Where a building or other structure is in such a bad condition that it places people in danger, we have the legal power to investigate and to take whatever action is necessary to remove the danger.
Our Building Control service provides responses to reports of dangerous buildings and structures. In the case of emergency situations only, this service is provided, 24 hours a day on every day of the year.
When will the council take action?
Depending on how dangerous the structure is, the law allows us to take the following action:
- Emergency: Without prior notification to the owner, we will employ a contractor to do the minimum amount of work necessary to remove the danger.
Imminent: We will try to contact the owner and ask that they remove the danger immediately. failing that, formal notice will be served on the owner requiring that the danger is removed within a week. We will then employ a contractor to do the minimum amount of work necessary to remove the danger.
Our legal power does not mean that we have to take action however and we will decide a course of action depending on the urgency of the situation.
We will recover all costs incurred when appropriate. If either of the above situations occur the owner will later be notified of the action and the fact that he/she is liable for our full costs.
What should I do if my property is a dangerous structure?
If you are concerned that part of your property may be dangerous, then you should deal with it yourself through properly qualified professionals such as structural engineers, architects and builders.
Building Control will not deal with arguments between neighbours and civil disputes and between tenants and landlords. Therefore, structures that are at risk of of collapsing have the potential to harm members of the public are the only ones that should be reported to Building Control.
What should I do if I notice a dangerous structure?
If you are aware of something that has been in a poor state of repair, for example a bowed wall, and it has been that way for some time it is unlikely to constitute an immediate danger so should be reported to the owner directly as a civil matter.
If an owner is made aware that a certain part of or all of a structure they own is in a poor state and will eventually become dangerous then they should take action before it deteriorates to a state where Building Control need to be involved.
Defective premises, ruinous and dilapidated buildings and neglected sites
The following legislation may be used in some circumstances, often there is crossing of legislation and we will work across the various services to arrive at the most effective solution.
- Building Act: 1984
- Environmental Protection Act: 1990
- Town & Country Planning Act 1990
- The Highways Act
Under the Local Government Act: 1982, section 29; if a building is unoccupied or the occupier is temporarily absent we may take action to secure the premise to prevent unlawful access or prevent it becoming a danger to public health.
This is normally only carried out where the owner and/or occupier has failed to comply with a notice issued. This function is carried out during office hours only by the Private Housing Section:
Tel: 01509 634651
Last updated: Mon 29th February, 2016 @ 16:09