Guidance and advice

The Technical Handbooks

Reasonable standards

The Building Regulations and Technical Handbooks issued by the Scottish Government provide reasonable standards for securing the health, safety, welfare and convenience of people in and around buildings. They also aim to conserve fuel and power, and to further sustainable development.

How to comply with the Building Regulations

The Building Regulations are mandatory, but the choice of how to comply lies with the applicant. Following the advice in the Technical Handbooks is likely to be the normal way of complying with the Building Regulations. However, it is acceptable to use other methods of compliance, provided they satisfy the regulations.

When assessing your building warrant application, we refer to the guidance on achieving the standards contained in the relevant Technical Handbook.

The standards themselves are in the form of 'expanded functional standards' within the Technical Handbooks. These describe the functions a building should perform. An example of an expanded functional standard is 'providing resistance to the spread of fire'.

Technical Handbooks

There are two volumes of the Handbook available:

  • Domestic Technical Handbook (for houses and flats)
  • Non-domestic Technical Handbook (for commercial and industrial buildings)

Hard copies of the Technical Handbooks may be available in main libraries. Electronic versions of these documents can be downloaded:

These Technical Handbooks provide practical guidance in terms of the Building Regulations. If you follow the guidance, Midlothian Building Standards will accept that you have complied with the Building Regulations.

Each Handbook is divided into seven distinct technical guidance sections:

  1. Structure - how every building structure must be designed and constructed.
  2. Fire - considers a building in terms of fire safety.
  3. Environment - looks at contamination, risk of radon gas, drainage, elements of construction and ventilation.
  4. Safety - considers access to and within a building, and ensures safe use of a building.
  5. Noise - aims to limit noise transmissions.
  6. Energy - considers energy usage and heat loss from a building.
  7. Sustainability - provides standards to enable higher quality buildings to be created.

Other technical guidance