Dangerous structures and demolition

Dangerous structures

Where a building is in such a condition that it may place people in danger, the Council has legal powers to investigate and to require that the building is made safe.

In order to be considered "dangerous", a building must actually pose a threat of causing harm to members of the public. Buildings that are simply dilapidated or run down would not necessarily be considered dangerous. In addition, minor items, such as damaged timber fencing panels, are unlikely to classify as being "dangerous".

There are two principal means by which the Council will deal with a dangerous structure. These are:

  1. When a building is considered to be so dangerous that immediate action is required, Building Control will arrange for warning signs or fencing to be erected in the immediate area. We will not do any building work or repairs, but will contact the owner (if we are able to establish who that is) and a request that they carry out remedial work to make the building safe.
  2. If the building is not imminently dangerous, we will contact the owner and request that, within a reasonable period of time, they make the building safe.

In either case, any costs incurred by the Council will be recovered from the building owner.

Building Control will only require the minimum amount of work necessary to make the building safe. It is rare that buildings are so dangerous that they must be immediately demolished.

Out of hours calls

At present, due to officer capacity issues we are operating in accordance with the Building Act 1984 and will investigate out of hours incidents on the next working day.


With certain exceptions, if you intend to demolish a building, or part of a building, you must give the Building Control Unit six weeks notice, prior to the demolition works commencing. However, the necessary tasks are normally carried out within two weeks.

You must also inform the Health & Safety Executive, owners of neighbouring properties, and local gas, water and electricity providers.

Building Control will inform statutory undertakers or other relevant bodies (e.g. gas, water, electricity, fire and rescue service and adjacent owners) that you have submitted your application. Our Planning and Environmental Health Units are also informed.

The Council will issue a “Counter Notice” to you, which outlines the conditions under which the demolition should take place. These conditions would normally include the following:

  • Weatherproofing and shoring up of adjacent buildings;
  • Removal of rubbish and debris resulting from the works;
  • Repair of any damage to an adjacent building caused by the demolition works;
  • Enclosing the site to prevent unauthorised access;
  • Disconnection and sealing of any redundant drains, and
  • A general statement concerning the security of the site and the manner by which the demolition works should take place.

Inspections are carried out as demolition work proceeds to ensure the conditions of the counter notice are met.

If a building is found to contain dangerous or toxic materials such as asbestos, or such materials are to be removed from site, you must inform the Health and Safety Executive who are the enforcing authorities in these situations.

Problems relating to dust and noise pollution are dealt with by legislation enforced by the Council’s Environmental Health department.

Last Updated on Monday, March 13, 2023