Building standards enforcement handbook: first edition

The building standards enforcement handbook provides clarification on the enforcement powers for local authorities as set out in the Building (Scotland) Act 2003.

This document is part of a collection

1  Purpose of the Guidance

1.1 Introduction

The purpose of this handbook is to provide guidance for local authorities responsible for enforcement under the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 (the Act), as amended. To take enforcement action, there is also the secondary supporting legislation to consider, such as The Building (Forms) (Scotland) Regulations 2005, as amended (the Forms Regulations), and The Building (Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2004, as amended (the Procedure Regulations).

Information in this handbook provides further detail on enforcement powers available in the Act. It does not take precedence over the provisions in the legislation nor is it a substitute for advice from legal advisors.

This handbook is primarily for local authorities (LAs) who have responsibility for taking formal enforcement action. It may also be of interest to building owners who are undertaking construction work. However, the information around enforcement powers contained within the Procedural Handbook may be more helpful for some readers.

The guidance provides more detailed information than the Procedural Handbook[1] and aims to build knowledge and understanding of the procedures that a local authority may follow when taking action. This includes:

  • an explanation about the responsibility of LAs
  • information to support enforcement action
  • the different types of enforcement notices their purpose
  • how they are served and the action that may be required by each notice, and
  • factors to consider when building a case for court action.

Determining when enforcement action is necessary is the responsibility of the LA. However, it is important to bear in mind that enforcement action should be considered as a backstop only to be used when other resolution avenues have been exhausted or where there is a direct risk to public safety.

1.2 Background

The 2018 Review Panel on Building Standards Compliance and Enforcement identified a need to improve aspects of the building standards system. The provision of national guidance on enforcement was identified as key to more effective and consistent action across Scotland.

This guidance supports a nationally consistent approach to enforcement by LAs and local policies published on their websites.



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