In the late 1960s, the Northern Ireland Government established a Committee chaired by the Rt Hon R W B McConnell to “examine the existing law for the general regulation of building in Northern Ireland in the light of recent changes in Scotland, England and Wales”.
The Committee’s report, published in March 1970, recommended that the existing control of building through bye-laws and local Acts should be replaced with a new Building Act and Regulations similar to those in place in England & Wales. The new system was established by the enactment of the Building Regulations (Northern Ireland) Order 1972, which was subsequently amended in 1978, before being replaced by the Building Regulations (Northern Ireland) Order 1979 (as amended 1990 and 2009).
Under the 1979 Order, the Department is empowered to write Building Regulations for certain matters set out in the Order. The current regulations are the Building Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 ,which came into operation on 31st October 2012.
Building Regulations set requirements and standards for building that can reasonably be attained, having regard for the health, safety, welfare and convenience of people in or around buildings and others affected by buildings or building matters. They also further the conservation of fuel and power, and make provisions for access to buildings. In addition to our role in writing regulations, we are also the appeals body for all the current appeals procedures defined by the Order. We may also, on request from an applicant, decide to relax or dispense with certain requirements of the building regulations.
The 1979 Order assigns a number of duties and responsibilities to your district council (which are exercised by the council’s Building Control Officers):