The Building (Scotland) Act 2003 gives Aberdeen City Council powers to deal with buildings which pose a danger to the public or which have been neglected. These powers range from
- discussing with an owner what must be done to repair the building
- serving a notice on an owner requiring work to be done
- ordering evictions
- to demolishing buildings in cases where the danger is immediate
The costs of any action by the Council in dealing with dangerous or defective building are recovered from the owner(s) of the building. Staff in the Building Standards Section provide a 24 hour call-out service to the Police and Fire Services where advice is required on the condition of buildings in an emergency.
Demolitions of buildings that are not a danger to the public or part of redevelopment of a site are handled through the Building Standards section of ACC and will give advice to any query. The basic requirements for such a site are that every building to be demolished must be demolished in such a way that all service connections to the building are properly closed off and any neighbouring building is left stable and watertight. When demolition work has been completed and, where no further work is to commence immediately, the person who carried out that work shall ensure that the site is immediately graded and cleared and/or provided with such fences, protective barriers or hoarding as will prevent access. For more detailed information see the Building Standards page.
However a Listed Building or a building in a Conservation Area that may require demolition are covered by the planning legislation and will require to be assessed further. For more detailed information see the Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings pages.
For advice on trees believed to be unsound please see the Tree Management page.
A dangerous building can include all sorts of buildings or structures, in public or private ownership. A dangerous building/structure is where it has become defective: the most common defects include cracking, bulging walls, partially collapsed buildings, items hanging from a building, wind damaged structures, blocked drains, decayed elements of a building (particularly stone) or extensive ingress of water.
As an owner of a building or part of a building you have a liability and a legal responsibility to ensure your building is safe. It also makes sense to make sure it is in good order and is an asset not a liability. Regular inspections or surveys of your building will help you in meeting your obligation to ensure that it is not a hazard and plan for future repairs. A building requires constant maintenance and review. National recommendations are that you should have a full condition survey conducted on your building every 5 years. This is seen as a means of ensuring your building is safe and defects can be attended to.
If you are having construction or refurbishment work done, you may need to notify the Health and Safety Executive and you may have other duties as well. To find out more, please see the HSE - Building Control page.