The Scottish Government has issued a number of consultations relating to proposed changes to the current regime of Building Regulations that are set to come into force in the autumn of next year. The principle aims of each of the consultations are to support the government’s objectives of a healthier, safer and greener Scotland. The closing date for responses to these consultations is fast approaching - 12 December 2012.

There are four consultations in relation to the Technical Handbooks:

  • Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004:  Technical Handbooks – Section 0 (General)
  • Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004:  Technical Handbooks (Non Domestic) – Section 2 (Fire)
  • Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004:  Technical Handbooks – Section 3 (Environment) and Section 4 (Safety)
  • Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004:  Technical Handbooks – Section 7 (Sustainability).

Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004:  Technical Handbooks – Section 0 (General)

The purpose of these proposed amendments is to give effect to the Construction Products Regulations 2011.  These European regulations mean it will be mandatory for manufacturers to apply CE marking to their construction products where they fall under the scope of the regulations.

The CE mark is a symbol that when affixed to a product indicates that it complies with the relevant EU legislation, which enables the free movement of products within the European market. The CE mark is affixed by a manufacturer, importer or authorised representative, who are required to ensure and make a declaration that the product complies.

Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004:  Technical Handbooks (Non Domestic) – Section 2 (Fire)

The main focus of this consultation is to consider amendments to automatic fire suppression systems that were required to be used in new schools (both primary and secondary) from October 2010.  These systems are intended to support the further sustainable development of buildings by enhancing the protection of property against fire.  However, in practice they have often been disproportionate to building costs.

In addition, following a fatal accident enquiry in relation to a death at a care home, there is a proposal to introduce a new fire safety standard (supplemented by guidance).  This will require a summary of the key fire and safety information for new non-domestic buildings constructed prior to such buildings being occupied.  If the proposal is taken forward this will also amend The Building (Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 to reflect the change in procedure prior to a Completion Certificate being issued.

Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004:  Technical Handbooks – Section 3 (Environment) and Section 4 (Safety)

The next set of proposals deal with proposed amendments to mandatory standards, the introduction of new standards or amendments to the supporting technical guidance in relation to the environment and safety sections of the Technical Handbook. The proposals include: 

  • introducing a carbon monoxide detection guidance to protect people in dwellings and residential buildings;
  • the introduction of a new mandatory standard for water efficiency provision in dwellings to reduce carbon emissions and fuel; 
  • the amendment of guidance on climbability of protective barriers to protect children in buildings; 
  • amending guidance on wind driven rain assessment for external walls; 
  • amending mandatory standard to remove waste storage requirements for dwellings and
  • providing information to raise awareness on Changing Places Toilets.

Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004:  Technical Handbooks – Section 7 (Sustainability)

The fourth consultation relates to sustainability and the proposal to extend non-domestic sustainability labelling to school buildings - the idea being to reward new school buildings that opt to build to upper levels of sustainability.

These consultations and the amended regulations that will result will be key, not only for those working in the construction industry but also for developers responsible for procuring a building and the end users of a building.

The papers relating to the consultations on the Scottish Government website can be accessed here.