Home owner guidance

Advice and Guidance

Visit the Planning Portals interactive house to see if your work requires planning permission.

You can also visit the LABC's home and build website to keep up to date with the Building Regulations and planning issues.

Electrical Work

Check the following links for general information and help in finding a ‘Competent Persons’ registered electrician.

Technical Guidance Notes

Forms for self-certification

Homeowner FAQs

Why should I use Building Control?

You are required by law to have your work inspected to ensure it complies with the minimum standards of the Building Regulations.

What do I do if I see a dangerous building or structure?

Please call 01908 252721 during office hours, or 01908 226699 outside of office hours.

What are the Building Regulations?

The Building Regulations are legal requirements aimed at achieving minimum standards of construction, to safeguard the health and safety of people in or about buildings. They are also concerned with energy efficiency and access/facilities for disabled people.

Who administers Building Regulations?

MK Building Control. They are a highly qualified and experienced team of surveyors, who examine plans and carry out site-inspections. Their extensive knowledge of materials and construction methods and local conditions is available to you at all stages of the construction process.

What is the difference between planning permission and Building Regulations?

Planning permission determines whether your building project is able to go ahead. Building Regulations set the standards for the design and construction of buildings, which in turn ensures the safety for those who use it. This LABC video provides further information.

What do I do if I need general advice on a building project?

If you have a question not answered by these FAQs, please contact us (information on the left side of this page).

You can also visit our Building Regulations page for more information and a quick checklist of residential works and view the additional FAQs on the LABC page.

How do I know if I need Building Regulations approval for the work I intend to do?

The Planning Portal website has information on planning and building control matters, including an interactive house to help you identify the need for planning permission and/or building control approval. Information is also available from the following links:

Once I know approval is required what do I have to do before I start work?

You will need to submit a valid Building Regulation application to us before the work starts.

You can do this by email or by post. Also, see:

Is there a charge to make a Building Regulation application?

Yes, the local authority charge to cover the cost of plan checking and inspections.

View the current fee scales.

If I choose to submit a 'Full Plans' application, can I draw the plans myself?

Yes, but we don’t advise it unless you are experienced with all the Building Regulation requirements. We recommend employing a design professional to assist with drawings for your submission.

When can I start work?

You may start work two working days after you have submitted either a valid Building Notice or a Full Plans application (with payment). You must notify us by phone or email of your intention to start work and at each of the following stages:

  • foundation excavations before concreting
  • foundation concrete
  • oversite (ground floor) before concreting
  • damp proof course before covering
  • foul water drainage before backfilling
  • surface water drainage before backfilling
  • drains ready for test
  • occupation prior to completion
  • completion of works

Please note that if more than three years pass before we are asked to do a completion visit, there will be an additional charge at the rate in force at the time the visit is requested.

What do I do on completion?

When you finish your work, contact Building Control to arrange a final inspection. Once it is confirmed that your work meets the required standards, they will issue you a Completion Certificate.

When the work is finished, is an official certificate issued?

Yes, a Completion Certificate will be issued when all necessary inspections have been completed and the work meets the required standards. You must advise us that work has been completed and send all the necessary third-party notifications, e.g. Part P Certificates. This certificate is important when you come to sell your property.

What can I do if I have already carried out work without approval?

For work carried out after November 1985, you can retrospectively apply for a Regularisation Certificate. You may have to expose areas of work to show compliance with Regulations in force at the time of the work. The fee for this will be confirmed by a fee quotation on request (by email) or on receipt of the application form. There is no VAT payable.

It may not be possible to issue a regularisation certificate, for example, where parts of the construction cannot be opened up to determine compliance. Please see our guide to the regularisation process. (PDF, 48KB)

What is a competent person scheme?

Competent Person Schemes (CPS) were introduced by the Government to allow individuals and enterprises to self-certify that their work complies with the Building Regulations, as an alternative to making a Building Regulations application.

A Competent Person must be registered with a scheme that has been approved by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). These schemes are listed on GOV.UK website and you can search for a Competent person using the competent persons register.

This guidance note (PDF, 156KB)explains why you should use a Competent Person in more detail.

Do I need approval to build an extension to my house?

Yes, although certain porches, carports, conservatories and detached garages are exempt from Building Regulations. Planning permission may still be required for these, however. Contact your Building Control Surveyor for more advice. See further information on domestic exempt buildings (PDF, 178KB).

Do I need approval for the installation of Solar PV Panels to my roof?

Yes, however, if your installer is registered with a Microgeneration Competent Person Scheme, such as NAPIT and ELECSA, then an application to Building Control is not required. Read more about Solar PV Installations. 

Do I need approval for the conversion of the loft space?

Yes, and we recommend that you seek advice from a professional before undertaking this work.

There is an LABC Video on Building Regulations and Loft Conversions.

Do I need approval to make internal alterations to my house?

Yes, if any form of structural alteration is intended. An application is also required if there are proposals to alter/add drainage or for alterations affecting means of escape.

See the LABC website for further information.

Do I need approval to replace the windows in my house?

Yes, unless your installer is registered with a Competent Person Scheme e.g. FENSA and able to self-certificate under the Building Regulations. If your building is listed or in a conservation area you should check with us as to whether planning permission is required.

Do I need approval for repair work to my house?

Generally, no. However, if there are proposals to add or alter drainage, an application is necessary. Please contact us if you are in any doubt.

Do I need approval to re-tile my roof, refelt a flat roof and/or renew the cladding of a dormer?

Yes. For more information, please see our re-roofing guidance. (PDF, 4.7MB) Alternatively, you may use a roofer who is registered with the Competent Roofer self-certification scheme.

Do I need approval to renovate the walls, floors and ceilings of a house?

Yes, where the area of the renovation is extensive, the thermal performance of the element (wall, floor or roof) will need to be considered and potentially upgraded. Please contact us to determine whether the extent of the work will require approval.

Do I need approval to convert my house into flats?

Yes, and we recommend that you seek advice from a professional before undertaking such work.

Do I need approval to erect a detached garage?

Yes, unless it meets the following criteria:

(a) the internal floor area is less than 15sqm; or

(b) the internal floor area is less than 30sqm and either the garage is situated at least 1m from all boundaries or constructed substantially from non-combustible materials’

See further information on domestic exempt buildings. (PDF, 178KB)

Do I need approval to install or modify electrical wiring?

Yes, any electrical work should be carried out in accordance with Part P of the Building Regulations. Some minor works, such as the replacement of socket outlets, are not notifiable. Any notifiable works should be carried out either by an electrician who is a member of a Competent Persons Scheme relevant to the type of work being undertaken, and therefore able to self-certify the work, or by submitting a Building Regulations application before carrying out the work.

Do I need approval to insert cavity wall insulation?

Yes, however, if your supplier is registered with the Cavity Wall Insulation Self Certification Scheme then an application to MK Building Control is not required.

Do I need approval to install or replace a boiler or hot water cylinder?

Yes, unless your installer is registered with the appropriate Competent Person Scheme, Gas Safe. Then Gas Safe will issue you with a Compliance Certificate and notify us electronically that the work has been approved.

Do you have advice about flue and chimney testing?

Yes, please go to our flue and chimney testing page.

If you are unsure if your proposed work requires Building Regulations, please contact us.

Building Control

Building Control contact information

Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ