These are notices that issued by local authorities and are served on building developers or the legal owners of a construction site by a local planning authority. They usually mean that all building work must be stopped because the local council is unhappy with the development. The enforcement notice will list the reasons as to why it has been issued, for instance it may state that planning permission has not be approved. It will also list other breaches it considers to have taken place, as well as what action and steps the developer has to do to comply with the relevant planning law.

Every enforcement notice issued will have a timescale and a deadline, if that deadline is not met then you possibly will have committed an offence and legal action may be taken or a penalty may be charged. Non compliance by the owner or occupier of the land and any resulting court action could result in fines of up to £20,000.

Enforcement notices are one of the tools by which local councils can control and regulate building work being carried out. The council official who is responsible for this department is known as an Enforcement Officer, they will normally be in touch with you well before any enforcement notice is issued. They have the powers to investigate any complaints about your building work, as well as to decide if the work you are doing is unlawful or dangerous. They regularly consult with other professionals in the building industry like health and safety consultancy firms.

The work that the council planning department wants you to take will be listed in a document called a Planning Contravention Notice. If the Enforcement Officer considers your building to be an immediate and real danger to the public, for instance due to fire safety considerations then they may issue what is known as a Stop Notice. This will require you to stop all building work at once.

Once you have complied with the notice and met all their requirements that have been asked of you then the planning authority will withdraw any enforcement notices against you.

As with most notices you are able to appeal against them, but you should always seek legal and professional advice first.