The current sytem means by the time all the checks and requirements for planning applications have been done and the decision by the planning committee to reject the RETROSPECTIVE application, followed by the subsequent appeal. The buildings could have been in place for several years and could qualify for a Certificate of Lawful Use.
As soon as the department are aware of any breach of planning rules an IMMEDIATE stop on further works should be issued. With any livable areas blocked from occupation. This should stay in place until a proper planning application has been received and depending on approval or not (allowing for appeal). Building work can be completed or returned to the original within a short period of time.