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.

3.25 Solid waste storage

Mandatory Standard

Standard 3.25

Every building must be designed and constructed in such a way that accommodation for solid waste storage is provided which:

  1. permits access for storage and for the removal of its contents

  2. does not threaten the health of people in and around the building, and

  3. does not contaminate any water supply, ground water or surface water.


This standard applies only to a flat or maisonette.

3.25.0 Introduction

Scotland produces large quantities of waste – almost 17 million tonnes in 2010. This comes from a range of sources with household waste accounting for 2.8 million tonnes. The revised EU Waste Framework Directive establishes the legislative framework for handling of waste in the European Union. The Directive lays down that Member States must have a National Waste Management Plan, or Plans.  

In June 2010 the Scottish Government launched its Zero Waste Plan which set out actions to deliver important changes to how Scotland treats and manages waste. The plan includes a 70% recycling rate for household and all other waste streams by 2025. The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 provide statutory measures to support delivery of the zero waste agenda by requiring, amongst other aspects, separate collection and treatment of waste.  

The Environmental Protection Act, 1990 gives powers to the waste collection authority to stipulate the type and number of containers to be used. The Act also empowers the waste collection authority to designate a collection point for removal of the waste and this is normally at the curtilage of the dwelling. Under the Zero Waste Plan local authorities are required to provide householders with separate collection services for dry recyclables (glass, metals, plastics, paper and card) by the end of 2013 and for food waste by the end of 2015.

Currently local authorities meet their obligations in different ways and designers need to be aware of these local initiatives and make suitable provision in their designs.  

Flats and maisonettes generally have communal storage with the associated risks to health and the environment.

Conversions - in the case of conversions, as specified in regulation 4, the building as converted shall meet the requirement of this standard (regulation 12, schedule 6).

3.25.1 Solid waste storage point

Every flat and maisonette should be provided with a solid, washable hard-standing large enough to accommodate a waste container (or containers) such as a wheeled bin or some other container as specified by the waste collection authority. The hard-standing and access to the contents of the container should be readily accessible to allow removal.

3.25.2 Enclosed storage

Where enclosures, compounds or storage rooms are provided they should allow space for filling and emptying and provide a clear space of at least 150mm between and around the containers. Communal enclosures with a roof that are also accessible to people should be at least 2m high while individual enclosures of wheeled bins only need to be high enough to allow the lid to open.

3.25.3 Solid waste collection point

The hard-standing may be a collection point designated by the waste collection authority where the container can be removed or emptied. If the hard-standing is not the collection point then there should be an accessible route along which the container can be transported to the collection point. Over a short distance in an urban area it would be reasonable to use the access to the flat or maisonette. Over longer distances in the country, the container could be dropped off at the collection point using a vehicle as is normal for farms.

3.25.4 Provision for washing down

Where communal solid waste storage is located within a building, such as where a refuse chute is utilised, the storage area should have provision for washing down and draining the floor into a wastewater drainage system. Gullies should incorporate a trap that maintains a seal even during periods of disuse. Walls and floors should be of an impervious surface that can be washed down easily and hygienically. The enclosures should be permanent ventilated at the top and bottom of the wall.

3.25.5 Security against vermin

Any enclosure for the storage of waste should be so designed as to prevent access by vermin unless the waste is to be stored in secure containers with close fitting lids, such as wheeled bins. The enclosure should not permit a sphere of 15mm diameter to pass through at any point.

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