Exploring the potential for a certification scheme for fire stopping: report

Research to take forward the proposal from the final report from the Review Panel on Building Standards Compliance and Enforcement and identify if there is a demand for a certification scheme for fire-stopping within the current Scottish building warrant process.

This document is part of 2 collections

Appendix 3 – Certification schemes

Benefits of using Approved Certifiers or membership of a Certification scheme

The Certification Handbook (2012) states the following benefits to applicants of using certification services, provided the right notification and certificates have been submitted at the correct time throughout the process:

Benefits of a Certificate of Design

  • a discount in warrant fee(s) except in the case of an amendment to warrant when the estimated value of the additional work does not exceed £5000, and

a reduction in the length of time required to process the building warrant;

BRE[36] list the benefits as the following:

  • Use of an Approved Certifier demonstrates and helps develop respect and trust between clients and building professionals.
  • Use of an Approved Certifier provides greater flexibility and more efficient design or installation due to their expert knowledge of new technology or the application of new regulations (e.g. Eurocodes, micro-renewables and energy standards).
  • Higher standard of work will help reduce the volume and cost of defective or incomplete work issues associated with warrantable work.
  • An Approved Certifier’s comprehensive knowledge reduces the risk of errors or omissions happening in the design or construction.
  • Scheme members are able to differentiate themselves from competitors and gain a commercial advantage over other firms.
  • Use of an Approved Certifier offers a higher level of protection to customers through the indemnity insurance cover held by Approved Bodies.

Similarly, the benefits of a Certificate of Construction are described as:

  • a discount on the warrant fee, and
  • a reduction in the length of time required to accept a completion certificate.

Use of an Approved Certifier offers many other benefits for the construction industry and building owners.

SELECT – the trade association for the electrical contracting industry in Scotland - state that membership of a certification scheme can bring with it many benefits for tradespeople. Some of these benefits are shown below:

  • Quicker acceptance of completion certificates by local authorities. Certified installations are not inspected at completion.
  • A discount on the building warrant application fee is given if the local authority is notified of the intended use of an Approved Certifier of Construction and a Certificate of Construction is submitted with the completion certificate.
  • Approved Certifiers are able to provide a quality service and ensure compliance of work with building regulations.
  • Approved Bodies hold adequate insurance cover for any project to be certified.
  • Members of a certification scheme have their work audited by the scheme provider.
  • Construction professionals and tradespeople must have met high levels of qualifications and experience necessary to be accepted into certification schemes.
  • The skills and experience of construction professionals and tradespeople are recognised.

Certification of Design (Building Structures)

This scheme is administered by Structural Engineers Registration Ltd (SER) who were appointed by the Scottish Government Building Standards Division. The scheme was a result of a joint initiative by The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) and The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). It was driven by the introduction of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003. The Act encourages the use of Approved Certifiers to certify the structural design of buildings in Scotland, and for the certificate to be included with the building warrant application.

A certificate of design will cover the design of a building, part of a building, services or fittings or equipment certifying compliance against:

  • specified building standards in schedule 5 of the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004; or
  • all the standards within one of the seven sections of the Technical Handbooks and in both cases.

The Certification of Design (Building Structures) Scheme related to the design of building structures to building standard 1.1 (Structure) and standard (1.2 (Disproportionate Collapse).

Those who hold Approved Certifier status are responsible for making sure that each specified aspect of design of the works is in accordance with the scope of the relevant scheme. The work they carry out must be compliant but also must not compromise the compliance of other work carried out.

The SER website details how to join the scheme and signposts the Scottish Building Standards Division Certification Register which lists certifiers.[37]

Approved Certifiers of Design (ACD) Schemes – energy for domestic (housing) and non-domestic (commercial) buildings in Scotland

The schemes are administered by BRE[38] and the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS). They allow members to assure compliance with the Mandatory Functional Standards of the Building (Scotland) Regulations, Section 6 Energy.

Certificate of Construction (Electrical Installations to BS7671)

This scheme is administered by the Electrical Contractors’ Association of Scotland (SELECT) and Certsure (NICEIC). Together they provide a route through which individuals can become approved certifiers as well as allowing enterprises to register with the scheme and become approved bodies.

SELECT and NICEIC ensure that Approved Certifiers hold the necessary qualifications and experience to certify that electrical installation work in Scotland is compliant with the Building Regulation requirements.[39]

Approved Certifiers of Construction Scheme – drainage, heating, plumbing

This Scheme is administered by The Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation (SNIPEF). Like SELECT and NICEIC, the Federation provides a route through which individuals can become approved certifiers and through which enterprises can become approved bodies.

Like SELECT and NICEIC, they also ensure that Approved Certifiers hold the necessary qualifications and experience to certify that drainage, heating and plumbing work in Scotland is compliant with the Building Regulation requirements.[40]


Email: buildingstandards@gov.scot

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