Scottish Government Building Standards and the Compliance Plan Approach
Following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower, London in June 2017 a Ministerial Working Group (MWG) was set up to oversee a review of building and fire safety in Scotland with two expert review panels being created. One panel considering Fire Safety and the other focussing on Compliance and Enforcement, the latter chaired by Professor John Cole.
The review panel on Compliance and Enforcement in Scotland concluded that the Scottish building standards system is not broken but that evidence clearly shows there is a need to strengthen compliance, both in relation to statutory procedural requirements and in addressing non-compliant work on site. The review panel concluded that, whilst simultaneously maintaining the core elements of the system, some reshaping would be advised to ensure that it addresses the identified weaknesses. The idea for an enhanced, proactive approach to Building Standards using a Compliance Plan came into being.
In 2018 the Scottish Government consulted on the review panel’s recommendations. A total of 222 survey responses were received and the Compliance Plan approach was widely accepted.
The Building Standards Futures Board was established in 2019 to provide guidance and direction on the development and implementation of the longer term recommendations made by the review panels. The Futures Board covers 7 work streams including the Compliance Plan approach.
To inform the work of the Compliance Plan work stream a Working Group was formed in October 2020 made up of industry stakeholders and academia.
A public consultation on Compliance and Enforcement was published on 11 November 2021 and closed on 9th of February 2022. Building Standards Division asked for views on the development of a new Compliance Plan Manager role within the building standards system which will apply to specific High Risk Building (HRB) types. The definition of these HRBs is proposed as:
Domestic building or residential building with any storey at a height of more than 11 metres above the ground.
- Educational establishments (schools, colleges and universities), community/sport centres and non-domestic buildings under local authority control/where they have an interest in a building.
- Residential care buildings.
- Housing sites (low-rise).
A total of 91 responses were received and there was overwhelming support for the proposals. These included the creation of a new Compliance Plan Manager (CPM) oversight role for High Risk Buildings, the definition of High Risk Buildings to which a strengthened building standards regime should apply, and finally it sought views on stronger enforcement powers and sanctions.
Following the publication of the consultation analysis report Building regulations – compliance and enforcement: consultation analysis – gov.scot (www.gov.scot) and support for the proposals, Building Standards Division are working with industry stakeholders through Working Groups to develop the policy for strengthening the Scottish building standards system and the approach to compliance and stronger enforcement. This will lead to future legislative changes and associated guidance for system users over the next 2 to 3 years.