Building standards enforcement and sanctions: consultation outcome report

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

2. Background

The building standards system was established by the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 to ensure that all building works are safe, and that the system protects the public interest. Following the fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017, a Ministerial Working Group was set up to review building and fire safety regulatory frameworks. The Group commissioned two Expert Review Panels for building standards; recommendations by the Review Panel on Compliance and Enforcement concluded that, whilst the core elements of the current building standards system should be maintained, some reshaping of the system was necessary to ensure that it addressed identified weaknesses.

The Building Standards Futures Board was set up to provide guidance and direction on developing and implementing the recommendations. The Board’s remit is strategically advising and directing a broad programme of work to improve the performance, expertise, resilience and sustainability of the building standards framework and services across Scotland.

A 2018 consultation on Building Standards Compliance and Fire Safety confirmed strong support for increased fines for those not complying with building regulations. A subsequent Compliance and Enforcement consultation in 2021-2022 proposed ways to strengthen the building standards system for High Risk Buildings, including introducing a Compliance Plan approach and hiring a Compliance Plan Manager.

The Building Standards Enforcement and Sanctions consultation aimed to gather views about proposals to strengthen the existing enforcement powers of local authorities and change the penalties for building standards offences. The findings from this analysis of responses to the consultation will be used by the Scottish Government to finalise their proposals.

The consultation was open between 6 October 2023 and 22 January 2024. Of the 12 closed questions, 10 included an option to provide additional explanatory comments. The questions mostly centred on strengthening provisions in the Building (Scotland) Act 2003, with proposals to:

  • include owners in the offences for occupation without completion (section 21).
  • include removal of work, introduce a standalone stop notice, and clarify the scope of section 27 to take action after acceptance of a completion certificate for High Risk Buildings (HRBs) with a time limit for serving enforcement notices (section 27).
  • increase penalties for offences (section 48) that will also apply to offences by bodies corporate etc. (section 49).



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