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Building Act 1984

The Building Act 1984 is the enabling Act under which the Building Regulations have been made. The Secretary of State, under the power given in the Building Act 1984, may for any purposes of:

  • securing the health, safety, welfare and convenience of persons in or about buildings and of others who may be affected by buildings or matters connected with buildings
  • furthering the conservation of fuel and power
  • preventing waste, undue consumption, misuse or contamination of water

Make regulations with respect to the design and construction of buildings and the provision of services, fittings and equipment in or in connection with buildings. The current regulations governing these are the Building Regulations 2010 (SI 2000/2531) (as amended).

The powers to enforce the Building Regulations are contained in the Act. The key sections to observe are:

Section 35

Any person contravening a provision contained in the building regulations is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale laid down by the Criminal Justice Act 1982.

Section 36

In addition to section 35, the local authority may serve a notice on the owner to pull down or alter work carried out in contravention of the regulations. Should the owner fail to comply within 28 days with this notice, the Authority may carry out the work and charge the cost to the owner.

There are various other provisions about buildings in Part III of the Act. Sections 77 and 78 deal with dangerous buildings and structures and sections 80 to 83 outline the requirements for demolition.

Section 80

This section of the Act applies to the demolition of the whole or part of any building except a building subject to a demolition order or obstructive building order under the Housing Act 1985, the internal parts of a building which is occupied and is intended to continue to be occupied, a building which is no more than 1750 cubic feet in area, or a greenhouse, conservatory, shed, prefabricated garage or other agricultural building. 

In all other instances, any person intending to carry out demolition work should submit a notice   to the local authority stating their intentions, and should not commence any demolition work unless the local authority has issued a notice under Section 81 of the Act, or the relevant period of time has expired (six weeks from the submission of a notice to the local authority, or seven days from the issue of a demolition order by a local authority).

Section 81

Under this section the local authority may serve a demolition notice on a person who is intending to demolish or has commenced demolishing a building to which Section 80 of the Act applies.  A notice may also be served on a person who appears not to be complying with an order made under Section 77 (Dangerous Buildings) or Section 79 (Ruinous or Dilapidated Buildings and Neglected Sites) of the Act. However in the City of London we deal with dangerous and ruinous structures under the provisions of the London Building Acts (Amendment) Act 1939, Part VII: Dangerous and neglected structures.

A notice made under Section 81 may require the person to whom it is given to carry out certain activities as part of the demolition process.  This may include shoring up neighbouring buildings, weatherproofing any exposed surfaces to neighbouring buildings, and removing all waste and rubbish created by the demolition.

For further information please see our demolition control and advice section.

18 May 2012
Last Modified:
06 July 2016