There is generally a consensus amongst property owners that they need some form of planning permission if they wish to make any changes to their properties, but there are also building regulations to consider as well.
Along with the need to adhere to safety and health requirements, that might have to be accounted for in the architectural design of the building. There is a fundamental difference between planning permission and normal building regulations.
The job of building regulations is to set benchmarks for the overall design and building construction of new buildings so as to make sure that the health and safety of individuals who use the buildings or live in their surroundings are safeguarded.
They endeavour to cover such aspects as the use of fuel and power to make sure there are conservation practices built into the construction of the building.
The idea of planning and getting planning permission is so that there is some monitoring of development in both the towns and their adjoining countryside.
This tries to cover buildings and land usage, the outer appearance of buildings, landscaping around buildings and how the buildings fit into the general landscape along with the effect that the development might have on the overall environment in the particular area.
Much of the building work will require approval from the two different bodies and they have to be dealt with separately. Any minor changes to the property will not require planning permission but will most likely need to get permission from the building regulations watchdog.
The local health and safety department might have to be consulted as well to ensure that the new construction does not breach any health and safety regulations.
Further to planning permission and building regulations, there are wildlife concerns as well. Under the Countryside Act of 1981 certain wildlife habitats are protected.
If your building work is likely to affect the environment of wildlife then the wildlife habitat takes precedence over any building rights you might have.
The planning division in your local council will have all the details of any likely danger your building proposal will be to wildlife habitats.
Some buildings for example on larger estates might be home to roosting bat colonies and special conditions have to be followed if building or alteration to buildings takes place on these properties.
These might include treating timber frames, constructing extensions or rebuilding older buildings. Whatever the work is, it must not disturb the natural habitat areas of certain types of bat colonies.
In general, most smaller homeowners may only have to concern themselves with building regulations as planning permission has been waived for smaller renovations and building projects.
Unless they happened to have bought a small cottage in the countryside where wildlife abounds and they are located in a conservation area and in a listed house then most building projects can be done with the minimum of fuss and expense.