Building regulations

Coronavirus (COVID-19): read information and guidance relating to building standards (April 2020). 

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. 

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.

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.

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 undertaken to support building regulations and guidance.  Research projects commissioned from 2018 to 2020:

Project title



Future model to evaluate the quality of the verification service customer experience

This project will identify and propose a preferred national customer survey model.  The project will review the existing question set used to evaluate the quality of the verification service customer experience across all 32 local authority verifiers and make suggested changes. Out to Tender
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.  Ongoing

Laminated glass pilot fire testing – Pilot

This is a pilot experimental programme which will assess the fire performance of laminated glass.  The outcomes of this work will help inform a wider programme with testing to be carried out under UK Government commissioned work. Ongoing
National Customer Satisfaction Survey 2019-20 to support the verification performance  framework An annual Survey on the Performance of Scottish local authorities Ongoing
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

Causes of fire fatalities and serious fire injuries in Scotland and potential solutions to reduce them Phase 1:  IRS Review (collaborative working)

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

Research project to identify and assess improvements to energy standards for new buildings within Scottish building regulations

This project will assess and identify the potential for further improvement in energy and emissions performance for new domestic and non-domestic buildings set via standard 6.1 (carbon dioxide emissions) and supporting guidance within The Scottish Government’s Building Standards Technical Handbooks. 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

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. 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.