1. WHAT IS A BUILDING WARRANT?
A building warrant is the legal permission to commence building work (or demolish a building) and is granted by the local council in your area.
2. WHAT ARE THE BUILDING REGULATIONS?
They are legal requirements laid down by the Scottish Parliament to provide minimum standards for health and safety and for conservation of fuel and power.
3. HOW DO I OBTAIN A BUILDING WARRANT?
Your architect or building surveyor will prepare plans for your proposed works and will submit them on your behalf, along with your application form and fee to the local authority.
4. WHAT KIND OF BUILDING WORKS REQUIRE BUILDING WARRANT?
The construction of new buildings, alterations and extensions to existing buildings, demolition of buildings and to the change of use of a building (from a house to an hotel for
example). Apparently simple alterations to internal walls or moving of a kitchen sink will require a building warrant. It is therefore always advisable to seek professional advice before going ahead with any proposal affecting your property.
5. IS THERE ANY BUILDING WORK THAT IS EXEMPT?
Yes. For example, the following MAY be exempt provided they meet certain conditions.
- A detached garage, garden hut or building for keeping animals, birds or other livestock for domestic purposes,
- A carport, covered area, greenhouse, summerhouse, swimming pool enclosure,
- Garden wall not more than 1.2 metres in height.
- Fence not more than 2.0 metres in height.
- A conservatory or porch not more than 8 sq. metres floor area,
- Repairs of a minor nature.
- Replacement windows
- Replacing or providing sanitary fittings (except for fitting a new shower and WC).
You should take advice from the local authority or a suitably qualified person BEFORE doing any alterations to your property.
6 . FOR HOW LONG IS A WARRANT VALID?
A warrant is valid for three years from the date it is granted. If you have started but not completed the work within that time you can apply to the local authority for an extension to the warrant period. The application for extension must be made before the expiry of your warrant.
7. IT IS NECESSARY TO OBTAIN A CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION WHEN MY
BUILDING WORK IS FINISHED.
If you do not obtain a certificate of completion for your works, this will affect the sale of your property.
8. IF I HAVE CARRIED OUT WORK TO MY PROPERTY AND I DO NOT HAVE A
BUILDING WARRANT, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
The first thing you should do is speak to your solicitor. They will advise you as to what is the best action to take before marketing your property. This may involve obtaining building warrant, obtaining a Property Inspection Report from the local authority or some other suitably qualified person or, indeed, obtaining an insurance policy to protect the purchaser.
If you do not have suitable consents for alterations or extensions to your property, this will affect the sale and may mean a reduction in the price you achieve or, indeed, may prevent your sale. Speak to your solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity if you have concerns.
For more detailed advice on alterations and building warrants, check out the following link: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/158273/0042854.pdf and take professional advice. The information on this blog has been obtained from the Scotland.gov.uk website.