Building standards technical handbook 2020: 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 March 2021 and to building work which does not require a warrant commenced from that date.

0.2 Citation, commencement and interpretation

Regulations 1 & 2

Regulation 1

These regulations may be cited as the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004 and shall come into force on 1 May 2005.

Regulation 2

Regulation 2 sets out the defined terms within the regulations. It is not reproduced in Section 0; instead the terms have been incorporated in the list of defined terms which form Appendix A.

0.2.1 Explanation of Regulation 1

Regulation 1 contains the citation and commencement of the building regulations. They apply to buildings and works as defined in the Building (Scotland) Act 2003, other than works exempted by regulation 3, schedule 1. The full text is:

The Act defines a building as any structure or erection, whether temporary or permanent. This is very wide, but there are exceptions in the The Act for:

  • any public road (including any bridge on which the road is carried)

  • any private road (bridges on private roads are not excluded in The Act)

  • any sewer or water main vested in Scottish Water

  • any aerodrome runway

  • any railway line

  • any large raised reservoir within the meaning of the Reservoirs Act 1975

  • any wires and cables, their supports above ground and other apparatus used for telephonic or telegraphic communications.

The term building is, subject to context, taken to include a prospective building, a part of a building and, for extensions, alterations and conversions, it can mean the extension alone or the part subject to alteration or conversion. Works in relation to a building is defined in The Act as including works carried out in relation to the enclosure and preparation of the site. Works therefore includes all construction, demolition and conversion work, the provision of services fittings and equipment, and any work carried out in relation to the site.

The Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004 apply to all buildings and works where an application for warrant is made on or after 1 May 2005. In the case of a Crown building, the regulations apply to all buildings and work where an application for warrant is made on or after 1 May 2009. However, full exemption from the building standards system is provided for defence and national security buildings in legislation under The Building (Scotland) Act 2003 (Exemptions for Defence and National Security) Order 2009, SI 2009 No.822 (S.6).

The Building (Scotland) Act 2003 (Commencement No.2 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2009 allows work to Crown buildings that has started prior to 1 May 2009 to continue with immunity from building regulations. In addition, work carried out pursuant to a contract entered into prior to 1 May 2009 will continue with immunity on the basis that work commenced before 1 November 2009. In both cases, work must be complete before 1 May 2012.

Buildings and works related to earlier warrant applications or exempt works commencing before 1 May 2005 are subject to previous building standards and procedures regulations, in particular the time by when these works must be completed. Previously exempt works, in particular any no longer exempt, must have been completed by 2 September 2005, otherwise the exemption falls and a warrant for any outstanding work may be required.

On completion of the works, before the period specified in the building warrant expires, a completion certificate must be submitted. If a completion certificate is submitted for work done without a warrant, the regulations that are applicable are those in force at the time of submission of the certificate, which may well be more onerous that those which would have applied when the work started. Fuller details of the arrangements for submitting warrant applications and completion certificates will be given in the guidance on the procedure regulations.

The building regulations also incorporate requirements previously set in separate Building Operations Regulations (regulations 13-15). These cover the provision of protective works, clearing of footpaths and securing of unoccupied buildings.

The following is a list of all amendments made to the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004, together with the date they came into force and a summary of the major changes.

The Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2006 (1 May 2007)

  • New regulation 17 - inserted to implement the terms of Article 9 of EPBD regarding the inspection of air conditioning systems.

  • Schedule 1 - changes to building types 1 and 20.

  • Schedule 3 - changes to building types 1,2,5,6 and 19.

  • Schedule 5 - minor changes to functional standards. New functional Standards 6.9 and 6.10.

The Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2007 (28 March 2007)

  • Replacement Schedule 2 for that contained in 2006 amendments.

  • Schedule 5 - minor changes to functional Standards 6.9 and 6.10.

The Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2008 (4 January 2009)

  • Minor changes to reflect requirements of energy performance certificates.

The Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2009 (1 May 2009)

  • Schedule 1 - change to paved areas or hardstanding exempt from regulations 8-13.

  • Schedule 3 - amended to include certain Crown buildings.

The Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2010 (1 October 2010)

  • Schedule 3 - rewording of building type 2A.

  • Schedule 5 - minor changes to several functional standards. Re-write of functional Standard 5.1 and new functional Standard 5.2.

The Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2011 (1 May 2011)

  • Definition of 'statement of sustainability'.

  • Schedule 3 - new work type for any work associated with affixing a statement of sustainability to a building.

  • Schedule 5 - introduction of Section 7 (Sustainability).

The Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2012 (9 January 2013)

  • Regulation 17 - change to require issue of inspection reports following an air conditioning system inspection.

  • Schedule 5 - change to limitation to functional Standard 6.9(c) requiring display of EPC in buildings with a floor area of more than 500 square meters which are frequently visited by the public.

Building (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 (1 October 2013)

  • Schedule 5 - change to limitations to functional Standards 2.15 and 3.25; new Standard 3.27 Water Efficiency introduced; change to Standard 7.1.

  • Schedule 6 - new Standard 3.27 introduced.

Explosives Regulations 2014 (1 October 2014)

  • Schedule 1 - change to exempt building type 1.

Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2014 (1 October 2015)

  • Schedule 5 - change to limitations to functional Standards 6.1 and 6.9.

Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2015 (9 July 2013 and 1 October 2015)

  • Schedule 5 - change to limitations to functional Standard 6.9 (9 July 2015).

  • Schedule 5 - change to limitations to functional Standard 6.3 (1 October 2015).

Building (Energy Performance of Buildings) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2016 (13 March 2016)

  • Regulation 17 - change to 17(1)(a).

  • Schedule 5 - change to Standard 6.1.

Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2016 (1 July 2016)

  • Schedule 5 - new Standard 4.14 In-building physical infrastructure for high-speed electronic communications networks introduced.

  • Schedule 6 - new Standard 4.14 introduced.

Building (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2017 (30 June 2017)

  • Schedule 3 – Type 23A exception text amended.

Building (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 (1 July 2017)

  • Regulation 9 - change to recognise new Type 23A in Schedule 3.

  • Schedule 3 - new type 23A introduced.

Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2019 (1 October 2019)

  • Schedule 5 – change to Standard 2.4.

Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020 (1 March 2021)

  • Changes to defined terms cited under regulation 2.
  • Schedule 5 – change to Standard 2.15.


0.2.2 Explanation of Regulation 2

Regulation 2 sets out the defined terms within the regulations. It is not reproduced in Section 0, instead the terms have been incorporated in the list of defined terms which form Appendix A. The Appendix also includes definitions from the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 and those used in these Technical Handbooks.

In the determination of the description of a building, any use which is ancillary to another use or which is of a minor nature should be disregarded and the building taken to be that of the principal description. Minor uses within the curtilage of a dwelling may also be disregarded, for example a single-room office for use by up to two people. Notwithstanding the above, parts of a building may be considered to be of a separate description where the context requires (for example a caretakers flat should be taken separately from any other part of the building in which it is located).

A dwelling may include any surgeries, consulting rooms, offices or other accommodation, of a floor area not exceeding in the aggregate 50 square metres, forming part of the dwelling and used by an occupant of the dwelling in a professional or business capacity. A dwelling may provide bed and breakfast facilities provided this does not exceed two double bedrooms and is not in use for more than half of the year.

Where further guidance on building types is needed to define the proposals for particular buildings, it is included in the relevant section.

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