The New Build Heat Standard (NBHS) will affect the type of heating system that new-build homes and properties will be allowed to use.
What is changing
From April 2024, changes to building regulations will mean new homes and buildings will not be allowed to use direct emission (or polluting) heating systems like oil and gas boilers, and bioenergy.
Instead, they will need to use climate-friendly alternatives like heat pumps and heat networks (also referred to as clean heating systems). Heat networks can be used regardless of their fuel source, including ones using direct emissions heat.
We are developing separate proposals for heating existing buildings. These are not yet law.
Where the NBHS applies
The NBHS applies to all new buildings and some conversions where a building warrant is applied for from 1 April 2024.
The Standard only applies to systems used for heating and cooling and does not apply to industrial process heat.
Conversions to existing buildings
A conversion is a particular change in occupation or use of a building, for example changing an office to a hotel or an attic into a bedroom. Building regulations define and treat conversions differently to alterations and extensions.
If you are converting an existing building, the NBHS will apply if:
- you have a direct emissions heating system in the building or area of the building you are converting, and
- it is ‘reasonably practicable’ to install a clean heating system – guidance on what is considered 'reasonably practicable' is provided in support of the new standard 6.11 within Section 6 (energy) of the 2024 Technical Handbooks.
Exceptions to the NBHS
The NBHS does not apply :
- if you are altering or extending a building built under a warrant applied for before 1 April 2024
- to an emergency heating system
- to heating provided solely for the purpose of frost protection
For more detail see the Building Standards Technical Handbooks. These provide further detail on what is considered emergency back-up use.
Building warrants applied for before April 2024
The NBHS will apply to building warrants applied for from 1 April 2024. A building warrant is legal permission to start building work or convert a property, and lasts for 3 years. A building warrant can be extended for an initial period of 9 months. Further extensions are at the discretion of the building standards officer.This means not all new buildings completed after 1 April 2024 will meet the NBHS due to developments being at different stages in the building process.
New developments applying for a building warrant before 1 April 2024 may continue to install direct emission heating systems for as long as the issued building warrant remains valid.
Why the NBHS is being introduced
Heating Scotland’s homes and buildings is one of the biggest contributors to our carbon emissions.
The NBHS will help ensure new buildings will not contribute to emissions. People who buy new homes will know its future-proofed against the need to switch heating systems in the future.
NBHS is part of our wider Heat in Buildings Strategy.
How we developed our proposals
We consulted on our proposals for the New Build Heat Standard in 2021 and again in 2022. We also carried out a series of impact assessments.
You can read the Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2023 and an accompanying policy note at the legislation.gov.uk website.
Find out more about our work to transform the way we heat Scotland's buildings.
- First published
- 22 December 2023
- Last updated
- 12 January 2024
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