Publication - Advice and guidance

Building standards technical handbook 2019: non-domestic

The building standards technical handbooks provide guidance on achieving the standards set in the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004. This handbook applies 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.

Building standards technical handbook 2019: non-domestic
1. Structure

1.0 Introduction

1.0.1 Background

The structure of a building is fundamental to ensuring the safety of people in or around new and existing buildings and can be affected by a number of factors inside and outside the building including environmental factors. These factors should be considered to prevent the collapse, excessive deformation or the disproportionate collapse of buildings.

The climatic conditions in Scotland including temperature, snow, wind, driving rain and flooding and the impact of climate change should be carefully considered in the assessment of loadings (actions) and in the structural design of buildings.

The Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) is an independent body supported by the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers and the Health and Safety Executive to maintain a continuing review of building and civil engineering matters affecting the safety of structures. The prime function of SCOSS is to identify in advance those trends and developments that might contribute to an increasing risk to structural safety. The collation and dissemination of information relating to matters of structural concern is a vital element of achieving safe structures. SCOSS has established a UK wide confidential reporting system (CROSS) to gather data on structural problems.

Appraisal of existing buildings - conversions to existing buildings present particular problems and an appraisal of the existing structure for its new occupation or use should be undertaken to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to meet the requirements of regulation 12. Guidance on how a structural appraisal may be undertaken is given in 'Appraisal of Existing Structures', 1996 published by the Institution of Structural Engineers.

Procurement - the contractual arrangements used by clients to procure a building can have important consequences for the reliability of the design and the adequacy of the construction. Frequently, building design procurement will involve the appointment of a number of designers who may be employed by more than one organisation. Detailed design of individual structural details and components can be passed to specialist contractors. In these circumstances the client should appoint a lead designer or other appropriately experienced and qualified person to oversee the design process.

1.0.2 Aims

The intention of this section is to ensure that the structure of a building shall be designed and executed in such a way that, during its intended life, it will not pose a threat to the safety of people in and around the building with an appropriate degree of reliability. To achieve a structure with adequate structural resistance, serviceability and durability the following should be taken into account:

  1. the loadings (actions) on the building

  2. nature of the ground

  3. collapse or deformations

  4. stability of the building and other buildings

  5. climatic conditions

  6. materials

  7. structural analysis, and

  8. details of construction.

The actions on the building will comprise a set of loads applied directly to the structure that will include dynamic, concentrated and peak load effects, together with a set of imposed deformations caused for example by temperature changes or uneven settlement.

1.0.3 Latest changes

The following is a summary of the changes made to this section since 1 May 2009.

1.0.1 reference to SCOSS updated

1.0.1 reference to procurement added

1.0.2 aims re-written to reflect Structural Eurocodes

1.0.4 guidance on relevant legislation added for CDM regulations

1.0.6 guidance on alternative approaches added including the use of withdrawn British Standards

1.0.8 clause on certification introduced

1.1.1 reference to guidance on fixings and stone masonry added

1.1.2 reference to Structural Eurocodes added for loadings

1.1.3 reference to Structural Eurocodes added for design and construction

1.1.4 reference to BS EN 1997-2:2007 added for geotechnical investigation of the site

1.1.5 reference to BS EN 1997-1:2004 added for design of foundations adjacent to existing buildings, and

1.2.1 guidance in relation to disproportionate collapse updated to align with Structural Eurocodes

1.A. Annex A - list of structural Eurocodes and corresponding British Standards to be withdrawn added.

Minor alterations and corrections have also been made. A full list of changes to this edition of the Technical Handbooks is available on the Building Standards website.

1.0.4 Relevant legislation

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 are intended to protect people working in construction and others who may be affected by their activities. The regulations require the systematic management of projects from concept to completion and throughout the life cycle of the structure, including eventual demolition. Clients have a duty to ensure that competent people are employed to do the work, that sufficient time is allocated for the work to be undertaken and that the various members of the design and construction teams co-operate and exchange information.

Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975, Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987 - in the case of sports grounds, reference should be made to the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (fifth edition 2008). The guide has no statutory force but many of its recommendations will be given force of law at individual grounds by their inclusion in safety certificates issued under either of the Acts referenced.

Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (fifth edition 2008) - Chapter 4 and 14 of the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (fifth edition 2008) provides guidance on permanent and temporary structures at sports grounds and makes recommendations for designers to follow including minimising the risk of disproportionate collapse and designing stadia on the basis of risk assessments having regard to the likely hazards, for example, if the stadium is intended to be used as a venue for pop concerts.

Dynamic performance and testing of grandstands - in addition to normal static loads permanent grandstand structures must be designed to withstand the dynamic load arising from crowd action. Advice on the management and design of grandstand structures has been published by the Institution of Structural Engineers; “Dynamic Performance Requirements for permanent grandstands subject to crowd action December 2008”. This report recommends that the design team appointed for the design of a new grandstand or significant alteration to an existing grandstand should include an engineer who has the necessary knowledge and experience to oversee those aspects of the design concerned with dynamic crowd behaviour. The Institution of Structural Engineers maintains a list of suitably experienced engineers which can be found on the Institute’s website.

1.0.5 Alternative approaches

Where alternative approaches to the structural design are proposed other than using the guidance contained in this section, the structural design should take account of all of the factors identified in clause 1.0.2 above. For example, care should be taken where alternative numerical values are placed on factors of safety as this may have a detrimental effect on the overall stability of the structure.

The British Standards Institution (BSI) agreement with the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) obliges it to withdraw UK national standards after a harmonised European Standard with the same scope and field of application has been produced. Withdrawal of a standard implies that while documents will still be available there will be no support or five-year review by a BSI committee to consider the currency of the standard and to decide whether it should be confirmed, revised or withdrawn. BSI, in line with this commitment, will be 31 March 2010 replace the British Standards relating to loading and structural design with the European Standards and associated National Annexes listed in Sections 1.1.2 and 1.1.3 of this guidance.

Whilst other guidance documents or international standards, including withdrawn national standards might be used in alternative approaches to satisfy building regulations, designers, verifiers, or in the case of certified projects, the approved certifiers of design (building structures) will need to satisfy themselves that the use of such guidance is appropriate for a specific project. Care should be exercised, particularly with withdrawn standards, in relation to wind and snow loadings (actions) where the effects of climate change may render these unsafe.

Where alternative approaches use design methods or codes other than those listed in this guidance then these must be used within the context of the assumptions set out in Section 1.1.3. Designs must be checked in order to deliver similar levels of design reliability.

Agricultural buildings - BS 5502: Part 22: 2003 provides an alternative approach to the design of buildings to be constructed solely for the purposes of agriculture. Designers using this approach must be satisfied that the reduced loads permitted by this standard are appropriate for the location of the building and for the intended use.

1.0.6 Temporary demountable structures

Temporary demountable structures are usually made from lightweight components and are used for a wide variety of functions at public and private events. They include grandstands, tents and marquees that can accommodate large numbers of people, and stages and supports for performers. A collapse of such a structure can have serious consequences. These structures are usually in place for a short time, generally no more than 28 days, and may not be covered by the requirements of regulations 8 to 12. The erection and use of many types of temporary structure will be controlled by the local authority.

Section 89 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 requires that no person shall use or permit the use of a raised structure for seating or standing accommodation unless such use has been approved by the local authority. Certain raised structures are exempt from this including any structure that has been granted a building warrant.

The Institution of Structural Engineers has published guidance on the ‘Procurement, design and use of Temporary demountable structures’ (second edition 1999) such as grandstands, marquees and stage structures. Towers and masts to support media facilities are also included. The guidance is intended to assist event organisers, venue owners, local authorities, contractors and suppliers of demountable structures and for competent persons who are responsible for their design.

1.0.7 Annex

A list of structural Eurocodes and corresponding British Standards to be withdrawn is contained in Annex 1A.

1.0.8 Certification

Scottish Ministers can, under Section 7 of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003, approve schemes for the certification of design or construction for compliance with the mandatory functional standards. Such schemes are approved on the basis that the procedures adopted by the scheme will take account of the need to co-ordinate the work of various designers and specialist contractors. Individuals approved to provide certification services under the scheme are assessed to ensure that they have the qualifications, skills and experience required to certify compliance for the work covered by the scope of the scheme. Checking procedures adopted by Approved Certifiers will deliver design or installation reliability in accordance with legislation.

The Certification of Design (Building Structures) scheme has been approved by Scottish Ministers to confirm compliance with Standards 1.1 and 1.2. Details are available on the Building Standards Division website http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/Building/Building-standards.