The Building Control service is responsible for dealing with dangerous structures. Staff are available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, through the Council's out of hours service and will respond promptly to calls for assistance.
Structures may become dangerous as a result of old age, deterioration or settlement or by more dramatic causes such as explosion, fire, vehicle impact or storm damage.
The Council has powers, under section 78 of the Building Act 1984, to deal with any building or structure that is in a dangerous condition or overloaded.
In the case of imminent danger the Council has powers to take whatever action is necessary to preserve public safety, including fencing off, shoring, scaffolding or even demolition. Costs incurred by the Council can be recovered from the building's owner.
In cases where a less imminent danger exists the Council can report the matter to local Magistrates and obtain a Court order, under Section 77 of the Building Act 1984, requiring the owner of the offending building or structure to make it safe or to demolish it.
If the building or structure is in a conservation area or is listed as being of historic or architectural interest, the court would expect the Council to have first considered solving the problem using its conservation powers.
We always prefer however, to consult with the owner of the building to arrange for the danger to be removed before taking any legal action.
Ruinous or dilapidated structures and sites that are neglected
The Council are empowered by Section 79 of the Building Act 1984 to deal with sites and buildings that are ruinous, dilapidated or neglected.
The owner may be required by the Council to restore or repair the offending site, structure or building; or, if the owner so elects, to demolish the whole or part of the offending structure or building and remove any rubbish where necessary.
Warning: Listed Building or Conservation Area consent must be obtained prior to the demolition of any part of a building that is listed or situated within a conservation area. Planning permission may also be required.
If you wish to report what you feel is a dangerous structure please contact the Building Control Section on 01225 477517. Out of office hours you can call 01225 477477