Following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, the Scottish Government created a Ministerial Working Group to review building and fire safety regulatory frameworks. From this, two Expert Review Panels were created focussing on Compliance and Enforcement and Fire (Safety). They published their recommendations in two reports, which noted that while the core elements of the building safety system remained strong, other areas required reshaping to address weaknesses. One area of identified improvement was the building standards verification delivery model.
The Building Warrant Fees consultation has arisen from the work of the Building Standards Futures Programme Board. The Board was set up to provide guidance on recommendations made by the reports of the two expert panels. The remit for this consultation falls under the Verification Delivery Model work stream, one of the seven work streams directed by the Building Standards Futures Board. On the recommendation of the expert reports, this work stream will introduce a Building Standards Hub to support all 32 local authorities and the wider construction sector in Scotland. Fife Council is hosting a pilot Hub for two years to develop and test its role.
The broader suite of changes proposed to the verification delivery model will require more time and resources from local authority verifier staff. Therefore, there is a need to ensure sufficient funding is available for verifiers to prepare and undertake the additional work.
The consultation focuses on proposed changes to building warrant fees, not wider changes to the building standards system. The proposals in the consultation aim to:
- Increase the building warrant fee to ensure there is funding for building standards verifiers to support changes to strengthen the system.
- Put in place an annual uplift across all fees, initially for three years.
- Introduce a building warrant fees model that can be used flexibly in the future.
A public consultation on building warrant fees ran between 21 July and 24 October 2023. Containing 12 questions, the consultation aimed to gather a broad range of public and stakeholder views on each element of the suggested changes.
The Scottish Government will use the findings from the analysis to inform appropriate changes to the building warrant fees model and building standards verification delivery model.
In total, 95 consultation responses were received from 39 individuals and 56 organisations. Almost all were submitted via the online consultation platform, Citizen Space. Those received in an alternative format, for example, an email or PDF document, were uploaded to the Citizen Space by the Scottish Government for analysis.
Respondents were asked in the Respondent Information Form to classify their organisation from a pre-selected list of options. The analyst team reviewed these responses and agreed with the Scottish Government how respondents could be grouped for analysis purposes. The table below shows the number of each type of respondent and the percentage of the total sample each group represents.
Thirteen individuals classified themselves as designers/consultants. In the table below and the analysis presented in this report, these 13 individuals have been included in both the Individual and Designer/consultant categories.
|No. of responses
|% of total sample
|Designer / Consultant
|Contractor / Developer
|Membership body / association
The Lines Between was commissioned to provide a robust, independent analysis of the responses to the public consultation. The primary purpose of consultation analysis is to understand the full range of views expressed, not to quantify how many people held particular views. This report provides a thematic analysis of responses based on the analysis approach outlined below.
There were 12 closed consultation questions. Each table in this report shows the number and percentage of responses to each question at a total sample level and broken down by individual and organisation responses. Please note that figures in the tables may not add to 100% due to rounding.
Qualitative analysis identifies the key themes across responses to each question. The research team developed a draft coding framework based on a review of the consultation questions and a sample of responses. During the coding process, new codes were created if additional themes emerged.
Where appropriate, quotes from a range of participants are included to illustrate key points and provide useful examples, insights and contextual information.
Reflecting the large number of people who took part, it is not possible to detail every response in this report. Full responses to the consultation, where permission for publication was granted, can be found on the Scottish Government’s consultation website.
In addition to the questions in the consultation paper, a further question – Q6 – was included at the end of the Citizen Space survey for respondents to make any additional points. One quarter left a comment at this question. Some comments provided background information about the respondent or their work, but most reiterated issues already raised in the consultation questions. To avoid repetition, where a theme was evident again at Q6 we have noted this at the most relevant point in the report.
Weight of opinion
When reviewing the analysis in this report, we ask that the reader consider that public consultation of this kind means anyone can express their views; individuals and organisations interested in the topic are more likely to respond than those without a direct or known interest. This self-selection means the views of respondents do not necessarily represent the views of the entire population.
This report presents the themes identified in responses from most to least commonly identified. All themes, including views shared by small numbers of respondents, are covered; an insightful view expressed by a very small number of participants is not given less weight than more general comments shared by a majority.
Similarly, all responses have an equal weighting. We recognise this means a response from an individual has the same weight as a response from an organisation which may represent many members. This means there is no subjective interpretation of the relative weight or merit of one stakeholders’ response over another; however any patterns in views expressed, for example, by organisation type, are highlighted in the analysis.
Qualitative analysis of open-ended questions does not permit the quantification of results. However, to assist the reader in interpreting the findings, a framework is used to convey the most to least commonly identified themes in responses to each question:
- The most common / second most common theme; the most frequently identified.
- Many respondents; more than 20, another prevalent theme.
- Several respondents; 10-19, a recurring theme.
- Some respondents; 5-9, another theme.
- A few / a small number of respondents; <5, a less commonly mentioned theme.
- Two/one respondents; a singular comment or a view identified in two responses.
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