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Highways Act 1980

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168 Building operations affecting public safety.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)If in the course of the carrying out of any building operation in or near a street there occurs an accident which—

(a)gives rise to the risk of serious bodily injury to a person in the street, whether or not the death or disablement of any person is caused thereby; or

(b)would have given rise to such risk but for the fact that a local authority or highway authority had in the exercise of their powers under [F1section 78 of the Building Act 1984] (emergency measures to deal with dangerous buildings) or any other enactment taken steps to ensure that if an accident occurred it would not give rise to such risk,

then, subject to the provisions of this section, the owner of the land or building on which the building operation is being carried out is, without prejudice to any liability to which he or any other person may be subject apart from this section, guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding [F2level 5 on the standard scale].

(2)Where the commission by any person of an offence under this section is due to the act or default of some other person, that other person is guilty of the offence, and a person may be charged with and convicted of the offence by virtue of this subsection whether or not proceedings are taken against the first-mentioned person.

(3)In any proceedings for an offence under this section it is a defence, subject to subsection (4) below, for the person charged to prove—

(a)that he took all reasonable precautions to secure that the building operation was so carried out as to avoid causing danger to persons in a street; or

(b)that the commission of the offence was due to the act or default of another person and that he took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of such an offence by himself or any person under his control.

(4)A person charged with an offence under this section is not, without leave of the court, entitled to rely on the defence provided by subsection (3)(b) above unless, within a period ending 7 clear days before the hearing, he has served on the prosecutor a notice in writing giving such information identifying or assisting in the identification of that other person as was then in his possession.

(5)In this section “building operation” means the construction, structural alteration, repair or maintenance of a building (including re-pointing, external re-decoration and external cleaning), the demolition of a building, the preparation for, and laying the foundations of, an intended building and the erection or dismantling of cranes or scaffolding.

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