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Dangerous Buildings and Structures

What is a dangerous building or structure?

The term 'dangerous structure' covers buildings or parts of buildings. It also includes garden walls, fences or hoardings, in fact any built structure that because of its condition could endanger the public

Under the provisions of Sections 77 and 78 Building Act 1984 the local authority has the power to deal with buildings, structures or parts of buildings or structures that are considered to be dangerous.

What makes buildings or structures dangerous?

Buildings, like people, suffer from an ageing process, which can result in the structure becoming weaker. Buildings or structures can become dangerous as a result of poor maintenance, fire, storm, vehicle impact or explosion.

What do you do if you think a building or structure is dangerous?

You need to report the problem directly to us using the contact details below.

Where necessary the council can require the owner of the dangerous structure to make it safe or, in an emergency, take direct action to remove the danger under powers contained in Sections 77 and 78 of The Building Act 1984.

What will building control do about a dangerous building or structure?

If a dangerous structure is reported we will inspect and depending on the situation take a variety of actions as allowed by the Act. With some instances we refer owners to Good Building Guides prepared by the Building Research Establishment or to seek specialist structural advice.

If after an inspection to assess the situation, the building or structure is considered to be imminently dangerous all reasonable steps are taken to contact the owner and if found they are given the opportunity to have the danger removed themselves. If this is not possible or they cannot be found the Council maydo the work. This may consist of simply securing the area or partial or complete demolition.

If the Council is to undertake the work it is empowered by the legislation to recover from the owner all reasonable costs incurred. Another option available when the danger is not imminent is to obtain an order from a Magistrates Court that requires the owner to carry out all works necessary to remove the danger.

Where an item has been raised as a problem the Council does discuss the issue with the responsible person/owner for the problem area as to the suitability of proposed actions but cannot get involved in general areas of advice as it may then be involved in taking Legal Action with regard to the suitability of any advice.

The primary aim of the legislation is to maintain a safe environment, so should you notice what you consider to be a dangerous structure or building please contact us as follows:

Building Act 1984 Section 78

If it appears to a local authority that:-

  • A building or structure, or part of a structure, is in such a state, or is used to carry such large loads, as to be dangerous and

  • Immediate action should be taken to remove the danger, they may take such steps as may be necessary for that purpose

The Council must if reasonably practicable give theowner notice of its intention of action. Action is open to challenge if it is considered that the route of Building Act section 77 should have been followed. All costs incurred are recoverable from the property owner and may be registered as a charge on the local property register.

Building Act 1984 section 77

If it appears to a local authority that a building or structure, or part of a structure, is in such a condition as to be dangerous, the authority may apply to a magistrate’s court and the court may order works necessary to obviate the danger or if the owner so elects he may demolish building or structure or any dangerous part of it.

Temporary Vertical Concrete Barriers

Temporary Vertical Concrete Barriers costs associated with protecting the public from privately owned structures that are deemed to pose a threat to public safety, are recharged to the owner.

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Contact Details

  • Name Civil Engineering, Environmental Management
  • Address Directorate of the Urban Environment, Lister Road Depot, Lister Road, Dudley, West Midlands, DY2 8JW
  • Telephone 0300 555 2345
  • Opening Hours Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Please note that the offices are closed at weekends and Bank Holidays