Guidance on Making an Appeal Against our Decision to Reject Your Plans

The following guidance is for Applicants and Designers who have made a full plans application to Newry & Mourne District Council for Building Regulation approval and who have received a Notice of Rejection or a BR3R Letter.

Our Obligations

When an application has been submitted and accepted the details of the submission are evaluated against the Building Regulations. Article 13 of The Building Regulations Order (NI) (as amended) states that a council shall either approve or reject plans. The council considers that a formal Notice of Rejection is a last resort. The BR3R Letter (a letter outlining observed contraventions and omissions) can be regarded as a Notice of Rejection to establish your right to appeal against any item or items noted as a contravention in the letter.

Notice of Rejection

Under Article 17 of The Building Regulations Order (N.I.) 1979 (as amended) the applicant has a right of appeal to the Department of Finance and Personnel against the council’s decision to reject an application.

Regulation A18 (Appeals and prescribed periods) of the Building Regulations (NI) 2000 gives further guidance in this respect.

The BR3R Letter and a Notice of Rejection issued by us provides the following information:

  • That there is a right of appeal.
  • The period within which the appeal must be made
  • The address to which the appeal should be sent
  • That an appeal to the Department of Finance and Personnel must set out the grounds of appeal
  • That a copy of the appeal is to be sent to the Council
  • Details of where guidance can be obtained

For the purposes of Article 17 the period within which the appeal must be made is 56 days from receipt of the notice. If a period of 56 days has elapsed from you having made an application, and we have not notified you of any decision, Article 17 states that you may then assume, for the purposes of an appeal, that the application has been rejected, whether or not you have received a Notice of Rejection i.e. Deemed Rejected.

Article 17 also allows us to agree, in writing, with the applicant or designer to extend this 56 day period e.g. in the case of a large complex building.

How to Appeal

Upon receipt of the BR3R or formal Notice of Rejection or a “Deemed Rejection” you have 56 days within which to lodge a written appeal to the Department of Finance and Personnel against the council’s decision.

The written appeal must clearly indicate the grounds of the appeal and be sent to the address below with a copy to us.

Department of Finance and Personnel
Building Regulations Appeal
Department of Finance and Personnel (NI)
Building Standards Branch
Causeway Exchange (Level 5)
1-7 Bedford Street
Belfast
BT2 7EG

Receipt of Appeal

Once we are notified of the appeal we will forward a copy of the application details, including all documents given to us by you as part of your application, to the Department of Finance and Personnel. At the same time we will make a written submission regarding the appeal to the Department. A copy of this submission will be sent to you.

Hearing of Appeal

The Department of Finance and Personnel upon receipt of all documentation will decide upon the appeal. The Department before determining the appeal may if it thinks fit or if requested by either party afford to that person and the district council an opportunity of appearing before and being heard by a person appointed by the Department.

Decision

The Department of Finance and Personnel’s determination of the appeal will take the form of one of the following options:

  • Revoke the council’s decision
  • Vary the council’s decision
  • Confirm the council’s decision

In all cases the Department of Finance and Personnel’s decision is final and conclusive, the only exception being on a point of law.

Question of Law

  • The Department of Finance and Personnel can refer any question of law relating to the appeal to the Court of Appeal. When it does this the Department of Finance and Personnel will notify both you and us of its intention to refer.
  • Where either party is aggrieved by the Department’s decision and the Department has not referred it to the Court of Appeal, then either party has the right to do so on a point of law.
  • The decision of the Court of Appeal on a point of law is final.