The Building Regulations (NI) Order 1979 currently offers four types of appeal against particular decisions of your district council.

Types of appeals

In all cases, except on a point of law, the department is the Appeals Body and our decision is final. The department aims to make a decision on 90 per cent of appeals made to it within 12 weeks of receipt of all relevant information.

Rejection of plans

If your application is rejected by the district council, or if no decision has been taken by them within 56 days from the date of the application (following which time your application may be considered to have been rejected), you have the right to appeal in writing to the department, setting out your grounds for appeal.

A copy of your appeal should also be sent to the district council who are then required to forward a copy of your application along with all your accompanying documents, and the district councils relevant written representation to the department. If you have received notice of rejection, you have 56 days from the date of that notice in which to submit an appeal. If you wish to appeal because the district council has taken no decision within the prescribed period (56 days), you have 56 days from the end of that period in which to submit your appeal.

Serving of a contravention notice

If you are aggrieved by the serving of a notice by the district council stating that your work is in contravention of the requirements of the Building Regulations you may appeal to the department in writing within 28 days of receiving the notice. If, however, within the 28 day period you give notice to the district council that you intend to obtain a written report on the work in question from a suitably qualified person, this appeal period is in effect increased to 70 days. If your written report is submitted to the district council within 56 days of the serving of the contravention notice, and as a result of the report, they withdraw the notice, you may be entitled to receive any expenses reasonably incurred, including the cost of obtaining the report.

Refusal to relax building regulations

If your district council refuses your request to relax or dispense with any provision of Building Regulations that are within its powers to relax or dispense with, or if they grant your request subject to conditions, you may appeal their decision in writing to the department within 56 days of receipt of notice of their decision. Alternatively, if they have not taken a decision on your request within 56 days, you may consider the request to be rejected and appeal in writing to the department before a further 56 days have passed.

Decisions relating to materials unsuitable for permanent buildings

If a district council decides that your plans include materials that have been deemed to be unsuitable for a permanent building, they may reject the application, or fix a period within which the materials must be removed. The district council may also restrict the use of the building or impose any other conditions that may be reasonably required. If you are aggrieved by any such decisions of a district council, you may appeal in writing to the department within the prescribed period.

Submitting an appeal

You can submit an appeal to the Department’s Building Standards Branch by email: or by post, to the office address here


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