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Building Standards News and Updates

New Build Heat Standard

New homes and buildings must install climate-friendly heating systems from April 2024.

What is changing

From April 2024, changes to building regulations will mean new homes and buildings will not be allowed to use direct emission (or polluting) heating systems like oil and gas boilers, and bioenergy.

Instead, they will need to use climate-friendly alternatives like heat pumps and heat networks (also referred to as clean heating systems). Heat networks can be used regardless of their fuel source, including ones using direct emissions heat.

The NBHS applies to all new buildings and some conversions where a building warrant is applied for from 1 April 2024.  If you are converting an existing building, the NBHS will apply if:

  • you have a direct emissions heating system in the building or area of the building you are converting, and
  • it is ‘reasonably practicable’ to install a clean heating system – guidance on what is considered ‘reasonably practicable’ is provided in support of the new standard 6.11 within Section 6 (energy) of the 2024 Technical Handbooks.

Building warrants applied for before April 2024

New developments applying for a building warrant before 1 April 2024 may continue to install direct emission heating systems for as long as the issued building warrant remains valid.

Exceptions to the NBHS – The NBHS does not apply :

  • if you are altering or extending a building built under a warrant applied for before 1 April 2024
  • to an emergency heating system
  • to heating provided solely for the purpose of frost protection

For more detail see the Building Standards Technical Handbooks. These provide further detail on what is considered emergency back-up use.

See also New Build Heat Standard: factsheet

Building Warrant Fee Increases 2024

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Building Standards are notifying customers of an upcoming fees review by Scottish Government with the revised fees coming into effect on 1 April 2024.

In addition to the revised national fee table, the locally applied cost per square metre rates, used to check estimated build costs, will also be reviewed to take into account the significant increases in building costs since 2020.

The Scottish Government Procedural Handbook states

“In calculating the value of the works the applicant must use the normal market costs rather than any discounted costs which they might be able to achieve. For example, even if the labour was unpaid because it is a self-build project, the value of the building work should still include a fair assessment of the value of labour had commercial contractors undertaken the work.”

The updated local minimum square metre rate for new build dwellings is £1,872 per square metre. This rate is based on the lower end of the BCIS inter-quartile range of new build one-off housing.  We have adopted a single square metre rate for domestic property, rather than a split between ground and first floor rates as formerly, as this is a simpler calculation and better reflects the rates given in the BCIS table of rates.  It should be noted that this is only to determine a minimum cost estimate for a dwelling with a basic specification.  Dwellings with a higher than average specification will exceed this cost and therefore a higher cost estimate should be used for these.

Please read the article on the upcoming fees change on the Scottish Government Building Standards website.