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Dangerous structures

Richmond upon Thames Borough Council have statutory duties to ensure that:

  • All structures within the Borough which are considered dangerous are made safe with the shortest possible delay.
  • Any demolition work undertaken within the Borough is carried out with the necessary safety precautions, and in such a way that adjacent properties where appropriate are made safe and

Buildings can become dangerous for a variety of reasons ranging from settlement or old age, vehicle impact, vandalism or design defects, to more dramatic causes such as fire, explosion or storm damage. The Surveyor can request a building owner to undertake whatever work is required to make a building safe or, when the need arises, employ a contractor to carry out whatever work is necessary to remedy a dangerous situation. In extreme cases this can result in demolition of the building itself. Buildings can become dangerous at any time. In order to deal with this a Building Control Surveyor is on call day and night and there is a charge for the service.

What is a dangerous structure?

The term 'Dangerous structure' covers not only buildings or parts of buildings i.e. loose slates or tiles, but such things as garden walls, fences or hoardings. In fact, any structure which could by its condition endanger persons.

Dangerous structures fall mainly into two categories:

  1. Imminently: structures which are at risk of collapse and must be secured for public safety. The owner will normally be recharged for emergency works carried out in these cases.
  2. Hazardous: structures which from a survey are unstable but not imminently dangerous. In these cases the owner is given a reasonable time to remove the danger. Failure to respond may result in a Magistrates Court Order being obtained.

The Building Control Service work closely with the Police, Fire and other emergency services and external government agencies such as the HSE and the Environmental Agency.

What do I do if I consider a structure to be dangerous?

Report the matter directly to Richmond Building Control Services. Outside of normal working hours you should ring the Council's emergency number, 020 8891 7999.

The Council has statutory duties to deal with dangerous structures under Sections 61-65 of The London Building Act (Amendment Act) 1939.

What will the Building Control Surveyor do?

The Building Control Surveyor will visit the site to inspect the structure and to arrange for appropriate action to be taken to remove any danger.

If the structure is considered potentially dangerous, the owner of the property will be located and requested to arrange for the structure to be removed or repaired. The area surrounding the structure is often cordoned off to ensure safety is maintained whilst the structure is being dealt with.

If the structure is considered immediately dangerous and likely to collapse, the Building Control Surveyor will arrange for a builder to remove or repair the structure as soon as possible, normally on the same day. The builders costs are recoverable from the owner of the property.

Remember if in doubt ring us!

If you consider that a structure of any type or size may be dangerous, contact the Building Control Team.

We are always happy to inspect and advise at any time. You may be saving someone from injury.

Updated: 23 August 2022

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