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Dangerous structures and demolitions

Buildings become dangerous for many reasons e.g. age, deterioration, settlement, impact by vehicles, explosion or fire damage. Other dangers can come from loose masonry or slates and unstable garden boundary walls. The council operates an emergency service and officers are available 24 hours a day to deal with any situation which may arise. Working closely with the emergency services, the surveyor will act upon information received.

The surveyor will visit the site and take whatever action necessary, using powers available under section 77 and 78 of the Building Act 1984. Action can result in the danger being removed immediately, or the provision of temporary support, the closing of a highway or, if the surveyor considers that there is no imminent danger, the owner of the building or structure being served with a notice requiring remedial work to be undertaken within a prescribed period (usually 21 days). If the owner fails to comply with the notice within the time permitted, the council may then apply to the Magistrates Court for an order enforcing the owner to execute the works. The procedure is to safeguard the general public against injury or worse.

To report a dangerous structure during normal office hours please contact the Building Control team.

Please note - if a low or medium risk dangerous structure is reported electronically outside of normal office hours, it will not be processed until the office is open. In such circumstances, a surveyor will visit the site on the first day that the office is open following the report being submitted. All high risk situations must be reported using the emergency contact numbers.

Demolition of a building or structure

The Building Act 1984 section 80 requires anyone intending to demolish all or part of a building (except exempt buildings i.e. smaller than 1750 cubic feet) to notify the local authority. The terms of any notice served by the local authority must be complied with and a person is liable to a fine if work is commenced before receiving the Counter Notice under section 81 of the Act, or the relevant period (six weeks) has expired.

Demolition notice online form

The Act requires the notice to be sent, or given, to the following bodies where applicable:

  • The owner
  • The owners of adjacent buildings
  • The Health and Safety Executive (under CDM Regulation)
  • Statutory undertakers (disconnection of gas, water, electricity)
  • And in certain circumstances to liaise with the fire authority and/or police

The local authority has power to serve a Notice (under Section 81 of the Act) about demolition on a person on whom a demolition order has been served, who appears not to be complying with an order, or who appears to have begun demolition. Such Notice must also be sent to the adjoining owners.

The notice requires thought to be given to:

  • any adjacent buildings needing to be shored up
  • any adjacent building in need of weatherproofing or repair of any exposed surfaces
  • any adjacent building needing to be made good following damage caused by the demolition
  • removal of waste and rubbish from site (covered by the Control of Pollution Act 1990 part 2)
  • disconnection and sealing of drains or sewers
  • burning of materials and rubbish
  • making good to the surface of the ground
  • noise and general nuisance to be controlled (Enforceable by the Environmental Health Department)
  • on completion of the demolition the site is to be left protected from the public and prevention of public

Demolition will also require approval under the Town and County Planning Act 1990 for listed buildings, building in the ground of listed buildings and for works in a conservation area.

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provision) Act 1982, Section 29, gives the local authority power to protect a building if it is likely to become a danger to Public Health, if the owner is absent, or if the building is unsecured. Sometimes this can be done dually with the Environmental Health Department. This may simply be securing of windows and door or fencing off access to the property or more seriously, the demolition of a dangerous building.