Leeds building control attend two dangerous buildings in same street in two days

One of the less well known functions of building control is dealing with buildings or construction work that could threaten public safety. This can often be caused by road traffic accidents or poor quality building work.

So imagine being called to two such incidents – one caused by a car crash and another from unregulated and dangerous building work in the same street – within days of each other! That’s what happened to the Leeds building control team one weekend at the end of June.

Firstly they attended an incident when a car driven by a driver under the influence of drink and drugs crashed into a house causing structural damage. The house was made safe to the public after building control arranged for it to be propped up. 

Then, 48 hours later, they received a call from the fire service requesting their help with a collapsed building in the same street – Florence Street in the city’s Harehills district. No one was sure this wasn’t about the same building until Leeds’s Senior Building Control Surveyor, Ian Lawrence, attended and confirmed it was a different property.

The building work was being done in a dangerous manner and if we had been informed about it we could have advised on safe ways to carry out the building work.
Building Control Manager at Leeds City Council

This time incompetent builders had been illegally inserting a beam without any building control application and without the correct propping. It fell down, taking the front of the building with it. Leeds building control then had to have unstable parts of the building demolished and security fencing installed, to make it safe for the public.

The owners have also been told that rebuilding works will need to be inspected and approved by building control, and the HSE are investigating.

David Pickles, Building Control Manager at Leeds City Council, said, "Luckily no-one was injured in either of these two incidents – but they could have been.

"The building collapse was totally avoidable. The building work was being done in a dangerous manner and if we had been informed about it we could have advised on safe ways to carry out the building work.

"Now the owners are left with a much larger bill to put their building back together. These cases remind everyone that building control is there to protect the public and keep construction safe."

Further information

Find out about some of the other dangerous buildings the LABC network have had to deal with.