Building Standards Futures Board minutes: April 2024

Minutes from the meeting of the Building Standards Futures Board on 16 April 2024.

Attendees and apologies

  • Craig Hatton (CH) Chair, Chief Executive North, Ayrshire Council
  • James Whiteford (JW), Director, Building Standards Hub
  • Alan McAulay (AMc), Director, Building Standards Hub
  • John-Paul Breslin (JPB), Chair, LABSS
  • Zoe Black (ZB), RIAS
  • Nigel Kerr (NK), Fife Council
  • Colin Proctor (CP), Scottish Futures Trust (SFT)
  • Robert Toomey, RICS
  • Neil Mitchell (NM), Scottish Government
  • Stephen Garvin (SGa), Scottish Government
  • Colette Templeton (CT), Scottish Government
  • Fiona Sinclair (FS), Scottish Government
  • Cameron Murdoch (CM), Scottish Government
  • Ken Craig (KC), Scottish Government


  • Gordon Nelson (GN), FMB
  • Tamsie Thomson (TT), RIAS
  • Steven Scott (SS), Scottish Government
  • Stephen Good (SG), Built Environment – Smarter Transformation (BE-ST)
  • Ron Fraser (RF), Construction Scotland
  • Robert Storey (RS), SER
  • Steve Fawcett (SF), Homes for Scotland
  • Robert Nicol (RN), COSLA
  • Jocelyne Fleming (JF), CIOB
  • Mark Lawler (ML), SER Certification Scheme Providers

Items and actions

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted apologies. 

At today’s meeting there will be a presentation on the proposed programme of work for the FB over the next 12 – 24 months as well as a full update on the Delivery Model work stream and an update from the Hub Directors.

The chair advised the meeting that both James Whiteford and Alan McAulay had been successful in their appointments as Hub Directors. The Board thanked Fife Council and Nigel Kerr for the continued support in delivering the permanent Hub.

Note of meeting 17 – 20 November 2023

The note of the previous meeting was approved by the Board.

Action Points Paper 88 (16/04/2024)

The Board was updated on progress of the actions from the previous meeting. These were closed and agreed.

An update on the annual SG budget was provided highlighting appropriate funds are available for resources within BSD as well as the RAAC Team. Funding is also in place for the coming year to cover research and development work of other FB related areas.

Construction Leadership Forum (CLF)

An update was provided on the latest CLF meeting which took place on 07 February 2024, with the next scheduled for 17 April 2024.

The Group were advised that the transformation action plan was launched on 25 January with significant output from CLF.

A presentation from Scottish Governments Chief Planner, Fiona Simpson was delivered to CLF.  Detail was provided on planning and performance statistics as well as the role of the Chier Planner within local authorities.

It was highlighted to the Board that discussions around the workload and construction pipeline forecast tool will likely be discussed at tomorrow’s CLF meeting. The pipeline forecast would usually be published in January/February, but it will be published around May this year. This will provide an updated picture on public sector workload.

Action: SGa to ask CLF colleagues if meeting papers can be shared with FB members for information.

Construction Quality Improvement Collaborative (CQIC)

Work to increase awareness on improving construction quality is underway.

CQIC are hosting and supporting BSD on the Compliance Plan Early Adopters Scheme.

A presentation on the work of the Quality Initiative will be given in May at Consortium of European Building Control (CEBC) which is being hosted by BSD in Edinburgh.

CQIC are taking forward work to look at Behavioural Competency. Feedback suggests it would be useful to partner with other organisations to look at how this is embedded into training courses. There was agreement from the Board that this would be an interesting and useful piece of work.  

The Chair highlighted the positives of focussing on Behavioural Competency rather than only Technical.

Building standards – update

New Build Heat Standards came into effect from 1 April 2024. The changes mean new homes and buildings will not be allowed to use direct emission (or polluting) heating systems like oil and gas boilers, and bioenergy. Climate-friendly alternatives like heat pumps and heat networks (also referred to as clean heating systems), will be used instead.

There has been a lot of media attention around the new standards, especially in rural communities in relation to wood burning stoves. Changes have all previously been consulted on and BSD and the Heat in Buildings team have recently delivered engagement to Local Authority Verifiers to support the changes.

Work on the Passivhaus Equivalent Standards is ongoing with a public consultation planned for later in the year.

Changes to building standards regulations to ensure all new build homes are equipped with gigabit-capable infrastructure is planned to come into force later in 2024.

The Fire Safety Standard review is continuing following the publication of the report on the Cameron House Hotel fatal accident enquiry. An expert review panel has now been set up to consider automatic suppression and fire stopping in older buildings being converted to hotels. This work will also feed into a review of fire standards where further guidance is required to reduce the number of requests for relaxations being received.

Discussion on the role and input of the HSE in licensing of hotels took place, it was agreed to take the discussion offline.

Discussions with UK Government colleagues have taken place surrounding the Grenfell Enquiry - Phase 2 Report. The report on this is due to be published later in 2024.

Action: SGa and NK to discuss HSE role in licensing of hotels.

Futures Board Programme 2024 – 2026

2024 – 2026 Programme Paper 89 (16/04/2024)

NM provided an overview of Paper 89 that was issued prior to the meeting, highlighting progress made by the FB over its current lifespan and next steps for the Board.  

The FB was set up with an expected span of four years however due to work demands, a further two year extension is being proposed. At the meeting in November 2023 it was agreed to streamline the FB workstreams from seven to four.

The Board were informed that the Certification Lead Officer vacancy has been filled, the successful candidate will begin at the end of May 2024.

There was a discussion around the key milestones and timelines. The Board were advised at this time there would be no plans to further extend the FB after the additional two year period has passed. A progress review will be planned for autumn 2026 which will look at the position of the work across the work streams and report to the Board before it’s due to end.  

The Chair noted the intention to take forward further discussions on devolved fees and noted the intention to discuss further with COSLA in the coming months. 

The Chair asked Members if they were content with the Programme as set out? CP said it would be helpful as the work is taken forward for work packages and deliverables to have milestones and timescales where appropriate. Members agreed to sit on the Board and support the work for a further two years.

Action: Members of the Board who weren't in attendance of today's meeting are encouraged to provide any comments on Paper 89 and advise if they are happy with membership of the Board going forward for the next two years. 

Verification Delivery Model

Work Stream Update Paper 90 (16/04/2024)

An overview of Paper 90 was provided to the Group advising on significant progress made since the previous FB meeting in November 2023.

Ministerial approval was sought and gained on the establishment of the permanent Hub in December 2023 as well as the increase in building warrant fees.

On 1 April 2024 the increase in fees was implemented as part of a 3 year model and an additional information paper on fees was provided as part of the papers for today’s meeting.  An engagement session on fees has been delivered to verifiers as part of the Futures Board Business Change programme. 

Fife Council were formally invited to host the permanent Hub, Fife Cabinet Committee accepted this offer and approved the decision on 11 January 2024. Ministerial approval was gained for this move.

The Delivery Model Team are working with the Hub, LABSS and Fife Council on confirming the final aspects that will establish the Hub such as governance, MOUs, etc.

It has been agreed that a soft launch for the Hub will take place in May 2024, with a formal launch with ministerial attendance to be planned for around September when the Hub will be more established. It was discussed that all relevant LA stakeholders and networks will be made aware of and if appropriate, invited to the formal launch.

The Delivery Model Development Group (DMDG) has continued its support of the Hub. A new name “Scottish Building Standards Hub” (SBSH) has been agreed with the Delivery Model Working Group and branding is being developed by the Hub. The role and remit of the DMDG is being reviewed in light of the establishment of the permanent SBSH. A further update will be provided on this at the next FB meeting.

Building Standards Hub update

The Directors are currently agreeing the final contractual matters in relation to the establishment of the permanent SBSH.

The MOUs have been finalised with work on the TOR paper for the Hub underway. The TOR will be taken to the Delivery Model Working Group for approval when appropriate.

The Directors expressed their delight in gaining their posts on a permanent basis and advised that role profiles for other posts are in the final stages of being created. It is hoped that the advert for the Learning and Development Manager will go live over the next few weeks.

An update on the Hub website was provided advising the Group that this will be a clone of the LABSS website with the appropriate SBSH branding and information included to ensure a separate identity.

The development of e-learning materials and the Learning Management System (LMS) is underway. Currently in the process of looking to develop a more advanced platform that will enable qualification and skills recording.

Workstream updates

Work Stream Update Paper 91 (16/04/2024)

Paper 91 provides an update on the work streams not covered by the main papers at today’s meeting.

The RAG status measuring progress on each is:

Verification Standard – RAG status is currently Green.

Compliance Plan Approach – RAG status is currently Amber.

Digital Transformation – RAG status is currently Amber.

Certification Strategy – RAG status is currently Green.

Action: Board members to raise awareness of the Compliance Plan Early Adopters Scheme and the ask for projects to take part within their networks.

Futures Board risk management

Risk Register – Paper 92 (16/04/2024)

The Board were given an update on the Risks within the Futures Board Programme.

Multiple risks have been closed with some new risks being added to the Risk Register, however these are managed on a regular basis throughout the workstreams.

The Group were content with the Risk Register.


Date of meetings 2024:

  • Tuesday 27 August 
  • Tuesday 19 November

The Chair thanked everyone for their attendance and closed the meeting.


  1. SGa to ask CLF colleagues if meeting papers can be shared with FB members for information.
  2. SGa and NK to discuss HSE role in licensing of hotels. 
  3. Members of the Board who weren’t in attendance of today’s meeting are encouraged to provide any comments on Paper 89 and advise if they are happy with membership of the Board going forward for the next two years.
  4. Board members to raise awareness of the Compliance Plan Early Adopters Scheme and the ask for projects to take part within their networks.
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