Building Standards Futures Board minutes: June 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the Building Standards Futures Board, held on 8 June 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Aubrey Fawcett (Chair), SOLACE
  • Dave Aitken (DA), LABSS
  • Nicola Barclay (NB), Homes for Scotland
  • Ron Fraser (RF), Construction Scotland
  • Mike Foy (MF), CIOB
  • Gordon Nelson (GN), FMB
  • Stephen Good (SG), CSIC
  • Colin Proctor (CP), Scottish Futures Trust
  • Robert Jopling (RJ), SER
  • Robert Nicol (RN), COSLA
  • Stephen Garvin (SGa), Scottish Government
  • Colette Templeton (CT), Scottish Government
  • Neil Mitchell (NM), Scottish Government
  • Linda Stewart (LS), Scottish Government
  • Anne Marie Hughes (AMH), Scottish Government
  • Frank Doherty (FD), Scottish Government
  • Fiona Sinclair (FS), Scottish Government
  • Sarah Waugh (SW), Scottish Government

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

The Chair welcomed everyone to the 9th meeting. Apologies were received from Craig Ross, RICS. The Chair advised that he is retiring in September and a new chair will be in place for the Board’s next meeting in October 2021.

Note of meeting on 02 February and action points paper 33 (08/06/21)

The chair discussed the note of the previous meeting and it was approved by the Board. 

The action points from the meeting on 02 February 2021 were discussed and Paper 38 provided detail on the Futures Board budget. 

Research funding paper 38 (08/06/21)

At February’s meeting the Board asked for detail on the funds spent, over the last year, to support the work of the Futures Board. Paper 38 provides details which includes research, LABSS and funding for LAs to help with the purchase of IT equipment to support remote verification inspections. A total of £190,000 has been spent. BSD are currently working to identify this year’s projects. 

COVID-19: Building Standards response and impact on programme

Building Standards – update

SGa advised that there will be a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, on 09 June 2021. 

A new unit within BSD has been created to take forward work on cladding. The cladding remediation fund is a commitment in the Government’s 100 days plan and the aim is for the full team to be in place to deliver on this by the end of July 2021. 

The BSD Resilience Liaison Group, set up at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to meet and has updated it’s terms of reference to reflect the change in requirements. More thematic themes will be considered by the group going forward i.e. Net Zero Carbon.

The Temporary Healthcare Building Group is also continuing its work and consideration is now being turned to buildings that need building warrants, completion certificates and occupation certificates in place. The guidance issued during the COVID-19 period dealing with these buildings, will be reviewed and updated if necessary. SGa advised that building warrant numbers continue to rise with an approximate 20% increase week on week over 2019 levels.  

Construction Leadership Forum and Transformation Sub Group – update

An update was provided to the Board. A Construction Leadership Forum meeting is taking place on 16 June 2021, chaired by Ivan McKee with a number of different Ministers also involved.

The forum continue to work on preparing safe operating guidance. The issue of ventilation in buildings is now being looked at as a key consideration. The Board was advised that ventilation requirements will need to be tightened going forward.

Work on the Digital Strategy for industry is being coordinated through work streams and workshops. Evidence is being gathered to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs)  navigate their way through digitalisation (this work is dependent on funding from elsewhere in the Scottish Government). Linked to this work is the development of a ‘tech navigator’ which will be an ‘indexed catalogue of tech’ that will provide information on devices and technology to help identify the best software that members of the public can use for their business, when implementing digitalisation.  

Work on Transforming the Value of Consultancy has been expanded to include engineers and other contractors focusing on quality in all projects. It is recognised that cost is a key factor and work is being taken forward on how projects are procured, taking into account the whole life cost of buildings.

A product campaign through the Construction Accord is being taken forward. This will provide the opportunity to address changes through regulatory compliance and compliance plans linking to the work being taken forward under the compliance work stream of the Futures Board. 

Work is also progressing on improving construction quality through manufacturing and off-site construction and is part of the Housing 2040 strategy. 

The Board recognised that there is a wide range of work ongoing throughout industry to strengthen and improve systems. The Chair noted that the Board need to ensure it wasn’t insular in taking its work forward. It was important that it kept connected with the other initiatives and ongoing work. 

Work stream highlight report – update: paper 39

The Board were updated on the Development Unit’s staffing position. An update on the Future Board work streams was provided: 

Workforce strategy

The work stream is sitting at ‘green’ RAG position. Work is continuing on delivering the strategy and areas will be taken forward to identify where skills gaps are to inform discussion with educational bodies to develop content for HNC/HND and degree level courses. Progress will also be made to develop a modern apprentice pathway for building standards. 

BSD will work with verifiers, over the next year, to create a research and development hub to support training. 

Verification standard

The work stream is sitting at ‘green’ RAG position. The Board was advised that the Operating and Performance Frameworks have been reviewed and published on 01 April 2021. The National Customer Satisfaction survey will be undertaken this year. A project will also be undertaken to revise the questions as well as looking at how data is collected with the aim of having a tool that collects data in ‘real time’. 

Delivery model

The work stream has moved from ‘red’ to ‘amber’ RAG position. This is a priority work stream and good progress has been made over the last 3 months with the working group meeting twice under the chair of Tom Barclay, Director of Property and Development, Wheatley Group. The meetings have considered research from 2020 which reviewed the current delivery model and identified potential changes. Considering the need to strengthen the system the group considered a proposal from LABSS (considered by Futures Board February 2020) and agreed to focus on the need for a central hub with regional strengthening. 

Compliance plan approach

The work stream is sitting at ‘green’ RAG position. Work is progressing well on this work stream. The next compliance plan working group is on 16 June 2021 and updates from the sub groups will be provided. Recommendations from this meeting will be shared with the Futures Board. Depending on the timing of the proposed consultation there may be a need to convene a special meeting or to provide information via email. 

Technical strategy

The work stream is sitting at ‘amber’ RAG position. Work is being progressed through the BSD Technical Authors Group. Consideration will be given to the guidance prepared and issued by BSD and how this is delivered. A working group on Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) has been set up to identify and prepare guidance to verifiers on MMC to support verification. A Technical Strategy is also being prepared and will be presented to the Board.

Digital transformation strategy

Progress report including RVI paper 40 (08/06/21)

An update was provided to the Board highlighting that the Digital team is now in place to take this work stream forward.

Liaison with the Digital Planning Programme is ongoing and a number of touch points projects have been identified. Further work is needed to develop requirements.

The work of the LABSS Digital Transformation Group will continue over the next year and the Remote Verification Group has been extended to a practice group comprising of 16 verifiers. The work of both groups will inform the future development of the work stream. 

The Board discussed the changes to the edevelopment portal that had been expected to be completed at the last update. FD advised that the increased size for single file uploads had not gone through and was now subject to a “health check”. An update from the Planning Team would be requested. The Board agreed that this change in particular had a major impact on the effectiveness of the portal and it was important that was communicated to the planning team.  

The possibility of revisions to redoing the application portals so that the eBuilding standards system and the ePlanning system are integrated, was discussed. This would mean that applications would be part of the same system so information is only uploaded once. The Board agreed on the importance of joining up the regulatory functions. 

Strategy (draft) paper 41 (08/06/21)

The Strategy sets out how the Digital Transformation work stream will be delivered. While the document is intended for all parts of the construction industry, the transformation itself must deliver for everyone, including persons in or about buildings and others who may be affected by buildings or matters connected with buildings.

The Board discussed the strategy. There is a need to ensure digital connectivity across Scotland and strong links to the Digital Planning project as well as Housing to 2040 are vital. It was recognised that planning didn’t have an equivalent to the Futures Board and SGa undertook to discuss further with planning colleagues and report to the Board. The meeting recognised that planning and building standards are now responsible to different Ministers, acknowledging the potential for conflict. The Chair advised that this is an issue that would need to be discussed further with COSLA.

The Board approved the Strategy.

Certification Strategy

Progress report including update on Working Group paper 42 (08/06/21)

AM introduced Paper 42. Over the last year certification services have been impacted by COVID-19. While there have been challenges it has also provided opportunities to expand membership as well as increasing the use of services. The COVID user group for certification has provided support and undertaken promotion of the schemes. The use of certification as part of the building warrant process means less people on site, which in turn, helps meet the social distancing measures.  

The paper provides detail on work that has been undertaken over the last year. This work has included a recommendation from the expert Review Panels to consider a scheme for fire-stopping. While currently there is no market for this, the team have looked at how the various components of the building standards system, could be covered by certification schemes. Scheme Providers have also taken forward a lot of work on branding and promotion. 

Strategy (draft) – paper 43 (08/06/21)

The Strategy sets out how the certification work stream will be delivered. The objective of the strategy is to expand the use of certification within the Scottish Building Standards system and increase the areas of design and construction open to certification.  

The Board discussed the work being undertaken under the Compliance Plan and how the role of the Compliance Plan Manager (CPM) will impact on certification. AM advised that the CPM role will raise the profile of certification and may lead to an increase in the use of services. GN advised that the Construction Licencing Taskforce meets next week and he will bring an update back to the Board on work being taken forward on the Licencing of Traders scheme.

The Board approved the Strategy.


SGa thanked the Chair for leading the Board over the last two years and wished him well in his retirement.

Chair advised that SOLACE had nominated Craig Hatton to take forward the Board and the BSD team will seek agreement for the appointment from the Cabinet Secretary.

Date of meeting 10: 04 October (13:30 – 16:30).

Action points:

  • Board members to look over the Research Funding Paper 38 (08/06/21) and to provide any comments or areas that they think could be added to the paper
  • FD to seek an update from Digital Planning on the deployment of the increase in file size module and feedback the Board’s views on an integrated application portal
  • SGa to discuss with Planning colleagues the role of the Futures Board and identify the reporting mechanisms for the Digital Planning Transformation programme
  • BSD to seek Ministerial agreement to the change in Chair of the Board
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