Building warrant application guidance

These notes are intended to assist applicants to obtain decisions as quickly and easily as possible. They do not provide detailed guidance on the various statutes and regulations.

For development within the City two permissions will normally be required from the Council:

  1. Building Warrant

  2. Planning Permission

Building Warrant is the permission which is required before starting "building" work. Building covers nearly all building activities including alterations, conversions and demolition work. There are some exceptions which are listed fully in the Building Standards (Scotland) Regulations and associated technical handbooks (see paragraph at end of these notes). Submission of an application for Building Warrant does not exempt an applicant from obtaining any other permissions which may be required, for example Planning Permission, or from the Owner.

Experience has shown that appropriate approvals such as Planning Permission, Building Warrant and particularly the Notice of Acceptance of Certificate of Completion which follows completion of the work, are important when property is to be sold. Purchasing solicitors normally insist that all necessary consents have been obtained and that the work has been carried out in accordance with the approvals granted. Lack of appropriate approvals can jeopardise a sale or reduce the value of property. It is strongly recommended that applicants appoint a suitably qualified professional, for example an architect, chartered surveyor or building consultant, to advise on design and look after their interests on site as work progresses. The purpose of the building standards system is to protect the public interest. It is not intended to provide protection to a client in a contract with a builder.

Applicants are advised to contact Planning and Sustainable Development to determine if Building Warrant Approval is required for the works proposed.

The application form for a Building Warrant is separate from the Planning Application form and should be carefully completed. The completed form together with plans and the statutory fees, should be submitted to us. The Building Standards Customer Journey guide outlines this process:

Inadequate plans are a frequent cause of delay and it is important that all relevant information is clearly shown on the plans. While anyone may prepare plans this task is best left to an architect, building consultant or other person experienced in preparing drawings and submitting applications. Where structural design is involved, a structural design certificate completed by an approved Certifier of Design or other acceptable means such as calculations must be submitted. The submission of a suitable certificate of design, at submission stage, will incur a discount on the fee. All plans, certificates and forms must be signed by the applicant or their agent.

This site plan should be to a scale of 1/1250 or 1/2500, preferably Ordnance Survey based and clearly show :

  1. The location of the proposed development in relation to the nearest road junction

  2. Existing and proposed buildings

  3. The extent and boundaries of the site

  4. The north point and the scale of the plan

These should normally be to a scale of not less than 1/100 and must show the following :

  1. sufficient elevations, plans and sections to provide a complete representation of the proposed development

  2. constructional details of all parts of the building

  3. structural details and design calculations/ certificate of design

  4. details of plumbing and drainage works

  5. details of ventilation and electrical arrangements

Detailed guidance on plans to be submitted is given in the Building (Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations.

The Application for Building Warrant form must be filled in and submitted along with one set of plans. Paper applications can be accepted however we encourage the use of the eBuilding Standards Portal.

Warrant applications must be accompanied by the fee appropriate to the value of the work proposed (see scale of fees or contact the Technical Team (Applications). You can pay online for some services. 

Works exempt from warrant approval have been extended and is detailed in Schedules 1 and 3 contained in Part O of the Technical Handbooks. Schedule 1 (Regulation 3) details works which are exempted from building regulations. Schedule 3 (Regulation 5) details works which can be done without the need for a building warrant, but must comply with building regulations. If clarification is required guidance from the Building Standards section should be sought. Other works, usually involving repairs or replacements do not require Building Warrant, but must still comply with the requirements of the Regulations. Advice on exemptions and on the special conditions which apply can be obtained by contacting us.

Technical Team (Applications)
Planning and Sustainable Development
Aberdeen City Council
Business Hub 4
Marischal College
Broad Street
AB10 1AB
01224 053746

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