do question certain things. My worst moment was probably when lockdowns caused our business to close for eight weeks. That was a period filled with fear, uncertainty and general worry. I’d never seen anything like it and remember thinking we would be locked down for two weeks and then everything would return as normal … How wrong was I.

However, I will say one thing, during that eight-week period I was grateful to be afforded the opportunity to really think what direction I wanted to take the business in and how we could get better collectively (three members of staff at that time).

How do you relax?

I‘m going to be honest here and say that I struggle to switch off and relax, my head is always thinking of what is next.

With that said, my version of relaxing would be training in the gym five to six days per week. I find that great from both a physical and mental perspective.

As I’ve gotten older, I enjoy experiences such as a nice family dinner, going on holiday with my fiancé to somewhere warm (make sure there’s a beach and a pool!).