A new Building Control regime comes into force on 1 October 2023 – see our news page for more details.

Dangerous Structures

Haringey Council has powers to deal with dangerous structures under the London Local Authorities Act 2000 and the London Building Acts (Amendment) Act, 1939), so that all structures within the borough that are considered dangerous to the general public are made safe as soon as possible.

Buildings can become dangerous at any time and for many reasons, ranging from old age, ground movement, poor maintenance, vehicle impact, vandalism or design defects, to more dramatic causes such as fire, explosion or storm damage.

While Building Control surveyors have powers to deal with dangerous structures, they are not the enforcing authority for unsafe working practices on construction sites. See the links below to contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and/or identify who the correct authority to contact is depending on your concerns.

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What is a Dangerous Structure?

The term 'dangerous structure' covers not only buildings or parts of buildings, for example loose slates or tiles, but things such as garden walls, fences or hoardings adjacent to a public highway. In fact, any structure is dangerous if it could cause somebody to be injured because of its condition.

Dangerous structures fall mainly into two categories:

  • Imminently: structures which are at risk of collapse next to the public highway and must be secured for public safety. The owner will normally be charged for emergency works carried out in these cases
  • Hazardous: structures which, following a survey, are deemed unstable but not imminently dangerous. In these cases the owner is given time to remove the danger. Failure to do so may result in a Magistrates Court Order being obtained

Haringey Building Control works closely with the Police, Fire Brigade and other emergency services, as well as others such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency. Information about these agencies can be found on their websites - see the external links section below.

Defective garden walls and fences between properties not adjacent to the public highway, are considered an issue to be resolved between neighbours (a civil matter).

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How do I report a Dangerous Structure?

You can report the dangerous structure directly to Building Control, either in person, by telephone or by completing our online form. Important: do not use the online form to report dangerous structures where the public are at immediate risk as Building Control will not inspect the reported dangerous structure until the next working day.

To report a dangerous structure

  • During normal working hours: 9am to 5pm
    Tel 020 8489 5504
  • Outside of normal working hours
    Tel 020 8489 0000

Report a dangerous structure Opens in a new window

Important: this form should not be used where an immediate inspection is required

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What will Building Control do?

The Building Control surveyor will visit the site to inspect the structure and decide the best action to be taken to remove the danger. The Surveyor can ask a building owner to carry out whatever work is required to make a building safe, or - when needed - employ a contractor to carry out whatever work is necessary to remove the danger. In extreme cases this can result in demolition of the building itself.

A barrier can be put around the area surrounding a structure to ensure safety is maintained whilst the structure is being dealt with. If a structure is next to a public highway and considered imminently dangerous and likely to collapse, the Building Control surveyor may arrange for a builder to remove the danger as soon as possible, normally on the same day. All costs are recoverable from the owner of the property.

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Page last updated:

August 14, 2023