Building standards: procedural handbook - third edition version 1.7

The procedural handbook provides clarification on the procedures underpinning the Scottish building standards system as set out in the Building (Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 and the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 to assist with practical operation.

14 Relationships with other authorities

14.1 General

14.1.1. At intervals of no more than seven days, each verifier submits (usually electronically) a list of warrant applications to the fire authority, planning authority, environmental health authority, highways authority, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Scottish Water and the council tax valuation assessor. The list contains the description of the work and is a way of sharing information and advising such bodies that building work in which they may have an interest may take place in the future. The bodies may then inspect any warrant applications they wish to see, at a time convenient to the verifier. Any observations or objections that these bodies might have are then given in writing to the applicant, copied to the verifier.

14.1.2. In addition to the above notifications, consultation in particular circumstances is either required or recommended – for details see the entries for the individual authorities below. The consultation is on the extent to which the proposal fulfils the requirements of the building standards in schedule 5 of the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004. For example, where the proposals for access for fire appliances deviate from the guidance in the Technical Handbooks, consultation with the fire authority will help verifiers decide whether the building standard is being met. The verifier may either consult themselves or they may direct the applicant to obtain the views of the relevant consultee. In either case a reasonable time period for receipt of comments should be specified.

Model form R should be used by either applicant or verifier when consulting. Verifiers take account of the opinions expressed by consultees but are not bound to follow them.

14.1.3. It is not expected that either of the above processes should delay the issue of a building warrant. Any requirements of these bodies outwith the scope of the building regulations cannot delay the issue of a warrant, as this must be granted if the requirements of the building regulations are met.

Note, however, that any requirements intimated to the applicant after warrant is granted, that impact on the work approved in the warrant drawings and cause redesign, will mean the applicant must seek an amendment to warrant. The applicant or agent should, therefore, consider the complexity or situation of the project and decide whether to seek advice from the bodies prior to making the application for building warrant (see also 3.6.8).

14.1.4. Where amendments to warrant (including staged warrants) are applied for, verifiers should consult in cases where they consulted on the initial warrant or where the solution does not now follow the Technical Handbooks.

14.1.5. Applicants that elect to propose novel solutions to achieving compliance with the building standards must accept that the verifier may need more time to assess compliance, particularly where consultations have to take place.

14.1.6. When the view of Scottish Ministers is sought appropriate consultations should already have taken place. If they have not the view may include a requirement to consult. Scottish Ministers will not consult before giving a view (see paragraphs at 4.2).

14.1.7. When considering a relaxation Scottish Ministers will take appropriate advice. Although it is intended that BSD will include within its staffing individuals with direct experience of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), relaxations with novel solutions will usually involve consultation with SFRS for the area concerned.

14.2 Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

14.2.1. Consultation with the SFRS is a requirement of the procedure regulations in the circumstances described in the following paragraphs. However, the consultation should not be confused with the SFRS’s acceptance or rejection of the fire risk assessment required by the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005.

14.2.2. At application for warrant, verifiers will consult on:

  • non-domestic residential buildings
  • non-domestic, non-residential buildings where the design does not follow section 2: Fire of the non-domestic Technical Handbook approved by Scottish Ministers
  • domestic buildings with a storey at a height over 18 metres
  • domestic buildings with a storey height over 7.5 metres but not over 18 metres where the design does not follow section 2: Fire of the domestic Technical Handbook approved by Scottish Ministers.

Consultation is also required where there is an application for amendment of warrant where there was consultation on the initial warrant, and where an amendment brings a building into the class of buildings listed above.

14.2.3. Where a completion certificate is submitted for a building where no warrant has been granted, the verifier should consult with the SFRS on those projects where consultation would have occurred if a warrant had been applied for. Once a completion certificate has been accepted this will be recorded in the building standards register held by the local authority.

14.2.4. Where permission is given to occupy a building before the completion certificate is accepted the verifier should inform the SFRS for buildings where the work concerned has been subject to consultation.

14.2.5. Where a verifier intends to impose continuing requirements on a completion certificate which relate to section 2, Fire in the Technical Handbooks then the verifier should consult the SFRS to:

  • ensure that any continuing requirement does not duplicate or conflict with any fire legislation; and
  • make the SFRS aware of the continuing requirement (if imposed).

14.3 Licensing boards of local authorities

14.3.1. Where the warrant application is for a type of building that will require a licence the applicant should be advised of the need to consult the relevant local authority department. These boards include liquor licensing, Houses in Multiple Occupation licensing, and entertainment licensing. A local authority building standards department will usually advise the licensing board on licensing applications, whether or not a building warrant is necessary or whether an warrant application has been decided or not.

14.3.2. Where a warrant application is for a type of building that will require a license and it appears that the board’s permission has not been sought, it is usual for the local authority building standards department to advise both the warrant applicant of the need for this and also to inform the appropriate board of this situation. Note however such dialogue will not delay granting of the building warrant.

14.4 Highways department

14.4.1. Where the warrant application includes an access to a public road, the applicant should be advised of the need to consult the relevant department of the local authority. Matters to obtain permission for include road openings, pavements, crossings, and any temporary occupation of roads during construction.

14.4.2. Consultation requests to the highways department are less common than some of the other consultations in this chapter. The main reason is that highways are usually asked for comments when planning permission is sought. Building warrant applicants are advised, however, to consult highways when roads, road openings, pavements, crossings, etc.. are to be constructed and also when any temporary occupation of roads/pavements is proposed during construction and/or demolition. Verifiers will specifically request consultation when work in accordance with the building regulations relies on the occupation or closure of a road to ensure the safety of the public.

14.5 Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

14.5.1. SEPA may require an authorisation under the terms of the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 for the following:

  • discharges of sewage effluent whether to ground via an infiltration system or to a watercourse
  • discharges of surface water run-off.

There are various levels of risk based authorisation required and reference to the SEPA document ‘A Practical Guide to The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations’ [revised guide] provides advice. They also have responsibility for regulating sites and activities, including demolition works, that affect the environment under the water, waste and pollution prevention and control regimes. Information about this process and their role is provided on SEPA’s website.

14.5.2. For information relating to regulations that apply to oil storage tanks serving a building refer to the SEPA website

14.5.3. SEPA’s general purpose, introduced by the Regulatory Reform Scotland Act 2014, is to protect and improve the environment and, except to the extent it would be inconsistent with that, to contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of the people in Scotland and to achieving sustainable economic growth.

14.6 Scottish Water

14.6.1. Prior to applying for building warrant, an applicant should consult with Scottish Water:

  • where a private drain discharges into a public sewer
  • where it is intended that a drain will be vested in Scottish Water
  • on the design and construction of disconnecting manholes and disconnecting chambers
  • and where it is intended to build over sewers.

14.6.2. A verifier will specifically ask for consultation where the requirements of Scottish Water may adversely impact on compliance with the building regulations, for example, a request for attenuation of surface water discharge to a sewer by diminishing the bore of drainage pipes in the direction of flow.

14.7 Planning authorities

14.7.1. Where a warrant application is for work of a type which may require planning permission, a verifier may enquire as to whether this permission has been obtained. Again, such an enquiry will not delay the granting of the warrant.

14.8 Police Scotland

14.8.1. Police Architectural Liaison Officers are available in some areas to give advice on the security aspects of a development. A verifier will specifically ask for consultation where the security requirements of the ‘Secure by Design’ initiative may adversely impact on compliance with the building regulations, for example, locking of external doors.

14.9 Historic Environment Scotland

14.9.1. Where a warrant application is for work on a building that is designated an historic building in terms of section 35 of the Act, the applicant is advised of the need to obtain any necessary permissions and if necessary consult Historic Environment Scotland. Note that the verifier may wish to check on the historic status of the building.

14.10 Access panels

14.10.1. For any application where there is public access to the building, the verifier may seek opinions from the local access panel on issues relating to access to and within buildings and the provision of facilities for disabled people, in particular if there are difficult issues associated with the conversion or alteration of an existing building.

14.11 Care Inspectorate

14.11.1. Where a warrant application is for a building which will require to be registered by Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (the Care Inspectorate), the applicant should consult the inspectorate.

14.12 Health and Safety Executive

14.12.1. The health, safety and welfare of construction workers and other people with access to construction sites is covered by laws enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) HSE is responsible for regulation of workplace health, safety and welfare in England, Scotland and Wales (GB). Northern Ireland is regulated by HSENI (HSE Northern Ireland). Everyone controlling work related to a construction project has health and safety responsibilities. Checking that working conditions are healthy and safe before work begins and ensuring that the proposed work is not going to put others at risk requires planning, management, monitoring and co-ordination. This applies whatever the size of the site. The construction section of the HSE website ( ) contains information on construction related health and safety matters.

14.12.2. It is important that you know your duties and responsibilities under health and safety law before commencing a project and if you are unsure of these you are advised to consult the HSE website or a suitable professional. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) place certain legal duties on virtually everyone involved in construction work. Information regarding CDM 2015 can be found on the following link The roles and responsibilities under CDM 2015 are completely separate from building standards legislation. The roles under each are illustrated in Table 5 for information purposes.

14.12.3. During work for domestic clients involving extensions, repairs and refurbishment work on private homes, the responsibility for site health and safety defaults to the main contractor, unless a domestic client agrees in writing that the client role can be taken on by designer or principal designer. In short duration projects involving small businesses, the business client has CDM duties which include the provision of pre-construction information, and appointing competent contractors. The site safety responsibilities remain with the contractor.

14.12.4. It is a requirement of CDM 2015 that all alteration, demolition and dismantling work should be carefully planned and carried out by people who have suitable skills, knowledge and experience to avoid unplanned structural collapse. The role of principal designer under CDM is to plan, manage and co- ordinate the pre-construction stage of the project, including providing support to the client. The law requires clients to provide designers and contractors with relevant information about a building’s structure, including stability and structural form and any significant design assumptions, suggested work methods and sequences. The designers and contractors must then use that information to plan, design and carry out the work safely. The construction section of the HSE website contains useful information and advice on safety issues related to demolition and dismantling, including those associated with asbestos removal.

14.12.5. It is important to remember that an approved building warrant does not confer any approvals, tacit or otherwise, under health and safety law.

Table 5. Comparison of Statutory Roles: CDM and Building Standards Legislation

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

Building (Scotland) Act 2003 and associated regulations/ guidance



Any person whom a project is carried out for.


Person applying for a building warrant, typically an owner, tenant, leaseholder or developer.


Legal owner of property/ building. Ultimately legally responsible for ensuring all work complies with the building regulations.

Relevant person

Owner, tenant or developer. Where the tenant or developer do not carry out their duties, the owner is then responsible.

Domestic client – duties under CDM are deemed to contractor/principal contractor whereas under the Act the owner

(typically this would be the domestic client) is deemed the relevant person and therefore legally responsible for ultimately ensuring compliance with the building regulations.

Domestic client

A client for whom a project is being carried out which is not in the course or furtherance of a business of that client. Domestic Client duties are ‘deemed’ to contractor or principal contractor.

Principal designer

The designer appointed under CDM Regs to perform specific duties.


Applicants nominated representative to act on their behalf.

Typically the designer would act as agent on behalf of the client/applicant/owner.


Any person who prepares or modifies a design or arranges for, or instructs any person to do so. In the course or furtherance of a business.

Principal contractor

The contractor appointed under CDM Regs to perform specific duties.


No comparable role specified in building standards legislation.


Person who carries out, manages or controls a construction project. In the course or furtherance of a business.


Person(s) appointed under the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 with a principal role to provide an independent check of building warrants. This is the local authority.

No comparable role in CDM.

14.13 Other permissions

14.13.1. Before commencing work it may be necessary to obtain other permissions not connected with the building warrant. For example, the waste collection authority may have special requirements for buildings like hospitals or consent from a landlord may be needed where the applicant does not own the building.

14.13.2. It is also important to remember that granting of a warrant does not depend on matters such as whether the applicant owns a property on which work is planned, or whether a mutual wall may be used for support, or whether foundations can be dug that may encroach on other property. Such matters are for applicants to agree through their own legal advisors.



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