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Do I need a building warrant?

This page should allow you to determine if you require a building warrant for your proposed works.

The technical guidance can be found at the Building Standards Division website.

On this page find general information on works that:

  • will require a building warrant and
  • any work that can be undertaken to a house without needing a building warrant.  (Please note this does not apply if you live in a flat, maisonette or a house over two storey's in height).

If a building warrant is not required for your proposals West Lothian Council, as verifier will not inspect the works.

It is not the responsibility of Building Standards (West Lothian Council) to determine whether a building warrant is required. This determination should be taken by the building owner and if required, in consultation with other building professionals.

Where no building warrant is required and if at a later date any written confirmation is required, you will have to obtain the services of a construction professional  such as  surveyor /architect or similar, who maybe able to provide this service.

From the 1st of April 2016 we can provide a service to confirm if proposed or completed works requires a warrant and where appropriate complies with the building regulationsLetter of comfort

Is a building warrant required?

It is important that you read this guidance carefully such is the complexity of the technical standards.

You can read the full lists of exemptions which are contained in Schedule 1 and Schedule 3 which are within Section 0 General Technical Handbook.

 [Please remember the rules relating to planning approval differ from building standards so please don't assume planning consent is not required.]

What minor works would you require a building warrant for?

You would require a building warrant for the works described below. Please bear in mind this list is not exhaustive

  • Converting your existing garage into a room
  • Removing your existing conservatory roof and replacing it with a solid roof
  • Work to an external wall of the house to install a door or window (not a straight replacement of an existing door or window)
  • Increasing or reducing the opening size of a door/window opening in an external wall
  • Converting my attic space into a room
  • Converting my attic space into storage room (altering roof timbers, altering loft hatch)
  • Installing a rooflight where you will be altering the roof timbers/trusses
  • Altering/removing loadbearing internal walls (these can be timber construction as well as masonry)
  • Forming a door opening between your house and attached garage
  • Installing external wall insulation to your property.
Definitions

Before you read about the exemptions, it is important that you read the definitions to ensure there is no ambiguity in what these buildings are.

Carport

A roofed building for vehicle storage, which must be fully open on at least 2 sides, except for any roof supports

Conservatory

A building attached to and having an entrance from the house, which is thermally divided from the house, which either has at least 75% of its roof and 50% its external walls made of glass or other translucent material or at least 95% of its roof and 35% of its wall area made of glass or other translucent material.

Covered Area

A roofed building, open on at least 2 sides, except for any roof supports

Greenhouse

A building used mainly for growing plants, which is either detached from the house or attached, but not entered from the house

House

In this part means either a detached, semi or terraced house, not a flat or a maisonette

Porch

A building attached to and providing a covered entrance to a house

Flat

Means a dwelling on one storey forming part of a building from some other part of which it is divided horizontally.

Buildings detached from a house

If you propose to build any of the following single storey buildings, within the curtilage of your house, you will not, subject to the specified conditions, require a building warrant. Separate rules apply if you stay in a flat, see heading below

  1. a garage
  2. garden hut or store
  3. a building used for keeping animals, birds or other livestock for domestic purposes
  4. a carport or a covered area
  5. a greenhouse
  6. a summerhouse
  7. a swimming pool cover
  8. an underground or substantially underground air raid shelter

Specified Conditions

The following conditions apply to both the detached and attached buildings listed above.

  1. In the case of detached buildings 1,2 and 3 above, the proposed building must be at least one metre from the boundary unless it is located more than one metre from the house.
  2. The area of the proposed building must not exceed 30m2 or in the case of a porch and conservatory 8m2
  3. The proposed building must not contain a flue or a combustion appliance i.e. a stove, boiler, etc.
  4. The proposed building must not contain sanitary accommodation i.e. bathroom, shower-room, wc, etc.
  5. In the case of a porch or a conservatory, it must be at least one metre from the boundary
  6. If the building is over 8m2, it must be constructed to comply with the building regulations
Buildings attached to a house

If you propose to build any of the following single storey buildings attached to your house, you will not, subject to the specified conditions, require a building warrant. Separate rules apply if you stay in a flat, see heading below

  1. a conservatory
  2. a porch
  3. a greenhouse
  4. a carport or a covered area

Specified Conditions

The following conditions apply to both the detached and attached buildings listed above.

  1. In the case of detached buildings 1,2 and 3 above, the proposed building must be at least one metre from the boundary unless it is located more than one metre from the house.
  2. The area of the proposed building must not exceed 30m or in the case of a porch and conservatory 8m2
  3. The proposed building must not contain a flue or a combustion appliance i.e. a stove, boiler, etc.
  4. The proposed building must not contain sanitary accommodation i.e. bathroom, shower-room, wc, etc.
  5. In the case of a porch or a conservatory, it must be at least one metre from the boundary
  6. If the building is over 8m2, it must be constructed to comply with the building regulations
Buildings detached from but within the curtilage of a flat or maisonette

If you propose to build any single storey building, next to a flat or maisonette, you will not, subject to the following specified conditions, require a building warrant.

  1. The building must not have an area of more than 30m2
  2. The building must be at least 3m from the flat or maisonette or any other part of the building containing the flat or maisonette
  3. The proposed building must not contain a flue or a combustion appliance i.e. a stove, boiler, etc.
  4. The proposed building must not contain sanitary accommodation i.e. bathroom, shower-room, wc, etc.
  5. If the building is in excess of 8m2, it must be constructed to comply with the building regulations
Internal alterations to houses

A building warrant is not required for alterations within a house (not a flat or maisonette) subject to the following conditions:

  1. The floor area of the house is not increased
  2. There must be no alteration to an external wall, a separating wall, a loadbearing wall, the roof or any other element of structure
  3. The house being altered must have no more than 2 storeys.
Installing Solar or Photovoltaic Panels

A building warrant is not required for the installation of solar or PV panels on the roof of a single or two storey house provided that the existing roof structure is capable of taking the additional loading. If however the roof structure does require strengthening then a building warrant is required.

Other general exemptions

You do not require a building warrant to carry out the following

  • A wall, provided it is not more than 1.2 metres in height
  • A fence, provided it is not greater than 2 metres in height
  • General repair work to replace, by material of the same general type, defective render, cladding linings or coverings or involving the replacement of a fixture or appliance, by another of the same general type
  • Fitting a stairlift within a dwelling
  • Work external to, but immediately adjoining the house (e.g. patio, decking, steps or ramp)
  • Small penetrations through the external walls or roof (e.g. balanced flue from a boiler, sanitary pipework, mechanical extract ducts or pipe vents)
  • Small attachments to the external walls  (e.g.canopies, micro-renewables)
  • Erection, demolition or alteration of non-loadbearing partitions
  • Electrical work
  • An en-suite bathroom or shower room (including associated drainage)
  • A central heating system.
Internal alterations to flats and maisonettes

A building warrant is required for all alterations to flats and maisonettes.