Last edited 22 Sep 2015

Scottish building standards sustainability labelling

In Scotland, ministers are responsible for making building standards (equivalent to the building regulations in England) and the associated technical guidance documents. Local authorities act as verifiers administering the building standards system, granting permissions (building warrants) and completion certificates. The main purpose of the standards is to ensure that buildings are safe, efficient and sustainable.

Proposals to introduce sustainability labelling to the Scottish Building Standards for all new buildings were developed by a construction industry working group and made available for public consultation in late 2010. They were induced on 1st of May 2011 by The Building (Scotland) Act.

The labelling system is described in Section 7 of the Scottish Building Standards Technical Handbooks. New buildings that meet the building standards are given a Bronze level label, whilst optional higher levels of sustainability can be given Silver, Gold and Platinum labels.

The labelling system can be used to demonstrate developers’ commitment to sustainability. It can also give planning authorities a mechanism for delivering their obligations under Section 72 of The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 'Development plans: inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions policies'.

Aspects of development considered by the system include:

  • Resource use: including energy for space and water heating, CO2 emissions and water use.
  • Adaptability: providing dedicated spaces for home working, electric wheelchairs, prams or bicycles.
  • Occupant wellbeing: including enhanced noise insulation, increased natural light and improved security provisions.
  • Whether buildings incorporate low or zero-carbon generating technology (LZCGT).

The labelling system has been fully developed for domestic buildings, but as yet has only been partially developed for non-domestic buildings.

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