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Indiana Department of Homeland Security

IDHS > About IDHS > Fire & Building Safety / Services > Building Safety & Services > Building Plan Review > Administrative Reviews Administrative Reviews

Indiana Department of Homeland Security
302 West Washington Street
Indiana Government Center South, Room W246
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Telephone: (317) 232-3835
Fax: (317) 232-3895

The mission of the Hearings Section of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security is to provide an inexpensive, fair, and impartial hearing process yielding consistent results for citizens who disagree with certain actions of the Department. The Hearings Section also provides mediation and facilitation for the Department, the various Boards and Commissions served by the Department, and other Agencies of the State.

The administrative law judge handles all timely filed Petitions For Administrative Review pursuant to the provisions of IC 4-21.5. He conducts prehearing and status conferences, presides over hearings, and dockets matters ready for final Agency action on the agenda of the appropriate Board or Commission. He is a certified mediator who provides mediation services to other State Agencies pursuant to the State’s Shared  Neutrals program.

Orders of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Division of Fire and Building Safety, and the Emergency Medical Services Commission are reviewed pursuant to IC4-21.5, the Administrative Orders and Procedures Act. The word "order" is defined very broadly and includes agency actions on sanctions and licensing. Time is of the essence in that all administrative reviews in the above areas must be filed within 15 days (plus 3 days if the notice of the order is served by mail) of service. Emergency Orders issued pursuant ot IC4-21.5-4 have a different time line. Anyone wishing to seek review of an emergency order should contact the attorney for the agency as quickly as possible.

The initiation of an administrative review of an order is fairly simple. The petition for review needs only to be in writing and clearly indicate the order being challenged. In certain EMS Commission matters, the administrative review commences upon a filing of a complaint by the agency. Any person served with such a complaint should contact the attorney for the agency immediately.

The petition for administrative review should be mailed (or hand delivered) to the person listed on the order. If for some reason there is no person listed as the proper person to be served, the petition may be filed with the administrative law judge at the address below. Fax filings are accepted. Certified mail is not required but if the time period for filing is about to expire, a certificate is absolute proof of the date of mailing.

Decisions of the administrative law judge not involving emergency orders do not become final agency actions until reviewed by the appropriate Commission which may affirm, modify, or reverse the findings of the administrative law judge. The decision of the commission is the final agency action. Most administrative reviews eventually settle and are disposed of by dismissals or agreed orders. In the event a review is not settled, a hearing is held and a decision is written. While a hearing involves testimony under oath in front of a court reporter and allows cross-examination, it is generally informal and rarely lasts longer than 2-3 hours.

The administrative law judge is the ultimate authority for the agency with respect to emergency orders.

The Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission and the Emergency Medical Services Commission are two of the few commissions that have authorized the indexing of contested decisions. Pursuant to IC4-21.5, these prior decisions may be used as precedent.

Legal Decisions Search
The various commissions in IDHS which are responsible for administrative reviews have authorized the indexing of all contested cases decided since November 1, 1997. The data base may be searched by name, cause number, IC or IAC code section, building or fire code section, or key words and phrases. If you have difficulty viewing cases, please call (317) 232-3835. The format of the database may not be compatible with all computer systems. If any case in the database is to be cited as authority, please cite the name of the case, cause number, & date of decision.

Search DHS decisions: