The April 2024 technical handbooks are now published, introducing the Scottish Government’s New Build Heat Standard via standard 6.11 (Heating and hot water – direct emission heating system) and consequential changes to standard 6.1 and 7.1.
The June 2023 Technical Handbooks are also republished with minor addendum changes.
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. We regularly consult with industry to review our guidance.
See our collection of building standards guidance for the latest technical handbook information.
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 from our staged consultation on proposals to end the use of fossil and biofuel in new buildings in 2021 and 2022.
Read more 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:
- Building standards technical handbook April 2024: domestic buildings
- Building standards technical handbook April 2024: non-domestic buildings
Technical handbooks for use from 5 June 2023 to 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:
- Building standards technical handbook June 2023: domestic buildings
- Building standards technical handbook June 2023: non-domestic buildings
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:
- Building Standards Technical Handbook February 2023: Domestic Buildings
- Building Standards Technical Handbook February 2023: Non-domestic Buildings
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:
- Building standards technical handbook 2022: domestic buildings, Section 0 and Section 2 publication (June 2022)
- Building standards technical handbook 2022: non-domestic buildings, Section 0 and Section 2 publication (June 2022)
Further information on recent changes
Our Building Standards Technical Handbooks 2022/23: events and resources page provides further information on changes since June 2022.
Earlier technical handbooks
See a list of technical handbooks applicable before June 2022 (pdf format) in our building standards document collection.
Supporting technical guidance
There is a list of links to key supporting technical guidance documents in our building standards document collection.
In 2019, we published a revised version (third edition) of the building standards procedural handbook. This provides clarification on the procedures underpinning the Scottish building standards system.
In 2023, we published the first edition of the building standards enforcement handbook. This provides clarification on the enforcement powers for local authorities as set out in the Building (Scotland) Act 2003.
See a list of research projects commissioned to support building regulations and guidance from 2018 to 2024 in the building standards document collection. Previous research reports are in our website archive.
Amendments to the building regulations and to the building standards system are made to ensure the aims of the system continue to be met and that the system meets the needs of the people of Scotland. Public consultation is integral to this development process to ensure that a balanced view is taken of the issues involved. You can find current and recent consultations on amendments to the building regulations and to the building standards system on our consultation hub. Older consultations can be found in the website archive.
Fire safety design summary
A Fire Safety Design Summary (FSDS) records key information relating to the design and construction of a building, which will assist in ongoing operation and maintenance of the building for fire safety purposes.
Once a non-domestic building is complete and occupied it can be difficult to establish fully what fire safety measures have been incorporated in the building or what assumptions have been made by designers in respect of the fire strategy of the building. The information could be described as ‘hidden information’ that cannot easily be established by an examination of the completed premises. This information will also be of benefit to those responsible for operating and maintaining the building for fire safety purposes and for fire risk assessors to use when the building is occupied. A copy of the FSDS should also be passed onto the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to allow them to gather operational intelligence of the building fire safety systems prior to attendance at any fire incident. The FSDS can be also be adapted and modified for domestic premises as ‘best practice’.
The ‘relevant person’ must submit a Fire Safety Design Summary (FSDS) with the completion certificate. In most cases, the ‘relevant person’ will be the building warrant applicant or their duly authorised agent. The local authority verifier will check the FSDS for accuracy prior to accepting or rejecting the completion certificate.
Energy standards review
We convened a working group for the next review of energy standards in June 2023.
For any particular building or description of building, a person may apply to Scottish Ministers for a direction to either relax or dispense with a provision of the building regulations relating to building standards using the model form.
Where Scottish Ministers consider it unreasonable that the provision should apply, they can issue a direction. This can also be revoked or varied by a further direction. Although there is no requirement to consult before issuing a direction for a particular building, we will normally consult the fire authority on anything related to fire. We will normally consult the verifier if the application relates to an existing warrant application, particularly where a warrant has been granted.
The Scottish Courts are responsible for interpreting regulations, but Scottish Ministers have the power to give a view on the extent to which a proposed building or construction complies with the regulations.
If the owner or the verifier considers there is doubt about the extent to which a building or design meets the building standards, they can request a Ministerial view. Each case is treated anonymously in order to preserve the privacy of the applicant. See our collection of ministerial views for more information.
You can find a list of Ministerial views that have been issued since 2005 on our archived website.
You may wish to contact the local authority referred to in any specific view to obtain the project context for the view.