Guidance Changes in the Building Standards Procedural Handbook
The updated Building Standards Procedural Handbook is published on the Scottish Government website. Version 1.6 of the 3rd edition is the version to be used from 1 October 2019.
This post covers the main guidance changes.
Roles and responsibilities
We have strengthened guidance on roles and responsibilities of people involved in a building project. The aim of the guidance is to support regular and effective communication and partnership working to help achieve compliance with building standards.
There is new guidance on using pre-warrant discussions between the applicant and the local authority building standards team. The handbook explains that early discussions on key aspects of the building design, such as fire safety, may be useful. At the start of a project, it is helpful to consider the nature and complexity of the building. This helps to define the roles and responsibilities of those involved and how compliance will be achieved during construction. A pre-warrant discussion can take place before the application for building warrant is finalised to improve understanding from the start and avoid issues arising during the project.
For complex applications, a customer agreement can be requested from the local authority to discuss the programme of work and agree partnership working for the duration of the project.
The roles and responsibilities defined in the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) are clarified in the handbook. New guidance is intended to help people understand they may have additional responsibilities under the legislation. We have avoided duplication of roles and a new table provides a comparison of CDM roles with those in building standards legislation.
Inspection of Safety Critical Elements
The handbook highlights the need for inspection of key safety critical elements. Specific guidance is detailed in the Verification During Construction documents for domestic and non-domestic buildings prepared by Local Authority Building Standards Scotland (LABSS). New guidance emphasises the importance of setting out key construction stages that require inspection with a focus on safety critical elements such as wall ties, lateral restraints, compartmentation and fire stopping.
Timely notifications telling the local authority building standards team when elements of construction can be inspected are essential. Regular communications are critical to deliver the Construction Compliance and Notification Plan effectively. This approach not only supports compliance but is helpful to avoid potential enforcement action.
Temporary Occupation or Use Form
The Temporary Occupation or Use form now includes a declaration by the applicant which states that the areas of the building they wish to occupy or use are compliant with building standards. New guidance highlights that the person signing the declaration is confirming that part of the building is safe and mitigating measures are provided, where necessary, to ensure people in the building are not at risk from works that are still ongoing in other areas of the building.
The guidance is clear that the applicant must apply to extend the period of temporary occupation or use before it expires and that failure to do so may result in enforcement action.
Application for Amendment of Building Warrant
The application for amendment of building warrant form now includes improved notes on use. The notes highlight how the form should be used when applying for subsequent stages of a staged building warrant application.