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UK Demolition Laws

Demolitions are governed under the Building Act 1984, which requires property owners to give a six-week notice to the local authority before tearing down a building or structure. Building or house demolition usually doesn’t require approval from building regulations, however, if you are demolishing a structure or house exceeding 1,750 cubic metres, you need a demolition notice before commencing the work. Apart from the notice, you may also need planning permission if the house is listed or in a conservation area.

Notice of Demolition Works

Demolition work should not begin without the Section 80 Demolition Notice featured in the Build Act. Even if you are demolishing part of a building, the local authority requires notification of intended demolition, the only exemptions to the notice include:

• You don’t require a demolition notice if you fulfil a demolition order under Part IX in the 1985 Housing Act.

• You don’t need notice if you are demolishing a shed, conservatory, prefabricated garage or greenhouse covering less than 1,750 cubic metres.

• Demolition of agricultural buildings does not require a notice of demolition under the Local Government Finance Act of 1988, Schedule 5. You only need a notice of demolition intent if the structure is attached to a non-agricultural building.

UK Demolition Law

Submitting a Demolition Notice

You can submit a Section 80 Demolition Notice by writing to your local authority specifying the building you want to demolish and detailing the works that to be carried out on the property. A demolition company can help you write the notice and send copies to other stakeholders. For instance, your neighbours living in adjacent houses, the gas suppliers and areas electricity board must get the notice of your demolition project.

While the standard waiting time for the notice is six weeks, the duration varies based on the response from the local authority. Sometimes, the local authority serves a counter-notice to halt the demolition until specific works are completed on the property.  Some of the works recommended by a counter-notice under Section 81 of the Building Act include:

• Shoring up or supporting an adjacent building to prevent it from falling when demolition begins.
• Weatherproofing adjacent buildings and parts that will be exposed during demolition.
• You have to repair the damages caused to your neighbour’s property after demolishing your house.
• Collecting and removing any debris or rubbish accumulated from the demolition process.
• Disconnecting and sealing any sewers under the demolished building. If you remove any drains during demolition, you should seal off the connections and redo the surface disturbed by sewer removal.
• Contacting gas suppliers, electricity and water companies to disconnect the utilities and making arrangements if you intend to burn any materials from the structure.
• Ensuring appropriate actions are taken to protect the public and its amenities during and after demolition.

demolish load bearing wall

Demolition can proceed after six weeks if the local authority doesn’t issue a Section 81 Notice. If you receive a counter-notice, building control officers will visit the demolition site regularly for inspection.

Apart from checking if you comply with the conditions imposed, they also ensure you maintain the health and safety requirements. If you demolish a house without filing a notice for demolition, it could result in a conviction and a fine. Besides, neighbours can take legal action if demolition causes a nuisance. The demolition process is also subject to statutory requirements like the Planning Act 1990, Town and County Planning Act and Health and Safety at Work Act.

UK Demolition laws stipulate the guidelines for demolishing a building without causing disruptions. Sometimes, understanding the permissions and legal requirements is challenging, but you can request a demolition company advise you on the whole demolition process.

Get yourself a few demolition quotes to ensure you understand the full range of services that are on offer to you.

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Call us today on 01322920 053 to get a quote for your next demolition project.

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