Building Standards - FAQs

When is a Building Warrant required?

A building warrant is normally required if you intend to erect, alter, extend, demolish or change the use of any structure. It is the building owner's responsibility to enquire whether a building warrant or any other permission is required prior to the commencement of any building operations.

It is an offence in Scotland to commence building operations that require the benefit of a building warrant prior to a warrant being granted. It is also an offence to occupy a building without the benefit of a certificate of completion.

We strongly recommend that anyone undertaking building operations contact us for advice on the above procedures.

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

What is the difference between Planning Permission and a Building Warrant?

There is an ongoing misconception with many people that a Building Warrant and Planning Permission are one and the same. This is not the case and it is important to differentiate between the two.

Town Planning, in relation to buildings, mainly concerns the use of the building and the effect this will have on the surrounding environment e.g. traffic generation, noise, appearance. Town Planning also concerns itself with the wider built environment such as in Conservation Areas and with listed buildings.

Building Standards concerns all aspects of the structure and design of buildings both internally and externally.

It cannot be emphasised too strongly that, whatever the project, advice from both Building Standards and Development Management should be sought to avoid costly and unnecessary work at a later date.

How do I obtain a Building Warrant?

If a Building Warrant is required for a proposed project an applicant must follow a set procedure in order to obtain one. An application form must be completed and forwarded along with an appropriate lodging fee to the Building Standards Department.

Full drawings of the proposals must also accompany the application form. Four sets of drawings are required to be able to issue a Building Warrant however it is acceptable to submit one set when lodging the application. The drawings should be drawn to a scale of not less than 1:100 and should indicate on plan, elevation, section etc, full details of the proposals. A site plan to a scale of not less than 1:1250 should also be included indicating the site boundaries, adjacent roads and properties and the position on site of the proposed project. There is nothing to prevent applicants drawing plans themselves, but it is not recommended, unless they are properly qualified.

Further questions and answers  External website logo have been prepared by the Scottish Building Standards Agency and are intended to help readers who are unfamiliar with the building standards system in Scotland. The information contained relates to the new building standards system which came into force on 1st May 2005.

This guidance deals only with the building standards system and you should be aware that other statutory requirements may also apply to the work proposed, such as planning permission, fire certificates or licensing. Planning permission is a separate matter and further guidance should be obtained from your local planning office.

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