About the Scheme


The Building (Scotland) Act 2003 provides the opportunity for design professionals practising in Scotland to be able to certify that their design complies with the guidance in one or more Sections of the Technical Standards. Certification comes with responsibility and all Approved Certifiers of Design must demonstrate their competency with the appropriate Section of the Technical Standards. Issuing a Certificate of Design means that the Warrant application fee can be reduced, and the local authority does not need to scrutinise compliance with that particular Section of the Technical Standards.

Only Approved Certifiers of Design who have gained membership of a Certification Scheme approved by Scottish Ministers can issue Certificates of Design.


The RIAS received Ministerial approval on 21st August 2007 to provide a Section 6 – Energy (Domestic) Certification Scheme and has been actively accepting applications and approving Certifiers of Design (Section 6 – Energy) Domestic since 1st October 2007. This Scheme has now been joined by one to approve Certifiers of Design (Section 6 Non-domestic) Energy.

Where provided, Section 6 – Energy Certificates must be accepted by local authorities as part of a Building Warrant application. They guarantee that the design as presented is compliant with the guidance in Section 6 – Energy of the Technical Standards.

Applying for Membership

The Domestic and Non-domestic (Section 6 – Energy) Schemes are available to all competent and experience construction professionals. All applicants to the Schemes are required to complete a series of competency tests to ensure a minimum threshold of expertise is met by all.

Membership has four stages:

  1. Initial application
  2. On-line competency tests
  3. Practical calculation test / confirmation of prior competency
  4. Identity and Approved Body checks

On initial application many applicants will pre-qualify. These are:

  1. Architects registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB)
  2. Chartered Members of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (MCIAT)
  3. Corporate Members of and Low Carbon Consultants (LCCs) registered with, the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)
  4. Existing Approved Certifiers of Design, whether they are moving Scheme or adding an additional Scheme

For those who do not pre-qualify they will be asked to provide evidence that they have:

  1. A suitable constructed related qualification at NVQ / SVQ level IV, such as a HND or above
  2. A minimum of 5 years of experience in the design of either domestic or non-domestic buildings (depending on the Scheme applied for)
  3. Evidence of specific training in a relevant calculation methodology or demonstration that at least 2 building warrants have been granted based on the applicant’s energy calculations (SAP or iSBEM etc).

On-line Tests

Once an application has been accepted, the applicant is provided with the Scheme Guidance, a series of Learning Modules and relevant information and must then complete a series of six on-line tests, to demonstrate a familiarity and understanding of the process of certification, the relevant Sections of the Technical Standards and the documents that support them, such as the Domestic and Non-domestic Building Services Compliance Guides for Scotland.

Practical Calculation Test

At the heart of demonstrating compliance for new buildings is the ability to accurately calculate the energy performance of a building. Applicants to the Domestic Scheme will be required to complete a SAP calculation based on a test building provided by the Scheme, using one of the Scottish Government approved domestic software packages which are available. Applicants to the Non-domestic Scheme who have previous training in using one of the Scottish Government approved non-domestic software packages will be asked to provide evidence of this. Alternatively, RIAS-regs have twinned with Strathclyde University who have prepared a series of on-line tutorials and a practical calculation test using iSBEM.

Further details of these can be found at: https://onlineshop.strath.ac.uk/product-catalogue/engineering-faculty/mechanical-aerospace-engineering/courses/riascibse-certifier-of-design-training

Approved Bodies

Once an applicant has demonstrated competency they can become an Approved Certifier of Design once they have provided details of their Approved Body. The Approved Body is the legal entity which issues the Certifies of Design created by the Approved Certifier of Design. Usually this will be the Approved Certifier of Design’s practice or employer. Where an Approved Certifier of Design is a sole practitioner they are also their own Approved Body.

The Approved Body must provide a copy of their Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) and confirm that they will support the Approved Certifier of Design by providing them with the resources they need. The Approved Certifier of Design must also provide sufficient information to allow RIAS-Design Certification to undertake an Identity Check.

Energy Performance Certificates

Approved Certifiers of Design (Section 6 – Energy) who wish to lodge EPCs with the Scottish EPC Register, must become a Member of an Approved Organisation. RIAS-regs no longer operates as an Approved Organisation of a New Build Domestic Energy Assessment Scheme. A full list of those who do, can be found at: https://www.gov.scot/Topics/Built-Environment/Building/Building-standards/enerperfor/epcorgprg

Approved Certifiers of Design (Domestic) can opt in to the Scheme provided by Quidos, without further training and lodge EPCs for new domestic buildings. For details of the Quidos Scheme follow the link to: https://quidos.co.uk/ Quidos have agreed to waive their membership fee for the first 12 months of Membership, but Members should check that their choice of SAP software is supported by the Approved Organisation of their choice.

Approved Certifiers of Design (Non-domestic) can opt in to be a CIBSE Low Carbon Consultant (if not already registered) and lodge EPCs for new non-domestic buildings with the Scottish EPC Register. For details of the CIBSE Scheme follow the link to: https://www.cibsecertification.co.uk/About-us/About-Energy-Certificates/Energy-Performance-Certificates

Scheme Benefits

  1. As an Approved Certifier of Design, you are able to retain control of the energy aspects of your projects, provide clients with an enhanced service or help design teams optimise their energy strategies
  2. In an increasingly complex regulatory environment, certification minimises the time taken by local authorities to verify applications
  3. Where the intention is to lodge a Certificate of Design for Section 6, the warrant fee can be discounted by 10% for each Section of the Technical Standards which is certified. Where a project includes both Domestic and Non-domestic elements, both require to be certified
  4. Certificates of Design can be issued for all forms of construction, included alterations & extensions, conversions and new builds
  5. On completion of new buildings Approved Certifiers of Design who have joined an Approved Organisation can lodge Energy Performance Certificates
  6. Approved Certifiers of Design can join multiple Schemes provided by RIAS-regs.co.uk
  7. Approved Certifiers of Design will be kept up to date with the latest changes to the Technical Standards and will have access to Technical Advice.

The first step to becoming Approved Certifier of Design of Section 6 (Domestic) is to register your interest online by using the Register Now link. This will also allow the RIAS to keep you informed of developments.