Gaia Architects

providing best practice regulatory guidance

Sustainable Construction and the Regulatory Framework

Client: Scottish Executive

An extensive survey of building regulations and best practice in other countries was undertaken and revealed a number of specific measures that could be adopted in the short term by the Buildings Standards Agency in order to promote sustainable construction.

The Building Scotland Act 2003 made furthering sustainable development an underpinning requirement of the Scottish Building Regulations.


It was felt to be timely to identify, embrace and promote those mechanisms which had allowed best practice to be delivered elsewhere. To that end Attention was drawn to regulation and practice in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands which appeared to be significantly advanced.


The principal outputs of the research were the identification of areas where the regulations could be expanded to take fuller account of the requirements of sustainable development as well as a range of policy recommendations for amendments to the standards. The final report details the key requirements for the promotion of sustainable construction, and recommends a framework for prioritising the development of suitable functional and performance standards to the Building Standards Agency.


The procurement of this research work at the time when the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 was being drafted presented real problems and opportunities. There was a lack of clarity in relation to the status and relevance of the existing Technical Standards. However there was also opportunity for appropriate and timely inputs to aid development of an overall regulatory framework within which sustainable development could be encouraged and facilitated.


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