Building Demolition Act 1984 - Sections 80-83

Before any preliminary work for demolition takes place, the relevant legislation must be observed and followed.

Anyone who intends to carry out the demolition of a building must inform us in writing. It is illegal to start demolition work unless the council has been notified. The notification must specify which building it relates to, and the demolition to be carried out, but this doesn’t have to be set out on a special form. A description of the proposed demolition could be incorporated on an accompanying building regulation submission form or building notice.

Failure to notify us will prevent us from serving a Demolition Notice. The person notifying the council must send a copy of the notification to:

a. The occupier of any building adjacent to the building to be demolished
b. Any public gas supplier in whose authorised area the demolition is taking place
c. The public electricity supplier in whose authorised area the building is situated
d. Any other person authorised by a licence to supply electricity.

Demolition may legally start after the authority has issued a Demolition Notice under Section 81, or if the authority hasn’t issued a Demolition Notice within six weeks of the date of service of the notice of intent.

It is an offence to begin demolition work without notifying us. However, this does not prevent us serving a Demolition Notice and then beginning proceedings for a fine.

Relevant Period

The notice served by the local authority must be issued within 'the relevant period'. Where a person proposing demolition has served notice upon the local authority under Section 80, the period is six weeks.

Adjacent Premises

The 'owner' and 'occupier' of adjacent premises must be served with a copy of the Section 81 notice. It is important that this is served on the relevant people so that anyone who may be affected are aware of the situation.

Statutory Undertaker

If any services of any statutory undertaker are to be disconnected due to the demolition, then a copy of the notice must be presented to them, i.e. if the work will need the disconnection of:

  • Gas supply
  • Electricity supply
  • Water supply

The Demolition Notice served under Section 81 of the Building Act may require all or any of the following works:

a. To shore up any building adjacent to the building to which the notice relates.

b. To weatherproof any surfaces of an adjacent building which are exposed by the demolition.

c. To repair and make good any damage to an adjacent building caused by the demolition or by the negligent act or omission of any person engaged in it.

d. To remove material or rubbish resulting from the demolition and clearance of the site.

e. To disconnect and seal, at such points as the we may reasonably require, any sewer or drain in or under the building.

f. To remove any sewer or drain, and seal any sewer or drain with which the sewer or drain to be removed is connected.

g. To make good to our satisfaction the surface of the ground disturbed by anything done under paragraphs e) or f) above.

h. To make arrangements with the relevant statutory undertakers for the disconnection of the supply of gas, electricity and water to the building.

i. To make arrangements for burning of structures or materials on the site as may be reasonably required

1.    if the building is or forms part of special premises, by the Health and Safety Executive and the fire authority, and
2.    in any other case, by the fire authority

j. To take steps relating to the conditions subject to which the demolition is to be undertaken, and the condition in which the site is to be left on completion of the demolition, as we may consider reasonably necessary for the protection of the public.

Work involving demolition may also need consent under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended). Different types of demolition (e.g. a small porch and a large warehouse) will involve different rules and procedures.

The planning system is taking a proactive approach towards sustainable construction by prioritising the need to minimise construction and demolition waste and maximising the potential for re-using and recycling all materials involved in any demolition and redevelopment schemes. Any applications involving demolition will need to include information and evidence on the potential for recycling materials. This evidence could include structural surveys. Providing a Building Act notification is insufficient to comply with the Town and Country Planning Act procedures.

You should also check whether there are any other special consents required, e.g. listed building consents or wildlife species licences.

Further information can be found in our Guidance note No.22: Sustainable Building.