Following the introduction of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003, 4 non-statutory services are being offered by the Building Standards Team. A brief description of these services are:
The term "Letter of Comfort" has been adopted by the legal profession when referring to a letter providing confirmation from a Local Authority that the works undertaken comply with the relevant Technical Standards and/or no enforcement action will take place.
The issue of a Letter of Comfort will be considered where:
These are known as "Property Inspections" and "Confirmation of Completion" respectively.
The Building Standards Team often finds itself requested to assist owners who are having difficulty selling their property due to unauthorised alterations having been carried out, often by previous owners.
Although it is a statutory requirement that a Building Warrant is granted prior to any building work being undertaken, a Property Inspection can cover unauthorised works started and completed prior to 1st May 2005. It is important to point out, however, that a Property Inspection is not a Building Warrant, Completion Certificate or retrospective permission and provides only limited assurance that a building complies with the relevant regulations. It is important that prospective purchasers of houses be made aware of these limitations.
The service listed above is not available for any works carried out prior to 1st April 1991 and no applications for such work will be accepted.
A Certificate of Completion can only be issued/accepted during the lifetime of your Building Warrant, which is normally 3 years unless an extension has been formally approved. If no Completion Certificate has been issued during this period, then you may apply for Confirmation of Completion.
The issue of a Letter of Comfort by the Local Authority normally satisfies parties involved in conveyance and mortgage transactions. Due to the limitations noted above, however, you should always check this with your solicitor before applying for a Letter of Comfort.
There are individual application forms for all the services listed in this section and these can be obtained by contacting the Building Standards email address below.
A fee is payable when lodging your application in order to offset the cost of assessing the application, undertaking site visits, carrying our a search of records, preparation and issue of the letter etc. You can view the current fee scales by following the link provided.
For Property Inspections it may be necessary to provide a drawing to allow assessment to take place. For complex works, however, detailed drawings to Building Warrant approval standard may be required to allow for structural checks, calculations etc to be carried out.
For Confirmation of Completion, a record of the Building Warrant approval will already be held and this will be used in the assessment of the works carried out.
There are certain elements of work that are either exempt from Building Warrant approval or do not require approval but must still comply with the Regulations.
For exempt works Building Standards can provide written confirmation of the exemption, stating the appropriate regulations.
For works not requiring a Building Warrant but having to comply with the Regulations, then Building Standards can provide written confirmation in the following instances. In all cases compliance is the responsibility of the building owner:
Pre Construction. This is a project-specific assessment of works based on either verbal or written details and/or specification and the works must not have commenced.
Post Construction. In this case the works must have been completed and the request is for a site inspection to determine if general compliance has been achieved.
The Council are frequently asked to produce copies of building warrants, approved plans and/or completion certificates and invariably these documents are required to conclude the sale or purchase of houses or other related properties. Under the building regulations, however, copies of such documents are restricted to current or prospective owners/tenants or owners/tenants of physically adjoining properties. If it is the case that you are a solicitor requesting documents for a client, the Council will require written confirmation that you are legally acting on behalf of that client.
If you do require copy documents, you will also have to provide the relevant building warrant number. Failure to do so will incur an additional search fee (although this will be included in the cost of any documents purchased). Details of the fees can be obtained from the contact details below.
As this is a non statutory/discretionary service, searches and file retrieval will normally be restricted to a 20 year period. No timescale can be provided for this service although it will be in line with our statutory response time which is currently 20 working days. Please note, however, that a premium 5 day response service is available at an additional charge
If you require any further information or an application form for any of the above services, please call 01259 452560/452561 in the first instance.
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 450000