Dangerous buildings and structures
Dangerous buildings and structures

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Dangerous buildings and structures
  • Powers of the local authority
  • Meaning of 'dangerous building or structure'
  • Building Act 1984, s 77—court order
  • Building Act 1984, s 78—emergency measures
  • Difference between ss 77 and 78
  • Environmental Protection Act 1990, s 80—statutory nuisance
  • Building Act 1984, s 76—defective premises
  • Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, ss 21 and 22—improvement and prohibition notice

Powers of the local authority

The local authority has powers to deal with dangerous buildings under a number of statutes:

  1. section 77 of the Building Act 1984 (BA 1984)—court order

  2. BA 1984, s 78—emergency measures

  3. BA 1984, s 76—defective premises

  4. Environmental Protection Act 1990, s 80—statutory nuisance

  5. sections 21 and 22 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA 1974)—improvement and prohibition notice

Meaning of 'dangerous building or structure'

The term 'dangerous structure' covers any building, part of a building or other structure, where it poses a serious danger to the public. Examples of ways that the building or structure could be dangerous include loose slates/tiles, vehicle damage/collapsing walls, loose chimneys, leaning garden walls, broken hoarding, etc.

Buildings or structures can become dangerous as a result of poor maintenance, fire, storm, vehicle impact or explosion. The term does not cover buildings which are simply dilapidated or run down (for example due to falling trees), holes in or uneven roads/footpaths and loose manhole covers etc.

Building Act 1984, s 77—court order

Under BA 1984, s 77(1), if it appears to a local authority that a building or structure, or part of a building or structure, is in such a condition, or is used to carry such loads, as to be dangerous, the authority may apply