Building Standards Section 6 (Scotland)

Building Standards Section 6 Compliance (Scotland)

If you are involved with the construction of new buildings or dwellings in Scotland, you will need to comply with Section 6 of the Building Standards  which covers energy in residential and commercial buildings.

Section 6 is split into two 'Technical Handbooks' one for domestic, the other for non-domestic, which are detailed below.

The methods for compliance covered in section 6 will be similar if not the same as other UK Building Regulations. Low carbon and the overall reduction of carbon emissions is factored into all new build projects in Scotland. The standards required for building compliance set by Section 6 may differ to other building regulation documents and are often considered to be quite stringent.


Section 6 Technical Handbook- Domestic 

This technical document covers the conservation of energy within dwellings and buildings consisting of dwellings.

As with other parts of the UK, Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) is used for measuring the energy performance of new dwellings. SAP can determine the energy performance and CO2 emissions of individual dwellings, which is a key concern for the government and their carbon emission targets.

New Dwellings, Section 6

SAP is used to calculate a Target Emission Rate (TER) which is determined based on a 'notional dwelling' of the same shape and size. A new build property must achieve a Dwelling Emission Rate (DER) which is equal to or lower than the TER in order to comply with Section 6 at design stage and also after the property is constructed.

Section 6 also provides a classification for dwellings in terms of their sustainability from Bronze all the way to Platinum. 

Existing Dwellings, Section 6

Alterations to a building or extensions to a dwelling could result in SAP Calculations for Building Standards compliance. 

Change of Use:  Changes in the occupation or use of the building (commonly known as conversions) may require SAP Calculations in order to demonstrate the energy performance of the property. An example of this could be, a hotel converting to a dwelling or a division of a house into multiple flats.

Building Extension: Extensions with glazing amounting to 25% or more, of the total extension floor area, may require SAP Calculations to demonstrate compliance.

SAP Calculations for Scotland >


Section 6 Technical Handbook- Non-Domestic 

This technical document covers the conservation of energy within non-dwellings in Scotland.

The National Calculation Methodology used for energy ratings of non-dwellings in Scotland is Simplified Building Energy Modelling (SBEM). SBEM is approved for the calculation of carbon dioxide emissions, and is submitted as part of the building warrant application to a Verifier. 

New Buildings, Section 6

SBEM Calculations can provide a Target Emission Rate (TER) which is determined based on a 'notional dwelling' of the same shape and size. The actual building that is constructed must achieve a Building Emission Rate (BER) which is equal to or lower than the TER in order to comply with Section 6 at design stage and also after the propety is constructed.

Existing Buildings, Section 6

Significant alterations to a building and large extensions will require SBEM Calculations for Building Standards compliance. 

Building Conversion: Section 6 also covers the conversion/refurbishment of unheated and heated buildings, and outlines the target U-Values for each thermal element. An SBEM Calculation can determine the U-Values for the new/retained thermal elements, which can be checked against the standards within the Technical Booklet. 

Building Extension: Extensions over 100m2 and account for more than 25% of the total floor area of the existing building, will require an SBEM Calculation.

SBEM Calculations for Scotland >

Related Links

SAP Calculations > SBEM Calculations >

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