Health and safety - buildings - dangerous structures

Take care of your buildings

Many buildings in the Stirling area suffer if they are not properly and regularly maintained - especially the older ones.

Putting off repairs may save money in the short terms but any delay will inevitably result in an even bigger bill later on as your building continues to deteriorate.  Dealing with defects as they arise really is the most cost effective way of looking after your building.

The effects of winter

It's a good idea to check over your building before the start of winter and attend to any minor problems as these will only be made worse by bad weather.  Last winter saw a number of buildings suffer as a result of the snow and severe temperatures.  Always inspect your building after spells of bad weather, looking out for loose/ missing slates or tiles: loose masonry etc. and remember to include boundary walls and fences in your checks.

Shared responsibility

Particular problems can occur where buildings are in shared ownership and the inaction of one or more people or businesses affects others.  It is really important for owners to get together and co-operate to ensure that common repairs, such as roofs in flats or tenements, are carried out.  It is also important for owners to realise that disrepair of their property can adversely effect an adjoining property.

What we can do

Local authorities have powers to require repairs to be carried out in a variety of circumstances including:

  • Failure of an owner to contribute to common repairs
  • Disrepair of one property affecting an adjoining property
  • Disrepair which is likely to cause further deterioration of a building
  • Immediate action is needed for reasons of safety or to prevent damage e.g. a burst pipe in the property above
  • Where there is a public health issue e.g. penetrating dampness
  • Where there is a risk that a building will become dangerous if a repair is not carried out e.g. crumbling masonry above a pavement or even garden walls that have become defective

Where necessary, our Housing Service and Environmental Health Service can take action against owners who fail to maintain their property to a satisfactory standard, depending on the particular circumstances.  Building owners should be aware that failure to carry out any works required in some formal notices served by the Local Authority is an offence that can be subject to prosecution.  Local authorities also have powers to prevent occupancy of houses that fail to meet a minimum tolerable standard with regard to human habitation.  For advice on these matters, relating to defective property, phone the Environmental Health Service on 01786 404040 and ask for the Public Health Team.

Dangerous buildings

If your building deteriorates to the extent it becomes dangerous the Council's Building Standards Service has powers to ensure that is made safe, if necessary by carrying out the works and recovering the costs from the owner/s.  For advice on dangerous buildings phone the Building Standards Service on 01786 404040.

Also, as a building owner, you can be held responsible, if someone is injured as a result of disrepair of your property.

Grant assistance for general repairs is no longer available so owners must now accept their legal responsibilities and make sure that their properties are maintained to a reasonable state of repair.

Repairs

To assist homeowners with meeting these responsibilities, the Housing Service offer free information and advice on a range of repair works, improvement works and energy efficiency.  For details contact the Housing Service on 01786 404040 and ask to speak to Private Sector Housing Team.