Do I need permission to demolish a building?

Not all demolition work requires a demolition notice to be submitted to the council. A demolition notice need not be served:

  • for the demolition of an internal part of a building, where the building is occupied and it is intended that it should continue to be occupied;
  • where the external volume of the building does not exceed 50m³;
  • if the building is a greenhouse, shed, conservatory or prefabricated garage;
  • if the building is an agricultural building (as defined by Section 26 of the General Rate Act 1967).
  • If you are in any doubt please ask.

Basic requirements

Anyone intending to undertake the demolition of a building that is not in the above group, should notify the Building Control section of Brighton & Hove City Council. The appropriate form is available to download: Demolition Notice [PDF 55kb] or obtain direct and must be submitted at least six weeks before the demolition is to take place.

You may also need to contact the Council's Planning Development Control section and get prior permission if the demolition involves:

  • a 'Listed Building'
  • is in a 'Conservation Area'
  • is a dwelling house
  • is a building containing a flat
  • is a Residential Home
  • is a Hotel

In all these cases it is advisable to contact Planning as you may need consent under the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 and the Town & Country Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

Trees on the site may be protected by a tree preservation order and conditions on a planning permission may restrict the burning of rubbish.

What happens once I have submitted my notice?

When the council receives notice of a demolition, it will notify the immediate neighbours and the statutory service undertakers. The council will respond to the applicant by serving a 'counter notice' ( Section 81 notice). This sets out the conditions that must be complied with during the course of the demolition process.

This counter notice outlining the council's requirements will be issued as soon as possible. You should not commence demolition until you receive this notice returned from us.

What conditions are usually imposed in the 'Counter Notice'?

The conditions imposed normally require you to carry out works to services and adjoining buildings and to make sure your site is safe and protected. This is to ensure that gas, electricity and water supplies are made safe, redundant drains are sealed, affected buildings are properly supported and weatherproofed. In addition the site is properly secured and on completion, debris is removed and the site left in a secure and safe condition.

The buildings may contain asbestos what should I do?

If during demolition works asbestos material is found, the Health and Safety Executive immediately. Their requirements for safe removal and disposal should be followed by the demolition contractor.

The details of your local office:

Health & Safety Executive
Pheonix House
23-25 Cantelupe Road
East Grinstead
RH19 3BE

Telephone No.: (01342) 334200

Other considerations

The Construction Design and Management Regulations apply to most demolition work. For advice on this legislation contact The Health And Safety Executive at the above address.

The Party Wall act may also apply. If so you should give separate notice under this Act to the adjoining owners. An explanatory leaflet has been published which can be viewed here: Party Wall Act (explanatory leaflet) [PDF 597Kb]

Summary of downloads, links and other relevant information



Other reference:

  • Building Act 1984
  • Highways Act 1980
  • BS:6187 Code of Practice for Demolition
  • Health and Safety at Work booklet- 6E safety in Construction Work Demolition
  • Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation) Act 1990
  • Construction (Working Places) Regulations 1966
  • Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994
  • Section 26 General Rate Act 1967

This list may not be exhaustive and is for guidance only.