Following overwhelming support in the recent consultation, the Scottish Government has published its plans to create a new building type in the building regulations to exempt huts and bothies up to 30m2. In a new report following their consultation earlier in 2016, the Government noted that consultation responses ranged from 75% to 98% in favour of the proposals to exempt huts.
The Government has stated that it intends to proceed with this legislative change early in 2017, and has made some improvements to the proposals in response to the consultees’ comments: they have taken on board that there is overwhelming support for the inclusion of sleeping platforms in huts, and have expressed a commitment to addressing this.
The Scottish Government report states: “The Scottish Government (SG) in developing the policy considered the main driver of the Reforesting Scotland campaign was to allow huts i.e. buildings with sleeping accommodation to be built in more rural locations, without the need for formal permission (a building warrant) from the local authority or indeed to comply with the building regulations. This was in order to reduce building costs, and make huts and bothies more affordable to more people. The new exempt type proposed maintains key legislative health and safety safeguards for these types of building. This is indeed a move away from other exempt building types in Schedule 1 as sleeping accommodation has been considered in the exempt building type. The SGs main focus is considering public safety for people using and sleeping in huts and bothies.”
A crucial element of maintaining key health and safety safeguards will be the production of a Good Practice Guide by Reforesting Scotland. We are hoping to finalise this document in Spring 2017. In order to get the exemptions, hut builders will be responsible for ensuring that their building meets the good practice standards set out in our guide. This will ensure that the health and safety of hut builders and occupants are not compromised by the freedoms afforded by the new exemptions.
The Scottish Government response to the consultation on the introduction of regulatory concessions for huts and bothies in the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004 has been published on the Scottish Government website at http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0051/00511710.pdf