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What we do

Building (Scotland) Act

The principal role of the Building Standards Service is set out in the Building (Scotland) Act and is the processing of Building Warrants for checking building design and construction. The Building (Scotland) Act also requires a Building Authority to ensure that a dangerous building is made safe.

Building warrants

This part outlines the important legal requirements associated with the Building Warrant process. A Building Warrant is the formal permission which is required before work starts.

The design and construction of buildings is controlled by ensuring Building Warrant Applications comply with Building Regulations for many classes and types of building, whether public or private and includes housing, commercial, industrial buildings, etc. A Building Warrant Application is required for the erection, conversion, alteration or extension of a building and is also necessary for the demolition of a property. It is valid for three years and construction work must not begin before the Building Warrant has been approved.

The Building Standards Service require to be notified when site works start, thereafter, inspections are made. Before a building or part of a building is brought into use a Completion Certificate for the work needs to be submitted and accepted by Building Standards. However, the issue of a Completion Certificate is no guarantee of workmanship and it is always worthwhile engaging professional advisers at all stages of construction.

Building regulations

The Building Regulations are minimum standards for the design and construction of buildings to safeguard, as far as possible, the health and safety of people in and around a property.

The Building Regulations are supported by Technical handbooks that provide practical guidance and cover many aspects of building design including structural stability, fire safety, prevention of dampness and condensation, sound insulation, ventilation, energy conservation, drainage, electrical safety, housing standards access, and toilet provision for the disabled.

The Building Regulations are constantly under review and changes are made to reflect new technology and users' needs e.g. higher thermal insulation to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions.

Enforcement

The Act empowers the Local Authority to take enforcement action where work is carried out without a Building Warrant or contrary to Building Warrant conditions.

Dangerous buildings

Should a building become dangerous the local authority can require immediate evacuation if it is imminently dangerous and instruct any necessary action to protect the public and adjacent property. Where the situation is less critical a procedure for issuing written notices to the owner(s) of the building is followed and if satisfactory action is not taken then the Local Authority carries out the work and recovers costs.

Other services

A wide range of services is provided by Building Standards staff and includes the following:

Licensing

The Building Standards Service as part of the licensing procedures, provides technical expertise to the Licensing Board and Licensing Committees.

Legislation associated with this service is varied and includes the Safety of Sports Grounds Act, Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act, the Licensing (Scotland) Act and the Civic Government (Scotland) Act.

Premises and temporary venues used by the general public require to meet strict safety standards especially relating to means of escape.

A large variety of buildings and events are assessed and inspected ranging from football stadia to public houses, fun fairs, cinemas, circuses, etc.

This work frequently requires close liaison between the Building Standards Service and other parties including the Police, Fire Authority and Environmental Health.

Engineering

The need for Building Standards staff to carry out structural checks relating to Building Warrants and involvement with dangerous buildings has resulted in the Building Standards Service providing a civil engineering capability.

Other functions include: soil, mineral and structural investigations relating to property and land; flood prevention; reservoir enforcement responsibilities and, inspection of raised structures requiring a licence for public use.

Housing grants

There are several types of housing grants currently available including grants for Standard Amenities, Improvements and altering a house for a disabled person.”

Other activities

  • street naming and numbering
  • energy efficiency
  • property enquiries
  • emergency planning

Above all the Building Standards Service is here to help you and if you wish further information about the contents of this section or advice on a specific part of the service please contact the Building Standards office.

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Last updated: 25 February 2016

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