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Report a dangerous structure to us

We have a duty to investigate and make safe any dangerous structures or buildings. A structure may become dangerous over a long period of time, such as a failing wall or due to a support which has not been installed correctly. Or it may happen all of a sudden such as due to strong winds.

How to report a dangerous structure

If there is a risk to life then call 999 immediately.

In other circumstances:

What powers do we have?

Under Section 77, if it appears to a local authority that a building or structure is in such a condition or is used to carry such loads as to be dangerous, the authority may apply to a magistrates court for an order requiring the owner to:

  • Execute such work as may be necessary to obviate the danger; or
  • If he so elects, demolish the building or structure or part; or
  • Restrict its use

In practice, it is customary to serve an information notice asking the owner to remedy the problem within a stated period, before court action is resorted to. It should also be noted that this section has effect, subject to the provision of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, relating to listed buildings, building preservation orders and conservation areas.

Section 78 provides that, if it appears that immediate action should be taken, the local authority "may take such steps as may be necessary for that purpose". However, Section 78 (2) states that before exercising that power, the local authority shall, if reasonably practicable, give notice of its intention to the owner and occupier.

We can recover any costs incurred in correcting a dangerous structure from the owner.

Emergency measures

Under Section 78 of the Building Act 1984, the Surveyor on duty will attempt to contact the owner and occupier to specify the action that needs to be taken to remove the danger.

Where the owner or occupier either cannot be contacted or when contacted cannot take immediate action to remove the danger, the surveyor on duty will arrange for a contractor from the department's Dangerous Structure List to undertake the necessary works.

In either case, the Surveyor on duty will liaise with other departments and authorities (i.e. highways, police, fire etc) to co-ordinate the necessary controls to enable the work to be carried out.

Following removal of the dangerous structure, the Building Control Services Manager or Principal Building Control Surveyor will prepare a report on the occurrence which will be kept on the Dangerous Structure File and entered onto a database.

Upon receipt of the contractor's invoice, the Building Control Services Manager will arrange for payment to be made through the Finance Department.

The Building Control Services Manager will arrange for an invoice to be issued to the owner or occupier to cover the cost of the contractor's works.

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