Building standards - building warrant fees: consultation

We are seeking views on proposed changes to the building warrant fees required to strengthen the building standards system in Scotland.

Why We Are Consulting

Following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower, London in June 2017 a Ministerial Working Group (MWG) was set up to oversee a review of building and fire safety through the creation of two expert Review Panels. One panel considered Fire Safety and the other focussed on Compliance and Enforcement. Technical requirements and processes to meet building regulations are also becoming increasingly complex reflecting the evolving technological solutions. For example, Passivhaus Equivalent Standards will be introduced next year and the verification of their design and construction will require additional resources.

The Review Panel on Compliance and Enforcement in Scotland concluded that the Scottish system is not broken but that evidence clearly shows that there was a need to strengthen the system. The Review Panel concluded that, whilst simultaneously maintaining the core elements of the system, some reshaping would be advised to ensure that it addresses the identified weaknesses. The focus of this reshaping is to improve aspects of the current system and its implementation, not to fundamentally change it. Both Review Panels identified the potential for a 'national or central hub' that would provide expertise in specialist and safety critical areas of the design of complex buildings.

The Building Standards Futures Board was set up at the beginning of 2019 to provide guidance and direction on the development and implementation of the recommendations made by the Review Panels and seven work streams were established to undertake this work, as follows:

  • Workforce Strategy
  • Compliance Plan Approach
  • Certification Strategy
  • Technical Strategy
  • Digital Transformation
  • Verification Standards
  • Verification Delivery Model

A number of changes to the building standards system in Scotland are being developed and shaped through the work of the Building Standards Futures Board work streams. The Compliance Plan Approach is in the process of developing a strengthened compliance approach for all building warrant applications in Scotland. The introduction of the new Compliance Plan Manager role, pre application assessments and a Building Warrant Compliance Plan will be required on all High Risk Buildings (HRBs) in the first instance and proportionate enhanced compliance processes for all other building warrant projects.

The Verification Delivery Model work stream will introduce a Building Standards Hub to support all 32 local authority verifiers and the wider construction sector. A pilot hub has been set up for a 2 year period to develop and test its role. The pilot is being hosted by Fife Council, in collaboration with Scottish Government and Local Authority Building Standards Scotland (LABSS).

The Digital Transformation work stream is supporting the Scottish Government Digital Planning Programme including the reprovision of the online applications service, eDevelopment, which includes the eBuilding Standards Portal, with a data driven and expanded service. The work stream is also investigating the digital transformation of the building standards system in Scotland with development programmes on digital compliance methods and the future use of BIM and Automated Rule Checking. Working with local authority verifiers and industry, the workstream aims to deliver a consensual and effective transformation.

This consultation seeks to obtain views on an increase in building warrant fees which will be required to support verifiers to deliver a strengthened and improved building standards service in Scotland. It also seeks views on increased fees specifically for new and enhanced verification requirements for High Risk Buildings, to support the Building Standards Hub, enhanced Scottish Government Building Standards Division (BSD) monitoring and auditing and if the local authority Building Standards enforcement role should be funded by building warrant fees.

We are also seeking views on whether or not fees should be devolved or set nationally to gather a better understanding to inform future policy considerations.



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