Information available on this page:
- Purpose of Building Standards
- Building Warrants
- Completion Certificates
- Letters of Comfort
Purpose of Building Standards
The main purpose of the Building Standards Service is to make sure that buildings comply with the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 which became law on the 1st May 2005.
If an application for building warrant was made prior to this date then the old Building (Scotland) Act 1959, and its procedures, still apply to these applications.
The new legislation is concerned with:
- health, safety, welfare and convenience of persons in or about buildings and of others who may be affected by buildings or matters connected with buildings,
- furthering the conservation of fuel and power,
- furthering the achievement of sustainable development and
- the safety of the public from defective or dangerous building
The main role of the Building Standards service under this legislation is to carry out the following duties:
- processing applications for building warrant,
- inspecting and witnessing the testing of new or altered drainage,
- verifying completion certificate submissions,
- investigating reports of buildings which may be dangerous,
- investigating reports of unauthorised work being carried out to buildings, and
- investigating reports of buildings that may be in a state of serious disrepair.
The service also has a major role in ensuring the health & safety of the general public in West Lothian through its work in the following areas:
- processing of applications for Letters of Comfort,
- inspection of licensed premises on behalf of the Licensing board,
- inspection and licensing of sports grounds,
- inspection and licensing of raised structures and
inspection and licensing of places of public entertainment.
Further information on the new Building (Scotland) Act 2003 and the building standards system can be obtained on the Scottish Governments Building Standards Division Website (new page) (new window).
A building warrant is the legal permission granted by West Lothian Council allowing you to start building work (including demolition) to your property. If the work you intend to carry out requires a building warrant and you start the work before this is obtained then you are breaking the law.
If you wish to build or make any alterations to your property you should first check with Building Standards to see if a building warrant is required. Application forms and guidance notes on how to apply for a building warrant can be viewed or downloaded from our Building Standards downloadable forms and guidance page (new page).
A completion certificate is the legal document allowing a building to be occupied.
The completion certificate is accepted by us after we have carried out an inspection to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that the works comply with the building regulations.
Application forms and guidance notes on applying for a completion certificate can be viewed or downloaded from our Building Standards downloadable forms and guidance page (new page).
Although we may inspect the work while it is in progress this inspection is to check that the warrant is being complied with. However, please be very aware the we are not responsible for checking the quality of work done or supervising the builders employed. Supervision of the building work should be the responsibility of whichever person is appointed by you for that purpose.
"Letters of Comfort"
A "letter of comfort" is a letter from us which states that action will not be taken in respect of specified works which have either:
- been completed before the 1st May 2005 without the required building warrant being obtained (Unauthorised), or
- been carried out with a building warrant , but no certificate of completion was obtained before this building warrant expired (Expired), or
- been carried out as exempt works and no permission was required (Exempt), or
- replacement windows were installed for which no building warrant was required (Replacement Window Survey).
and we are fully satisfied that the completed works comply with the Building Regulations.
This letter is only issued after a satisfactory inspection has been carried out and any remedial works that were required have been satisfactorily completed to our satisfaction.
Application forms and guidance notes on how to apply for a "letter of comfort" can be viewed or downloaded from our Building Standards downloadable forms and guidance page (new page).
This is not a replacement for the legal requirement to obtain a building warrant.
Adequate detailed drawings showing full compliance are still required along with the exposure of any part of the completed works that is deemed necessary to confirm compliance.
Dependent on the works carried out we may still have to consider taking legal action against you.
The section is also a member of the Edinburgh, Lothians, Borders & Fife Consortium. This group carries out peer group reviews on the verification processes of its members. The agreement can be found here.