Building standards technical handbook 2022: non-domestic

Guidance on achieving the standards set in the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004. This handbook applies to a building warrant submitted on or after 1 June 2022 and to building work which does not require a warrant commenced from that date.

Annex 7.B Supplementary guidance in the aspect of biodiversity

New developments are not always required to undertake a formal ecological assessment as part of a planning application as the condition/state of the existing site is largely predetermined. However almost all sites will have the potential to enhance their ecological value in some form.

It is proposed that the verification of the biodiversity aspect be carried out in two stages. At building warrant application an appropriately qualified person visits the site and prepares an ecological report on the existing key biodiversity characteristics of the site including:

  • ecological overview of the site

  • baseline habitat

  • plant and animal species to note

  • surface water features.  

The purpose of the report is not to award the site with an ecological value, but to understand the baseline characteristics of the site and have recommendations that could be included and developed in a bespoke biodiversity strategy guide. The information should also inform the most appropriate locations for:

  • allotment

  • natural boundary

  • natural habitat or woodland area required to meet the biodiversity aspect.  

This report should then inform a bespoke biodiversity user guide specific for each school geared towards enhancing biodiversity and promoting ecology, recommendations may include:

  • maintenance and development of key areas

  • the planting of native species or those with a known attraction or benefit to local wildlife

  • the adoption of horticultural good practice (e.g. no, or low use of residual pesticides)

  • development of a maintenance plan including avoiding clearance/works at key times of the year (e.g. breeding seasons)

  • the proper integration, design and maintenance of SUDS and green roofs, where applicable etc.  

A good practice template for preparing a biodiversity guide for new schools and an example bespoke biodiversity guide can be found on the Scottish Government website at

At the completion stage the applicant should re-submit the bespoke biodiversity guide after review and updating of specified items as necessary.

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