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.
New publication: technical handbooks for use from 1 March 2021
We have published updated versions of the technical handbooks which apply to a building warrant submitted on or after 1 March 2021 and to building work which does not require a warrant commenced from that date.
- Building standards technical handbook 2020: domestic buildings (April 2021 Addendum) (html)
- Building standards technical handbook 2020: non-domestic buildings (April 2021 Addendum) (html)
- Building standards technical handbook 2020: domestic buildings (April 2021 Addendum) (PDF)
- Building standards technical handbook 2020: non-domestic buildings (April 2021 Addendum) (PDF)
The changes in the 2020 edition set out revisions to Section 2 (fire) that expand the scope of application of automatic fire suppression systems (AFSS) to cover all new flats and maisonettes, new social housing and new shared multi-occupancy residential buildings; plus consequential changes to related provisions within guidance.
We have produced a 2020 building standards technical handbooks summary page to provide further information on key changes and advice on dissemination events.
The April 2021 Addendum introduces two small but specific additional changes within Section 2 fire on the use of Category 3 MCM cladding and BS 8414 fire tests. The summary of the changes made from 1 April 2021 provides further information.
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.
Technical handbooks for use before 1 March 2021
The technical handbooks below apply to a building warrant applied for between 1 October 2019 and 28 February 2021 and to building work which does not require a warrant commenced during that period.
- Building standards technical handbook 2019: domestic buildings (PDF and html)
- Building standards technical handbook 2019: non-domestic buildings (PDF and html)
We have produced a 2019 building standards technical handbooks: summary of changes document to provide further information.
We also published a revised version (third edition) of the building standards procedural handbook. This provides clarification on the procedures underpinning the Scottish building standards system.
We also held two dissemination events, in Hamilton and Inverness, to outline the technical and procedural changes. We have provided the presentation used at the dissemination events.
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.
- Technical Handbook 2017: domestic buildings (PDF and HTML)
- Technical Handbook 2017: non-domestic buildings (PDF and HTML)
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 undertaken to support building regulations and guidance. Research projects commissioned from 2018 to 2020:
|Improvements to Energy Standards for New Buildings within Scottish Building Regulations 2021: Domestic Buildings||This project assesses and identifies the potential for further improvement in energy and emissions performance for new domestic buildings set via standard 6.1 (carbon dioxide emissions) and supporting guidance within The Scottish Government’s Building Standards Technical Handbooks.||Complete|
|Improvements to Energy Standards for New Buildings within Scottish Building Regulations 2021: Non-domestic Buildings||This project assesses and identifies the potential for further improvement in energy and emissions performance for new non-domestic buildings set via standard 6.1 (carbon dioxide emissions) and supporting guidance within The Scottish Government’s Building Standards Technical Handbooks.||Complete|
|Improvements to Energy Standards for New Buildings within Scottish Building Regulations 2021: Overheating in New Homes||
Building on work undertaken elsewhere in the UK, this project assesses the likelihood of overheating risk in new homes in Scotland under improved standards of building fabric and in the context of projected temperature increases. It will inform the proposed introduction of an overheating standard into Scottish building regulations.
|This project identified and proposed a preferred national customer survey model. The project reviewed the existing question set used to evaluate the quality of the verification service customer experience across all 32 local authority verifiers and made suggested changes.||Complete|
|Scottish Advice Note: Determining the Fire Risk posed by External Wall Systems in Existing Multi-Storey Residential Buildings – Consultation Analysis||This project will undertake an analysis of the responses received from the consultation and provide a report which identifies the main issues raised by respondents.||Complete|
|National Customer Satisfaction Survey 2019-20 to support the verification performance framework||An annual Survey on the Performance of Scottish local authorities||Complete|
|Exploring the potential for a Certification Scheme for Fire Stopping||This work identified if there was a demand for a certification scheme for fire-stopping within the current Scottish building warrant process.||Complete|
|This work undertook a comprehensive investigation into the underlying conditions associated with fire deaths and serious fire injuries in domestic dwellings in Scotland for the period from April 2013 to March 2017.||Complete|
Analysis to create baseline information for a ‘Simple guide to energy compliance’
|This project will undertake a literature review to provide and provide report which will act as a baseline level of information to be used to produce a ‘Simple guide to energy compliance’.||Complete|
|Suitability and relevance of current legislation and guidance on the Building Standards Register||This work reviewed what information is held by local authorities on Parts 1 and 2 of the Building Standard Register.||Complete|
|National Customer Satisfaction Survey 2018-19 to support the verification performance framework||An annual Survey on the performance of Scottish local authorities||Complete|
|Developing a Workforce Strategy for the Building Standards Verification Service in Scotland||This project will develop a building standards verification workforce strategy.||Complete|
|Assessment of options for improving energy efficiency and decarbonising heat in existing non-domestic buildings in Scotland||This project will inform the development of future standards to improve the energy performance of non-domestic buildings.||Complete|
|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||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||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|
|Ability of decentralised mechanical ventilation to act as ‘whole-house’ ventilation systems in new-build dwellings||This research established if new build dwellings fitted with dMEVs in moisture producing rooms, coupled with a reduced area of trickle ventilation in apartments of 2,500 mm2, can maintain satisfactory IAQ throughout the habitable rooms of dwellings.||Complete|
You can find our previous research reports 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.
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.