Publication - Advice and guidance

Building Scotland Fund (BSF): how to apply

Building Scotland Fund is a precursor to the Scottish National Investment Bank. It focuses on housing, modern industrial and commercial property and business-led research and development projects.

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Building Scotland Fund (BSF): how to apply
Eligibility criteria

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Eligibility criteria for the Building Scotland Fund

The Fund is open to non-public sector organisations (including but not limited to):

  • businesses
  • housing associations
  • universities

As a precursor to the Scottish National Investment Bank, the Building Scotland Fund is committed to its values, principles and ambitions including supporting the transition to the zero-carbon society and the promotion of ethical and inclusive business practices. Therefore applications must meet the following investment criteria:

Low Carbon

For housing projects you should clearly demonstrate that a proposed project meets the following criteria:

  • for new homes, a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) B or equivalent (unless there are good reasons for C, and nothing below C)
  • for refurbished homes, EPC C as a condition (or D under exceptional circumstances if meet other criteria)

Fair Work 

Fair work is good for workers, good for business and good for Scotland’s economy. Having a workforce which is fairly-rewarded, well-motivated, well-led and which can access training and learning and development opportunities and engage in decision-making can help a company’s productivity. We want to support companies which share the same ethos as we do and uphold the best modern business practices – embracing principles of fairness, equality, opportunity, and innovation. Therefore in order to be eligible for funding from the Building Scotland Fund you must demonstrate your company’s commitment to the following key Fair Work criteria:

  • payment of the Real Living Wage
  • no inappropriate use of Zero Hours Contracts 
  • action to address gender pay gap (proportionate to size of the company)

For further information please visit: 

Scottish Business Pledge 

A compelling piece of supporting evidence would be to sign up to the Scottish Business Pledge. The Scottish Business Pledge is a voluntary code of business practice representing a values-led partnership between Government and business with a shared ambition of boosting productivity, competitiveness, sustainable employment and workforce engagement and development leading to inclusive growth.  

While signing up to the Scottish Business Pledge is voluntary, we actively encourage applicants to demonstrate they are working towards signing up to the pledge.

In addition to these investment criteria we will also ask for information about how projects contribute to: 

  • reducing carbon
  • sustain and creating places in line with the Place Principle
  • tackling demographic issues
  • wider community benefits

The minimum Building Scotland Fund investment in a single project is likely to be £1 million or above although we retain discretion to consider applications under this amount.  

BSF aims to make loans and acquire equity with a focus on investment that is not currently being provided by the market. It aims to complement rather than crowd-out existing or potential investment, and can co-invest with other debt and equity providers to help unlock projects. Applicants to BSF must demonstrate that they have already made efforts in good faith to source the requested funding from private lenders or investors. They must explain why all or part of this funding is unavailable from the private sector sources or available but on unsuitable terms, despite having a detailed and viable business plan for this project. Applicants must demonstrate that they have approached other private lenders or investors prior to their request for funding from BSF.

Applicants must supply evidence of these efforts early on in the application assessment process. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • formal letters from private lenders or investors stating that a request for funding has been declined for the project (and the reasons for this)
  • emails or other correspondence from private lenders or investor stating that a request for funding has been declined for the project (and the reasons for this)
  • offers or indicative terms supplied by private lenders or investors to fund the project, with the reasoning of the applicant as to why these terms or offers are unsuitable to fund the project

The efforts to source the financing from other sources must be appropriate to the nature and complexity of the project as well as the amount of funding requested. 

There will be a focus on projects and investments that support inclusive growth, reduce carbon and sustain and create places in line with the proposed vision of the Scottish National Investment Bank Implementation Plan

Scottish Government retains the right to alter scheme rules/criteria from time to time as it considers appropriate.


Scottish Government 
Building Scotland Fund Team
Scottish National Investment Bank Directorate
1 North Waverley Gate
2-4 Waterloo Place


Telephone: Central Enquiry Unit 0300 244 4000