How to appeal enforcement of Building Regulations

Building Regulations are rules about safety, health, welfare and convenience for people in and around buildings. The regulations also deal with conserving fuel and power, protecting and enhancing the environment and promoting sustainable development.

Breaking the Building Regulations

Breaking the building regulations can happen when: 

  • you don't lodge plans before you start the building work
  • the builder doesn't give the necessary notice during work stages
  • you fail to meet building regulation requirements during site work

When you or a builder break a regulation, it's described as a 'contravention'.

Council powers

Building Control in the local council is responsible for dealing  with breaches of building regulations.

They'll ask a builder to rectify a contravention. If the builder doesn't rectify what's wrong with the work, the council can take legal action.

Where building work doesn't meet the regulations, the council has authority to serve a Building Regulations Contravention Notice.

Building Regulations Contravention Notice

The notice explains:

  • the contravention
  • how long you have to alter, remove or rectify the defective work

The council usually gives you 28 days to alter, remove or rectify the work.

How to respond to a contravention notice

When you receive a contravention notice, you need to make one of three responses: 

  • comply with the notice
  • challenge the notice
  • appeal the notice

Complying with the notice

To comply, you need to alter, remove or rectify the defective work within 28 days.

Challenging the notice

To challenge the notice, you need to ask an expert to write a report with reasons why the council should not have  given a contravention notice. You need to send the report to the council. If they reject the report, you can appeal their decision.

Appealing the notice

You appeal to the Department of Finance's Building Regulations Unit against a contravention notice from the council.  You need to appeal the notice within 28 days.

You can also appeal a council's decision to:

  • reject plans
  • refuse to relax Building Regulations
  • deem your plans include materials unsuitable for permanent buildings

You have 56 days to appeal rejected plans.

Department of Finance
Building Regulations Unit
Level 3, Northland House
3 - 5A Fredrick Street
Belfast
BT1 2NR

The council's Building Control office can explain how to appeal.

Many councils and groups in Northern Ireland have formally adopted the principles of the Enforcement Concordat published by the Home Office. For more information, contact your local council:

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