Building standards: procedural handbook (third edition, version 1.6)

Clarifies procedures underpinning the Scottish building standards system as set out in the Building (Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 and the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 to help with practical operation.

This document is part of a collection

8 Building standards register

8.1 Maintenance of records

8.1.1. Section 24 of the Act requires local authorities to keep a Building Standards Register for the geographical area of the authority. It consists of two parts, Part I containing data with Part II containing documents. The information includes:

  • applications for warrant and amendments to warrants;
  • decisions on the applications;
  • submissions of completion certificates;
  • decisions on the submissions (acceptance or rejection);
  • particulars of energy performance certificates and any statement of sustainability (new buildings only);
  • particulars of notices; and
  • fire safety design summaries (new and converted non-domestic buildings only).

8.1.2. Part I should contain details of any certificates from approved certifiers of design or construction submitted with warrants and completion certificates, any conditions relating to grants of warrants, any enforcement notices when issued, altered or withdrawn and any continuing requirements imposed by warrant.

8.1.3. Part II of the register should contain:

  • copies of warrants and completion certificates, including certificates from approved certifiers of design and construction;
  • the principal drawings and specifications;
  • any other documents submitted to verifiers for registration in connection with particular projects;
  • any copies of energy performance certificates and any statement of sustainability; and 
  • any copies of fire safety design summaries (new and converted non-domestic buildings only).

Building standards assessments (if introduced) would not be recorded on the register but any notices resulting from an assessment visit would be recorded.

8.1.4. Further to the above requirements, there will also be a need for particulars and copies of any notices issued under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006. These include works notices issued under Section 30, demolition notices served under Section 33, Houses in Multiple Occupation amenity notices (insofar as they relate to buildings) served under Section 146 and decisions to approve, devise, vary or revoke maintenance plans under Part 1 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006.

8.1.5. Part I of the register is electronic, must be available on a website and be kept permanently. The documents in Part II are to be kept for 25 years normally but subject to the following guidance. Details of complex buildings should be kept, ideally until the building is demolished but at least for 50 years. The description ‘complex’ is intended to cover both occupancy and construction method.

Thus records of large buildings with many different occupants, such as shopping malls or large blocks of flats; or buildings with unusual structures such as pre-stressed concrete structures or suspended roofs, should be kept beyond the 25 year cut-off. The local authority archivist and the building standards manager should agree which records are to be disposed of after 25 years, 50 years or at a later date as agreed. Apart from keeping details of the more important or unusual buildings, local authorities should consider the benefits of keeping certain records for longer periods.

For example, records of drainage layouts, records of contaminated land treatments or records of sites requiring special foundations. Local authorities should develop record keeping to match local circumstances and where changes in local authority boundary occur it is important that relevant information is not lost; authorities should co-operate to transfer the relevant records. The procedure regulations also require registers kept under previous legislation to be retained, although they will contain less detailed information.

8.1.6. To permit useful and accurate searching of the records, it is important to describe the work in a consistent and explicit way. The local authority, when recording applications for the register, should take care to include relevant key words and key descriptors, including the registration numbers of approved certifiers and bodies.

8.1.7. The general information to be contained on the building standards register is set out in the procedure regulations. However, for the web-based Part I of the register, the level of information needs to be consistent and allow local authorities to include additional details as they feel applicable.

At the end of this chapter there are three tables expanding what should be on Part I with data fields for building warrants, completion certificates, notices and other matters such as energy performance certificates, together with an explanation of the data fields.

8.1.8. Local authorities, when publishing or allowing access to information, should ensure that their actions conform to the statutory requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 and Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. Also, any advice from the Information Commissioner’s office should be considered. However, in all cases local authorities should refer to their own legal advisers where clarification is required under the Freedom of Information Act, the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 or other legislation, particularly concerning personal details.

8.2 Inspection of records

8.2.1. The building standards register must be kept open for public inspection at all reasonable times. The procedure regulations expand on this requirement by specifying that the basic information and decisions on Part I must be kept in electronic format, accessible online. The drawings, specifications, certificates and other information used to determine the application, such as soil tests, form Part II of the register and must be available for inspection during normal office hours.

8.2.2. Copying of drawings and detailed information in Part II of the register is, however, subject to certain restrictions. For residential buildings (including individual dwellings), copying is limited to anyone with an interest in the building, such as the current (or prospective) owner, occupier or tenant, known as an ‘interested party’. Copying is also extended to an ‘interested party’ of an adjoining building. For other types of building where there is a security concern copying should only be permitted with the written permission of the owner.

8.2.3. Where copying of documents under the terms of the regulations is permitted, copies of documents should be made available on request but at a charge that recovers the local authority’s costs. The copy drawings must be clearly stamped indicating that copyright restrictions must be observed.

8.2.4. The local authority may remove documents from Part II of the register if it believes that there are security concerns over the disclosure or copying of such documents. A decision to remove documents from the register would normally be preceded by discussions with the applicant after a security concern had been raised.

8.2.5. Where changes of local authority boundary occur, authorities should co-operate to transfer the relevant records, drawings and information to enable continued access to the information recorded in the register.

Table 2: Building Standards Register

(i) Building Warrant (ii) Completion Certificate (iii) Notices
Field Name Field Name Field Name
BW Reference Number CC Reference Number Notices Reference No
Verifier Verifier Earlier File Reference
Earlier File Reference Earlier File Reference Legislation
Date Received Date Received Notice Date
Date Valid Date Valid Notice Effect
Decision Decision Revocation Date
Decision Date Decision Date Status
Expiry Date Expiry Date Relevant Person
Status - Owner
Applicant Relevant Person Related Completion Certificate Ref
Agent Agent Building/Property Address
Owner Owner Description
Responsible Surveyor Responsible Surveyor Building Regulation Provision
Building/Property Address Building/Property Address Relaxation Reference No
Proposed Use of Building Proposed Use of Building Direction Reference No
BW Type - -
Description Description -
Relaxation Reference Number Relaxation Reference Number -
Certificate of Design Number Certificate of Construction Number -
Design Scheme Construction Scheme -

Table 3: Building Standards Register – continued

(iv) Other Matters (v) Energy Performance Certificates (vi) Statements of Sustainability
Field Name Field Name Field Name
Relevant Reference No - -
Earlier File Reference Earlier File Reference Earlier File Reference
- - -
Verifier - -
Related Completion Certificate Ref - -
Field Name Field Name Field Name
Date Received EPC date Statement date
Decision Date CO2 emissions Level of sustainability
Date of Variation CO2 A – G Rating -
- - -
Building/Property Address Building/Property Address Building/Property Address
Current Use of Building - -
Building Regulation Provision - -
Expiry date - -
- - -

Table 4: Building Standards Register Part I – explanation of data fields (see 8.1.7)

Verifier Person(s) appointed under S.7 Building (Scotland) Act 2003 with a principal role to provide an independent check of building warrants
Relevant Person As described in S.17(10), completion certificates, of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003
Applicant Person(s) submitting (or on whose behalf is submitted) an application
Agent Person(s) acting on behalf of others
Owner Legal owner of property/building
Responsible surveyor Surveyor dealing with building warrant, completion certificate
File Reference Unique reference given to each Application, Submission or Notice by the Verifier or Local Authority e.g. 06/00055/BW
Earlier Related File Reference No Cross reference to the previous related file reference allocated by Verifier e.g. notice, building warrant, completion certificate
Related Completion Certificate Reference Cross reference to Completion Certificate Reference(s) allocated by Verifier or Local Authority
Building/Property Address Address of property that is subject of application, or notice/action relates to
Current Use of Building Description of current main use e.g. Shop Unit
Proposed Use of Building Description of proposed main use e.g. Dwelling
Building Warrant type Various: Demolition/Construction/Services/Conversion/Limited Life/Staged
Description Concise description of proposed works, required operations or other
Building Regulation Provision Provision of regulations being relaxed under S.3 B(S)A 2003 or relevant to continuing requirements: S.2 & 22 B(S)A 2003
Security Matters Yes/No identifier
Date Received Date item/application received for processing
Date Valid Date Application procedurally accepted
RLX Ref No Reference identifier forming part of Relaxation as issued by Scottish Ministers B(S)A 2003 Section 3
Certificates of Design Ref No: Unique number allocated to each valid certificate of design by the Scheme Provider or, in the case of directly appointed certifiers, the Approved Certifier
Design Schemes Approved design certification scheme e.g. Building Structures
Certificates of Construction Ref No: Unique number allocated to each valid certificate of construction
Construction Schemes Approved construction certification scheme e.g. Electrical Installations to BS 7671
Decision Type of decision - approval/refusal/withdrawn etc.
Decision Date Actual date of Verifier's approval or refusal etc. of application
Date of Variation Date variation made
Date of Discharge Date Continuing Requirement(s) discharged
Legislation Legislation relating to notice
Notice Date Date notice/item or action issued to applicant/owner etc.
Expiry Date Date item expires as determined
Revocation date Date notice/action revoked as defined in Sections 32 & 148 of Housing (Scotland) Act 2006
Status Reflection of an application/item standing or progression or outcome
EPC date Date of issue of the Energy Performance Certificate
CO2 emissions Approx. CO2 emissions in kg/m2 of floor area at the date of certificate
CO2 A – G Rating Graphical indication of CO2 emissions over 7 bands labelled A - G
Level of Sustainability Level of sustainability under Section 7



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