Building regulations

Building regulations contain the technical requirements 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.

New publication: technical handbooks for use from 1 October 2019

We have published updated versions of the technical handbooks which apply to a building warrant submitted on or after 1 October 2019 and to building work which does not  require a warrant commenced from that date. 

Html versions of both handbooks will be available from October 2019.

On 12 July 2019 we published the following updates to the technical handbooks. The changes include:

  • revisions throughout Section 2 (fire) covering fire performance of external cladding systems in high-rise domestic buildings and certain higher risk non-domestic buildings; provision for means of escape, evacuation alert and signage in high-rise domestic buildings.
  • under standard 3.12, introduction of provision for Changing Places Toilets in larger new non-domestic buildings, extensions and conversions.

More information is in the 2019 building standards technical handbooks: summary of changes.

Technical handbooks for use before 1 October 2019

The technical handbooks below apply to a building warrant applied for between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2019 and to building work which does not require a warrant commenced during that period.

On 1 July 2017 we published the following updates to the 2017 technical handbooks. The changes include:

  • a new building type 23A in schedule 3 to regulation 5 and in regulation 9 in Section 0, General
  • minor updates and corrections

For more information, see our summary of changes made for 2017 Technical Handbooks.

We have provided a list of links to previous technical handbooks, key supporting technical guidance and general guidance documents available in our website archive. 

We have produced information on approved software and its use to meet requirements under standard 6.1 (carbon dioxide emissions) and standard 6.9 (energy performance certificates) within Section 6 (energy).

Research

Research undertaken to support building regulations and guidance.  Research projects commissioned in 2018 -2019:

Project title

Description Status
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) – Development of Smart Audit Rules Project to improve the quality of the Scottish EPC data produced and retained on the Register. Complete
Investigating prevalence of CO2 from disused mineral mines and implications for residential buildings In 2017 the NHS Lothian Incident Management Team investigated reported cases of ill health affecting residents of a recently built local authority housing estate. This research is looking for similar incidents and considers implications for building standards. Complete
Personal Development Framework Development of a Personal Development Framework for the Building Standards profession. Complete
Building Standards Year of Young People: Attracting young people into a career in Building Standards Project looking at why young people are not choosing a career in building standards.  Develop a strategy to  encourage young people into building standards. complete
Analysis of the Building Standards Compliance and Fire Safety Consultation - Making Scotland’s buildings safer for people Analysis of evidence received in response to the Building Standards Compliance and Fire Safety Consultation. Complete
National Customer Survey 2017-18 to support the verification framework An annual Survey on the performance of Scottish local authorities   P Complete
Explore the feasibility of a Centralised Hub for verification of complex fire engineered solutions in Scotland Project providing an independent opinion on the need, appropriateness, potential structure and operations of a central hub for assessing the verification of complex fire engineered designs in Scotland   P Complete
Inventory of the design of high rise housing accommodation in Scotland Project to compile an inventory of existing high rise housing accommodation across both public and private sectors in Scotland Complete

You can find our previous research reports in our website archive

Consultation

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

Building standards forms

We have provided model forms that may be adapted by the verifier to suit their individual circumstances and requirements. These forms may also be used by applicants or their duly authorised agents.

Where an applicant or agent has registered an account through the e-Development website, these can be completed online.

If you need help completing a form please contact your local authority building standards department.

Ministerial relaxations

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 Building Standards procedural handbook contains further information, and applications should be made on the model form for relaxation of building regulations.

Ministerial views

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.

The following recent ministerial views are available on this website:

Section

Date

Building type

Functional standards

Issue

Section 2 - Fire 2 September 2018 Domestic 2.8 Spread from neighbouring buildings
Section 2 - Fire 30 August 2018 Non-Domestic 2.1 + 2.3 Compartmentation​ and structural protection
Section 2 - Fire 28 August 2017 Non-Domestic 2.9 Provide occupants with opportunity to escape

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.