Building standards enforcement and sanctions: consultation analysis

Consultation analysis report on the strengthening of existing enforcement and sanctions provisions in the Building (Scotland) Act 2003.

9. Conclusions

Many individuals and organisations with detailed knowledge took part in the consultation, sharing their views on the proposals to strengthen the existing enforcement powers of local authorities and change the penalties for building standards offences. Reflecting on their experience and perspectives, this report provides a high-level summary of the consultation responses. For more detail, readers are encouraged to look to individual responses where permission was given for publication[3].

Overall, there was broad support for the proposals. Respondents typically agreed that the proposals provide a clearer, stronger deterrent that should help to improve compliance, enable more effective enforcement and ensure building safety. The proposals were also seen as offering greater flexibility to relevant parties and helping to align Scotland with other parts of the UK.

Nine in ten respondents agreed with the proposal to hold owners accountable for new/converted buildings which are occupied illegally (section 21), and between two thirds to over four fifths of respondents supported a new provision for the removal of work, a standalone stop notice, and the ability to take enforcement action after the acceptance of a completion certificate for High Risk Buildings (section 27).

Views were more mixed on introducing a time limit for local authorities to take action on all work subject to a building warrant and building regulations (section 27). While seven in ten agreed with the introduction of a time limit, just under half favoured the proposed 10-year limit. Other respondents either felt a 10-year limit was too long, or that there should be no end date to being able to take action on non-compliance.

Very high levels of support were noted for increasing the level of a fine to a maximum of £50,000 and the option to include a custodial sentence (section 48). However, many caveated their agreement by noting the need to ensure penalties are proportionate to the level or nature of non-compliance.

While perceived impacts of the proposals were generally limited, there was concern from many respondents, particularly local authorities, that the proposals could put additional pressure on the time and resources of local authorities and their verifier teams. Across the consultation, some organisations noted additional costs and risks which builders and developers could face. There were also calls for the Scottish Government to provide further guidance and clarification about how the provisions could be used in different scenarios, and to consider how the provisions would work alongside existing legislation.

The findings from this analysis will now be used by the Scottish Government to continue discussions with key stakeholders and to help finalise the proposals.



Back to top