Building standards

A collection of building standards guidance publications.

Introduction

Building regulations set out technical requirements applicable to building work to protect the public interest.

We publish technical handbooks which explain how to achieve the requirements set out in the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004. The regulations, standards and supporting guidance in our technical handbooks apply based upon the date on which a building warrant application is submitted or when work not requiring a building warrant is commenced.

Also see the following collections:

Read more about building standards.

Access eBuildingStandards - a free service that is managed by the Scottish Government in partnership with all Scottish local authorities. The portal allows you to complete and submit building warrant applications, completion certificates and other related forms associated with the end to end process of the building standards system.

New publication: technical handbooks for use from 1 April 2024

Building regulations are revised to prohibit the use of heating and cooling systems, located within the curtilage of any new building, which produce more than a negligible level of greenhouse gas emissions. This follows staged consultation on proposals to end the use of fossil and biofuel in new buildings in 2021 and 2022.

Read more information on the introduction of this ‘New Build Heat Standard’ as part of our broader Heat in Buildings strategy.

To implement this change, the 2024 technical handbooks introduce standard 6.11 (Heating and hot water – direct emission heating system), associated amendments to standard 6.1 and guidance to standards 6.1, 6.8 and 7.1. The handbooks are otherwise unchanged from the June 2023 (December addendum) version.

Designers seeking to comply with the standards or to submit a building warrant on or after 1 April 2024 should refer to:

Technical handbooks for use between 5 June 2023 and 31 March 2024

Following review of standards and guidance in 2021, building regulations are revised to introduce a requirement for electric vehicle charging in new buildings and those subject to ‘major renovation’.

These handbooks includes minor amendments to Section 0 (general) and introduction of new standard 7.2 (Electric vehicle charging) within Section 7 (sustainability). The handbooks are otherwise unchanged from the February 2023 version.

December 2023 – minor addendum update to the published June 2023 Handbooks. A list of addendum changes, which do not materially affect current routes to compliance, can be found on our 2022/23 resource page.

Designers seeking to comply with the standards or to submit a building warrant between 5 June 2023 and 31 March 2024 should refer to:

Technical handbooks for use from 1 February 2023 to 4 June 2023

The earlier December 2022 technical handbooks are now republished and reformatted as the February 2023 technical handbooks, reflecting their amended in-force date. Minor changes are made to text are listed in the introduction to each volume.

Designers seeking to comply with the standards or to submit a building warrant between 1 February 2023 and 4 June 2023 should refer to:

Technical handbooks for use from 1 June 2022 to 31 January 2023

Designers seeking to comply with the standards or to submit a building warrant between 1 June 2022 and 31 January 2023 should refer to:

Technical handbooks for use from 1 March 2021 to 31 May 2022

Designers seeking to comply with the standards or to submit a building warrant between 1 March 2021 and 31 May 2022 should refer to:

Previous technical handbooks

Links to previous editions of the technical handbooks are below. Under the Building (Scotland) Act 2003, the technical handbooks issued in support of the building regulations were applied from the following dates.

  • 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 – 1 May in each year
  • 2006 – 1 April 2016
  • 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2019 – 1 October in each year
  • 2016 and 2017 – 1 July in each year

Key documents (referred to within the technical handbooks), can be found via the ‘key supporting technical guidance’ link in the left hand menu.

Key supporting technical guidance

Section 0 : general

 

Conservatories Guide 2nd edition, Revised and updated in line with 2015 handbooks, 2015

Conversion of traditional buildings: part one and two, published by Historic Scotland

Modern methods of construction: guidance for building standards verification, Provides guidance to Local Authority verifiers and Certifiers as defined under the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 when assessing building warrant applications and certifying works which use Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), 2022

Procedural guidance for Crown buildings, Revised and updated including guidance on cells and reference to appropriate fire authorities, 2010

Procedural Handbook 3rd Edition, Inclusion of changes implemented by the Building (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 (new Type 23A to schedule 3, changes fees and discounts, timing of certificate of design for discount, recognise digital procedures and forms). Also other general updates (e.g. Section 6, Energy and SEPA), 2017

Section 1: structure

 

Small Buildings Structural Guidance, Removed from Technical Handbooks, available in our website archive, 2010

Section 2: fire

 

A Simplified Approach to Alternative Fire Safety Strategies, New guidance in support of Section 2: Fire, 2010

A Fire Safety Design Summary, new guidance and example forms, 2013

Fire Safety Management in Traditional Buildings, guide published by Historic Scotland.

Whisky Maturation Warehouses - Storage Buildings (Class 1) – Automatic Fire Suppression Systems, Provides supplementary information for the installation of automatic fire suppression systems in whisky maturation warehouses to that already provided in the Scottish Building Standards Technical Handbooks, 2015

Section 3: environment

 

Ventilation Domestic Guide, Guidance in support of standard 3.14 ventilation, 2017

Section 4: safety

 

Protective Barriers in Existing Non-Domestic Buildings, A building regulation guide to openings in protective barriers such as railings or balustrades, 2011

Section 5: noise

 

Airtightness and Sound Testing, Methodology for testing in support of Section 5 - Noise and Section 6 - Energy, 2011

Example Constructions and Generic Internal Constructions, updated 2011

Housing and sound insulation: guide to improving existing attached dwellings and designing for conversions, guide to provide methods and descriptions of how to improve sound insulation between attached dwellings, to assist in deciding on what levels of sound insulation may be required and to inform on key separating wall and floor types and influences of remedial treatments.

Section 6: energy

 

Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide for Scotland 2022, Guidance in support of compliance with Standards 6.3 to 6.7 for dwellings and other domestic buildings. Applicable from 1 December 2022, the Guide should be referred to in conjunction with the Domestic Technical Handbook, 2022.

Non-domestic Building Services Compliance Guide for Scotland 2022, Guidance in support of compliance with Standards 6.3 to 6.6 & 6.10 for non-domestic buildings. Applicable from 1 December 2022, this the Guide should be referred to in conjunction with the Non-domestic Technical Handbook, 2022.

2022 NCM Modelling Guide for Non-domestic Buildings in Scotland, Guidance on the application of the National Calculation Methodology used to demonstrate compliance on new non-domestic buildings with Standard 6.1. Applicable to building warrants submitted from 1 December 2022, 2022

Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide for Scotland 2015, Guidance in support of compliance with Standards 6.3 to 6.7 for dwellings and other domestic buildings. Applicable from 1 October 2015, this separate document contains guidance on building services previously published within the Technical Handbooks. The Guide should be referred to in conjunction with remaining guidance within the Domestic Technical Handbook, 2015.

Section 7: sustainability

 

These guides outline the main features of each technology and identify issues that need to be considered in the design and installation of low carbon equipment, for compliance with the building regulations, including good practice to optimise the energy efficiency of installations. More detailed guidance on the Scottish building regulations, including the functional standards, is given in the Technical Handbooks.

Sustainability label generator, Web tool for generating Statements of Sustainability under Section 7.

National Calculation Methodology modelling guide

Guidance on compliance with building regulations, namely the application of the calculation methodology used for non-domestic buildings.

Procedural handbook

Provides clarification on the procedures underpinning the Scottish building standards system.

Building services compliance guides

Detailed guidance for the installation of fixed building services in new and existing domestic and non-domestic buildings in support of compliance with the energy efficiency requirements. 

The non-domestic building services compliance guide for Scotland 2018 is in our website archive.

General guidance

Procedures for building standards

The Building (Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 set out the processes for submitting and dealing with building warrant applications. We also published a revised version (third edition) of the Building Standards Procedural Handbook, which explains how the processes work and apply.

Our Customer Journey explains the building standards system to anyone making home improvements or starting building work.

When submitting a building warrant application there is helpful guidance on what you need to know to make a good quality application.

Enforcement

Provides clarification on the enforcement powers for local authorities as set out in the Building (Scotland) Act 2003.

Research projects: 2018 to 2023

Research undertaken to support building regulations and guidance. You can find previous research reports in our website archive

Complete - list

 

Verification and certification

We have a separate collection of guidance on verification and certification for local authorities.

Building standards legislation

 If you want to know how to acheve the requirements set out in the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004 then see the technical handbooks.

Contact

Email: buildingstandards@gov.scot

Twitter: @ScotGovBLdgStds

Read the building standards blog

Telephone: 0300 244 4000

Post:
Scottish Government
Building Standards Division
Almondvale Business Park
Denholm House
Livingston
West Lothian
EH54 6GA

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