Contraventions and Appeals

Building Regulations NI 2012

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Contraventions of Building Regulations can generally be categorised as follows:

  • (a) failure to deposit plans before commencing building works;
  • (b) failure by the builder to give the required notice at specified stages of the work;
  • (c) failure to comply with the requirements of the Building Regulations in carrying out work on site.

The Council has legal powers to deal with each type of contravention. Building Control will seek co-operation with the builder to rectify a contravention but failing this legal action will be taken. Legal action is usually taken only as a last resort, normally after all other avenues for resolving a contravention have been exhausted. Where the building work does not comply with the Building Regulations the Council is empowered to serve a Building Regulations Contravention Notice. The Notice will specify the contravention and the period of time, normally 28 days, within which work must be made good, altered or removed. On receipt of a Contravention Notice there are three courses of action open:

  1. Compliance with the Notice – this will involve making good or removing the defective work.
  2. Challenging the Notice – this will involve obtaining a report from a suitably qualified person who will set out reasons why the Notice should not have been served. This report should be submitted to the Council. If the Council refuses to accept it there is a right of appeal.
  3. Appealing to the Department of Finance and Personnel – this is a direct appeal to the Department against the service of the Notice of Contravention.

The address for submitting an appeal to the Department is:

Building Standards Branch
Properties Division
Department of Finance
Floor 3 Northland House
1-7 Bedford Street 3 - 5A Frederick Street
Belfast, BT1 2NR

You may appeal to the Department of the Finance and Personnel against a decision of the District Council to:

  • (a) reject plans; or
  • (b) serve a Contravention Notice in respect of defective work.

In respect of (a) an appeal must be lodged with the Department within 56 days of the date of notification of the decision. With respect to (b), Contravention Notices, the period for lodging an appeal is 28 days. The Building Control Department will advise you on the procedure to be followed in lodging an appeal or for further information you can check the Department of Finance and Personnel website. In our role of protecting people and the environment and ensuring access to buildings for everyone, it may be that on some occasions we will have to resort to legal action to enforce the Building Regulations. Usually these situations are quickly resolved by persuasion. There are instances where some people do not respond to this approach. In order to protect the interests of all people using the property – now and in the future – Building Control must ensure that Building Regulations are complied with. Enforcement will be carried out in an open, fair and equitable manner. Building Control personnel are open to innovative ideas and solutions and are flexible in their approach. Building Control will not compromise on health and safety issues. Many Councils and Groups in Northern Ireland have formally adopted the principles of the Enforcement Concordat published by the Home Office.