3.2 How to apply for a building warrant

3.2.1. Applications for building warrants should be made using standard forms. They are available and can be submitted electronically through the eBuilding Standards portal see https://www.ebuildingstandards.scot/eBuildingStandardsClient/default.aspx. Alternatively applicants can still submit paper based applications directly to the local authority. The new eBuildingStandards.scot service was developed in partnership with all 32 Scottish local authorities building standards services and is accessed through the eDevelopment.scot home page. The eDevelopment.scot portal also allows electronic submission of planning applications through ePlanning.scot (formerly ePlanningScotland). At present the verifier is the local authority for the area where the proposed work is to be carried out. The application may be made on paper or by electronic means where the verifier has this facility. The accompanying information can be on paper, in an electronic format or in a combination, as agreed with the verifier. If in paper form, two sets of drawings and one of other accompanying information are normally required but 1 or 2 additional copies may be requested by the verifier. Note that durable copies on linen or plastic film are no longer required but drawings should be indelible or read-only format if electronic. The verifier will record the date of receipt of the application for both paper and electronic submissions.

3.2.2. A warrant application may be made and signed by anyone wishing to do building work or this may be done through an agent. Electronic signatures are acceptable when the verifier has the facilities to accept electronic applications.

3.2.3. Schedule 2 of the procedure regulations sets out the information which should accompany an application for a building warrant. This information will normally be provided on drawings but written schedules can also be used where appropriate. Large projects require extensive information but for small or very simple work the verifier may agree to accept less information. Details of the kind of drawings which may be required are given at paragraph 3.2.16 below. The drawings no longer have to be signed but each drawing in an application must have a different reference number. Advice on details of presentation will be available from verifiers.

3.2.4. There is an alternative to providing the verifier with all of the detailed information described above. An approved certifier of design can provide a certificate saying that particular aspects of the work will comply with the building regulations. Less detail is provided for that aspect (see paragraph 3.2.5 below) as a verifier is required to accept this certificate, so long as it has been issued in accordance with the conditions which apply to the certifier. For example, a verifier presented with a certificate of design for structure checks that the person signing the certificate is on the approved certification register. The verifier must also check that the counter- signing body is approved to co-ordinate the certification of structure. These certificates form part of the warrant application and must be signed and dated by an approved certifier and counter-signed and dated by the certification co-ordinator of an approved body. If a warrant is granted on information which includes certified design, any application for amendment to warrant that affects the certified matters should be accompanied by a new certificate of design. Further information on certification of design may be found in the Certification Handbook.

3.2.5. The information provided must allow the verifier to clearly identify the scope of the certified work and allow consultation with other authorities when necessary (see Chapter 14 below). The information on the certificate of design should match that provided on the building warrant application form in respect of:

The applicant must also provide enough information on the certified work to assist any site inspections the verifier wishes to make. Using structural certification as an example, the approved certifier of design may have to provide the applicant with details of beam sizes, bearings, etc., for the verifier, even where the design has been certified by an approved certifier of design for structure. On some projects a specialist contractor may be providing a structural element. This could delay the ability to certify the whole building and obtain a warrant until the contractor designed details have been completed. To accommodate this, the structural certification scheme permits the certification of specific details to be undertaken some time after the certification of the general structural arrangement has been completed and a warrant (or staged warrant) has been granted. The design certificate must be accompanied by a schedule (known as Schedule 1) listing any structural items or details which the certificate does not cover in detail and, once the details have been finalised, the approved certifier issues the finalisation notice (known as Model Form Q). If an approved certifier is used they must retain, in their own records, not just the information submitted but all the details relevant to the project. It should be noted that certificates of design or construction should only be issued in respect of works for which building warrant approval is required. That is to say, they should not be issued on works that are exempt from building regulations under Schedule 1 or works not requiring a warrant under Schedule 3. Further information on the level of information to be submitted with a building warrant application may be found in Procedural Guidance on Certification on the BSD website at http://www.gov.scot/bsd

3.2.6. If the application is for alteration or extension of an existing building, enough information on the existing building must be provided to demonstrate that it is not being adversely affected. For example, subdivision might result in the means of escape in the remaining part having to be checked, so these should be shown. There may also be related repair work, which is not subject to the requirement for warrant, but which should be shown on warrant drawings where it results in, or affects, work that requires a warrant. For example a damaged plasterboard lining may have to be replaced, which could affect the sound resistance or thermal insulation of a wall. The requirement to show the existing building may also apply to work done to meet the requirements of a warrant to convert. It may even be applicable when the warrant for conversion does not entail building work or demolition associated with the conversion (see paragraphs at 3.7 below for more detail of application of regulations to existing buildings).

3.2.7. Where a relaxation of the regulations relating to the application is obtained (see paragraphs at 4.3 below) this must either form part of the application or, if obtained after the application is made, be added to it. Any additional information required by the verifier also becomes part of the application when submitted.

3.2.8. In most cases, the first response to an application will include a request for further detail drawings and specification. When planning a project, the time allowed to obtain a warrant should include time for providing such information as well as processing by the verifier.

3.2.9. The warrant application should include sufficient information to allow the verifier to check for compliance with building regulations. If a warrant application is submitted without the appropriate fee it should not be accepted. If the appropriate fee is provided and it appears to the verifier that all of the information is present the application can be accepted. However, if all the information is not submitted the verifier may, when appropriate, accept the application with the condition that the applicant submits the information within 42 days from the date of receipt. If the requested information is not submitted within 42 days, the verifier may consider the application withdrawn and return the application and fee to the applicant. The conditional acceptance of an application should only be used to prevent applications lacking key pieces of information having to be rejected immediately.

3.2.10. When new legislation and guidance is about to be introduced the conditional acceptance of an application must be carefully considered by the verifier. It is extremely important to ensure that applicants are not prematurely submitting substantially incomplete applications to avoid compliance with incoming legislation and guidance.

3.2.11. The amount of the fee, which is related to the ‘value of the works’, is set by separate fees regulations (see paragraphs at 3.13 and 3.14 below for details of the current fees). The fee is subject to discounts where certificates of design form part of the application and/or where it is indicated in the application that certificates of construction will be included with the completion certificate submission. Note however to qualify for a discount the certificate(s) of design should be provided as part of the application, either for warrant or for amendment of warrant. The intention of the system is that any certificates of design should accompany the warrant application, at which point they attract a discount on the warrant fee. If an applicant wishes to submit a certificate at a later date, this should be accepted by the verifier as additional information. If the applicant confirms this on the application form and provides details of the approved certifier and approved body (including their registration numbers) they are using, they will still be eligible for the discount. If they do not provide confirmation the fee cannot be discounted. When a discount has been given, the certificate must be provided before a building warrant can be granted.

3.2.12. Section 7 of the Technical Handbooks contains guidance to meet Standard 7.1 requiring new buildings to have a statement of sustainability (sustainability label). The baseline level, or “bronze”, for a sustainability label is compliance with Sections 1 to 6 of the Technical Handbooks. Optional upper levels of “silver” or “gold” are also defined for domestic buildings and school buildings in respect of:

3.2.13. The optional upper levels of non-domestic buildings, other than school buildings are defined for carbon dioxide emissions only with effect from 1 May 2011. Work to further define the upper levels for non-domestic buildings will be taken forward.

3.2.14. When a new building has been designed to achieve a higher level of sustainability as defined in Section 7 the upper levels are required to be declared on the application for building warrant. When the application relates to multiple buildings it should be made clear which buildings achieve the higher levels.

3.2.15. Where a building warrant application for a new building is submitted on or after 9 January 2013, it should be accompanied by a statement identifying how the feasibility of high-efficiency alternative heating systems was considered and taken into account in developing proposals. This analysis is required under Article 6 of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, 2010/31/EU and noted in the introduction to standard 6.1 in the Technical Handbooks. Further guidance is provided in Annex 6C of the Domestic Technical Handbook and Annex 6E of the Non-domestic Technical Handbook.

Figure 2 Building Warrant

Building Warrant

  1. At present the verifier is the local authority for the area where the work is to be carried out.

  2. Applications should be made on the application form with fee, plans and information on materials, etc. Include any certificate(s) from certifier(s) of design.

  3. Warrant may be granted subject to conditions or continuing requirements.

  4. Applicant must notify verifier, in writing, within 7 days of the commencement of work on site.

  5. Applicant must give verifier details of any work that they intend to cover with a certificate of construction prior to works commencing to the affected part on site.

3.2.16. An application for warrant or amendment to warrant should be accompanied by the information listed below (this is an expansion of Schedule 2 of the procedure regulations). Note however that the verifier has discretion over the extent to which the information must be provided, so that minor work can be treated more simply.

  1. List for application for warrant to erect

    1. General arrangement drawings comprising:

    2. A block plan to a scale not less than 1:1250 (1:500 preferred) to show:

    3. Where the site is not identifiable from the block plan referred to above, a location plan to show:

  2. List for application for warrant to extend

    Plans and specifications, as detailed in A above, of the extension and of the building so far as it is affected by the extension. The drawings must, if the verifier requires identify new work, materials used, downtakings etc.

  3. List for application for warrant to alter, to convert, or to provide services, fittings or equipment

    Plans and specifications, as detailed in A above, but only so far as is necessary to show that the building after the proposed alteration, conversion or fixture will comply with the building regulations.

    The drawings must, if the verifier requires identify new work, materials used, downtakings etc.

    An assessment of the existing structure may be required if the proposed work is reliant on it for compliance e.g. if loads are significantly changed.

    In the case of certified self-contained projects to install particular services, the details to be provided may be specified in the scheme.

  4. List for application for warrant to demolish

  5. List for application to amend any warrant under Section 9(4) or 9(5) of the 2003 Act

    Plans and specifications, as detailed in A above, but only so far as is necessary to show the further information required or the proposed amendment.

    In the case of an amendment to a previously certified design (see paragraph 3.9.11 below), the information supplied should be sufficient to allow the verifier to clearly identify the scope of any certified work, to allow any necessary consultation with other authorities (see Chapter 14 below) and to assist any site inspection the verifier may wish to make.

  6. Directions

    Relaxations are covered in detail in Chapter 4 below.

  7. Supplementary information

    This part of the schedule covers details such as requiring dimensions to be figured, plans to be drawn in a clear and intelligible manner and the requirement for plans to have a reference number.