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You need permission to construct a cellar, vault, arch or part of a building under a road in Northern Ireland.

You might have to get planning permission as well.

Depending on the project, you may need separate permission to:

  • excavate or break up the surface of a road
  • erect things like scaffolding, hoardings on a road

How to apply

Download an application form from the NI Direct website or call Roads Service.

Roads Service 028 9025 3000

Completing the application form

You must give the following information:

  • your details
  • agents’ details, if applicable
  • location of the works
  • brief details of proposed works
  • proposed start and finish dates
  • whether planning permission has been sought and the application number

You may also need to supply a drawing of the proposed works.


The Department for Regional Development (DRD) will require that any vault, arch, cellar, gratings, lights and other fixtures in the surface of the road are kept in good condition. This is to make sure they do not cause a danger or nuisance to road users.

Other conditions will be attached covering:

  • signage for works to ensure traffic control and safety
  • excavation or damage caused to road or footpath
  • reinstatement of damaged areas
  • maintenance of works and/or road and footway surfaces
  • investigation of the existence of cables, pipes and equipment belonging to service authorities and provision for their protection
  • lodgement of a cash deposit with DRD
  • indemnity of DRD against any third party claims
  • certification of safety and fitness for purpose from a chartered engineer

Further conditions may be attached depending on the individual project.

Fines and penalties

You may be fined up to £1,000 if you carry out works without permission from DRD.