New Building Standards Enforcement Handbook Launched


Compliance with building regulations, and the due process for achieving it, is a fundamental part of managing, and delivering, construction quality. After all, no building can be claimed to be to the level of quality expected, or required, if it does not comply with building regulations. Failures in achieving compliance to regulations (and the associated implications for quality) inevitably has consequences, and this can include enforcement action being taken. Scottish Government Building Standards Division (BSD) has published a new handbook providing guidance for local authorities responsible for enforcement of the Standards under the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 (the Act), as amended.

The Building Standards Enforcement Handbook First Edition – 27 March 2023 is available from the Publications section of the Scottish Government website.  A link to the Handbook is available here.

The handbook was developed by BSD with involvement from members of the Compliance Plan Working Group’s sub-group on Enforcement and Sanctions.  (Read more about the Compliance Plan Approach here). Draft versions of the Handbook were reviewed by members of the Enforcement and Sanctions Working Group to ensure accuracy and that information on actual practice by local authorities was included through the addition of two case studies.

Local authorities are the primary audience for the Enforcement Handbook, but it has been written so that anyone with an interest can benefit from the guidance.  The guidance provided in the handbook is clear that achieving compliance with building regulations is the responsibility of everyone involved in a building project and that enforcement action is the backstop when other attempts to resolve issues during the construction process have been exhausted, or when there is a direct risk to public safety.

An objective of the Construction Quality Charter, and the CQIC vision of a sustainable quality culture, is that such enforcement will not be required. However, the handbook provides clarity of the consequences if a failure to comply with the building regulations does occur.