Building Regulations in Scotland

What are the building regulations?

Since May 2005, if you’re doing work to your home that involves electricity, it now needs to conform to the new building regulations. They have been brought in to improve the standard of building work.

The new system includes rules for electrical installations, which has been controlled by the Building standards system for many years. Under the new system, any electrical work carried out under a building warrant (the legal permission you need from the local authority to start building work) will either have to be approved by a registered installer (known formally as an ‘approved certifier’) or be checked by the local authority.

What electrical work is covered by the rules? 

Any electrical work carried out under a building warrant. It is the responsibility of the person who orders the work (normally the person who owns the building), to find out if they need a building warrant.

Your local authority will be able to give you advice about whether you need one for the work you want to have done. However, it is likely that electrical work in new buildings, existing flats and in maisonettes and houses with more than two storeys, will have to meet the rules.

You can get more information on this by visiting the Scottish Building Standard’s website here.

Who is responsible for making sure that new electrical work meets the new Scottish building standards?

You are. By law, homeowners and landlords have to be able to prove that all new electrical work and any change to existing electrical wiring meet the new rules. Your local authority has the power to force you to remove or alter work that fails to do this.

What should you do when you need electrical work carried out on a property?
You have two options:

  • Employ an electrician that is registered with one of the government-approved schemes. These qualified electricians are known as ‘registered installers’; or
  • Let your local authority check and approve the work when it’s been done.

We recommend homeowners use an electrician that is registered with one of the government-approved schemes for all electrical work.

Use the Scottish Find an Electrician for details of approved scheme operators.

The advantages of using a registered installer

  • The installer can deal with all the rules for you
  • The installer will provide you with certificates to confirm that the work they have carried out meets the rules and was carried out by a competent electrician
  • You will get a refund on part of the fee for your building warrant
  • You will have access to a formal complaints procedure if the work doesn’t meet the rules.

How will I benefit from the new Building Standards system?

If you use a registered installer, you can expect to have safer, better quality electrical work. When the work is finished you will be given certificates confirming that the electrics meets the legal standards of the Scottish Building Regulations 2004. The certificates will be

  • a Certificate of Construction (Electrical Installations to BS 7671) that confirms that the installation meets the rules
  • an Electrical Installation Certificate or Minor Works Certificate, that confirms that the installation meets BS 7671.

Is it important who carries out the electrical work on your home?

Yes. Electrical work must only be carried out by people who have the knowledge, skill and experience needed to avoid danger to themselves and others.

It’s easy to make an electrical circuit work – it’s far harder to make the circuit work safely. Being safe in your home is very important.

We strongly recommend that you use a registered installer to carry out any electrical work you need. Registered installers will always work to the UK national standard BS 7671 (Requirements for Electrical Installations), and will issue a safety certificate for their electrical work to confirm that the installation has been designed, built, inspected and tested in line with that standard. This includes making any changes to any existing wiring.

Full details about the requirements of the new Scottish Building Standards can be found on the Scottish Building Standards (SBS) website: