Building Standards Futures Board minutes: October 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 4 October 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Craig Hatton (chair), SOLACE
  • Dave Aitken (DA), LABSS
  • Ron Fraser (RF), Construction Scotland
  • Mike Foy (MF), CIOB
  • Gordon Nelson (GN), FMB
  • Colin Proctor (CP), Scottish Futures Trust
  • Robert Jopling (RJ), SER
  • Robert Nicol (RN), COSLA
  • Graham Martin (GM), RIAS
  • Euan Ryan (ER), RICS
  • Stephen Garvin (SGa), Scottish Government
  • Colette Templeton (CT), Scottish Government
  • Neil Mitchell (NM), Scottish Government
  • Linda Stewart (LS), Scottish Government
  • Thomson Dyer (TD), Scottish Government
  • Tommy Lennon (TL), Scottish Government
  • Cameron Murdoch (CM), Scottish Government
  • Fiona Sinclair (FS), Scottish Government
  • Sarah Waugh (SW), Scottish Government


  • Nicola Barclay (NB), Homes For Scotland
  • Stephen Good (SG), CSIC
  • Steven Scott (SS), Scottish Government

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

The Chair welcomed everyone to the 10th meeting and thanked everyone for their work so far. Introductions took place throughout the Board. The Chair noted apologies from Nicola Barclay and Stephen Good from the Board and Steven Scott of BSD.

Note of meeting on 8 June 2021 and action points paper 44 (04/10/21)

The Chair and Board agreed the note of the previous meeting on 08 June and noted that the action points from the previous meeting were being progressed.

COVID-19: building standards response and impact on programme

Building standards update

SGa provided an update on Building Standards. The Board was advised that Patrick Harvie MSP is now the Minister with portfolio responsibility for Building Standards.

The Board was advised that there’s still a healthy number of building warrant applications being submitted even though COVID-19 lockdowns had previously affected these.

The Board was reminded that 8 letters of guidance have been issued regarding temporary health care buildings in order to provide allowances around enforcement. There are also two consultations ongoing: Section 2 Building standards (fire safety) - a consultation on external wall systems - Scottish Government - Citizen Space and Section 6 Scottish Building Regulations: Proposed changes to Energy Standards and associated topics, including Ventilation, Overheating and Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure - Scottish Government - Citizen Space (

The Single Building Assessment (SBA) Programme is ongoing and a new cladding unit within BSD has been created. There are currently 25 pilots ongoing as part of the cladding remediation project.

Construction leadership forum and transformation sub group – update

RF provided a reminder of why the Construction Leadership Forum and Transformation Sub Group was set up in 2019 following the issue of 2 reports highlighting the need for greater collaboration between the construction sector and government. The Group is jointly chaired by Construction Scotland and SG.

Site operating guidance and a recovery plan have been developed to advise on how the industry can transition from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board was advised that the actions being undertaken by the Sub Group are medium to long term and can be found on the Construction Leadership Forum's website.

It was highlighted that the construction improvement quality action was created as a result of the failures in Edinburgh schools. Formal analysis was conducted to establish what actions needed to be taken to improve construction on site.

The Sub Group are focusing on Carbon Net Zero and are in the process of creating a Working Group to map out what actions need to be taken, identify any gaps and highlight areas that are working well.

CP provided an update on the work being developed with Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) on digital constructions for SMEs. There will be strong links to the Digital Transformation work stream and SFT are keen to work with the SG on this. There is recognition that industry need to upskill on digital and an action plan was being developed that will focus on management, sustainability and project delivery. An infrastructure tech navigator is being developed through SFT with links to the Construction Quality Improvement Collaborative.

The Value of Consultancy project is continuing and there is a need for this to be recognised through the professional bodies as well as government. There are also links to the Compliance Plan Manager Role and CP undertook to speak to TD on this.

More generally, SFT are taking work forward in relation to MMC and an update will be provided to BSD before the end of the year.

Compliance plan approach

Progress update – paper 45 (04/10/2021)

TD provided a progress update on the Compliance Plan.

Providing background on compliance, the Board were advised that following the 2018 consultation, the Procedural Handbook was updated to strengthen the system, where possible, and to address a number of known areas of non-compliance. These included clarification on the roles and responsibilities of people involved in building projects including those verifying, inspecting and certifying work. The 2021 consultation now seeks to build on this and implement significant longer term goals to support improved assurance and reduce the risk of non-compliance through better evidence recording and management of the compliance process.

The 2021 consultation will run for 12 weeks and will seek views on the Compliance Plan Manger role, the definition of High Risk Buildings which will be required to follow a more robust compliance system and seek opinion on enforcement, fines and penalties.

The Board was advised that an external contractor has been appointed to undertake a cost benefit analysis to support the proposed changes and this work is due to be completed at the end of 2021. New guidance will be required on compliance and enforcement to support the changes.

The Board discussed the powers currently available to issue stop notices (S27 enforcement notices) to enforce compliance however these are rarely used. BSD are exploring other sanctions and penalties. It was noted that many CCNP’s are not achieved but completion certificates are still accepted.

The meeting discussed how compliance would be enforced and if there are any proposed changes to the enforcement process to enable this.

Further discussion was held on the extent of dialogue between BSD and relevant insurance bodies. The work stream will be engaging with three insurance bodies, namely British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA), Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland – Insurance Services (RIAS-IS). It was noted that Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) would need to be discussed with RIAS_IS in relation to the Compliance Plan Manger. GM asked to be kept informed of progress.

The proposals were discussed by the Board and a number of questions were asked. The proposed consultation and next stages were noted.

Work stream highlight report update – paper 46 (04/10/2021)

An update was provided on the following work streams:

Workforce strategy

The Board discussed work ongoing with an outward focus through the ambassadors network. The team are looking to take forward modern apprenticeship opportunities and currently have 22 candidates confirmed from August 2022. Work is ongoing to secure funding for this Programme through Skills Development Scotland and online learning is currently being developed.

The Board was advised that an update will be provided on a Hub model for education when available.

Verification standards

The National Customer Satisfaction survey was issued to customers of the building standards service on 4 October. Reports will be made available to verifiers by the end of the calendar year.

The Board was advised that the new survey tool will be developed to have real time data. An external contractor has been appointed to assist with taking this work forward. The intention is that the new survey will be launched in April 2022.

Certification strategy

The Certification team are in discussions with 6 new certification scheme providers. Research will also be commissioned to identify the value of certification and customer satisfaction. The output from both projects will be used to develop the strategy.

Digital transformation strategy

The work stream’s RAG status has progressed from ‘red’ to ‘amber’. The Board were advised that the work stream is now included in the Scottish Government’s 5 year Digital Planning Transformation Programme. Work is progressing well and a series of Management Workshops are being set up for November 2021 with local authority building standards managers and new staff to the profession.

Work is also progressing on remote verification inspection (RVI) with seven pilots sites and with LABSS through the Digital Transformation Group. Support from the Digital Transformation work stream will also be required across the work streams.

Technical strategy

Progress update – paper 47 and 48 (08/10/2021)

TL updated the Board on the progress of the Technical Strategy work stream. A Technical Authors Working Group was established in 2020 with the aim of updating and developing standard operating procedures and the use of research to inform policy development.

A Strategy has been prepared for the work stream detailing the work undertaken to develop technical guidance and recognising the stage 2 of the work will involve exploring how technical guidance will be delivered to users and stakeholders.

The Board agreed the Strategy.

SGa asked if the Board felt it would be useful for a document to be prepared which explains the process for updating guidance. The team undertook to consider this further.

Delivery model

Progress update – paper 49 (08/10/2021)

NM updated the Board on the progress of the Delivery Model work stream. It is recognised that the building standards system in Scotland isn’t broken but needed strengthening and reshaping. The introduction of a central hub of expertise for fire expertise was recommended by the Fire (Safety) Review Panel. The Delivery Model Working Group (DMWG) was set up to consider the options for a central hub. The Group have met twice and have tasked BSD to work with LABSS to develop their proposals which support a central hub model with regional strengthening.

The Board was advised that the Delivery Model Strategy was being finalised and will be presented to the next DMWG meeting for sign off before submission to the next Futures Board meeting.

Work is now ongoing with LABSS and other stakeholders to develop a Pilot Hub which will run for a period of 18 months. Hosting the Pilot Hub in a local authority has been identified as the preferred solution to allow access to IT systems, specifically the IDOX software. The LABSS’ constitution also does not allow the employment of staff therefore arrangements are being explored to how this can be achieved within a host LA.

The Pilot Hub will focus on improved administration and collation of services, some being currently under taken by LABSS as well as the provision of central expertise on fire. It will also explore the standardisation of workload sharing.

A number of LABSS/BSD liaison meetings have taking place. Meetings with COSLA, Improvement Service and Trading Standards have also been held. This has helped increase the understanding of how various elements of a Pilot Hub will need to be developed. The Board were advised that staff in Trading Standards Scotland are employed by COSLA but hosted in East Renfrewshire local authority. RN advised that COSLA have been receiving regular updates from BSD and a paper was taken to the relevant COSLA Board.

The Board were advised of the intention to seek support from SOLACE for the Pilot Hub by way of an update to the Chief Executives.

The Board were in agreement with the direction of progress for a Pilot Hub and agreed more engagement with LABSS was needed.


Date of 2022 meetings (TBC)

  • meeting 11 – February 2022
  • meeting 12 – June 2022
  • meeting 13 – October 2022

GN informed the Board about a forthcoming private members bill by Mark Garnier, Conservative MP for Wyre Forest, Domestic Building Works (Consumer Protection) Bill (licensing of contractors) being discussed at the Westminster Parliament in November. The FMB will keep this under review and GN undertook to report back to the Board.

Action points

  • BSD to issue a Doodle Poll for dates of the 2022 meetings
  • members of the Board to complete the Doodle Poll to indicate availability
  • consider the benefit of preparing a guide on how Technical Guidance is updated
  • inform GM of progress with insurance bodies in relation to a Compliance Plan Manager
  • GN to report progress of Domestic Building Works (consumer Protection) Bill (licensing of contractors) to Board
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