You do not need to be a conveyancing lawyer to realise a permission in some form is necessary for works or alterations to properties, but Planning Permission and Building Regulations are often confused. Both are the responsibility of the Local Authority and basically:
Building Regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings.
In simple terms:
Building Regulations are concerned with how a building is constructed with particular reference to:
site preparation and resistance to moisture
drainage and waste disposal
heat producing appliances
protection from falling, collision and impact
conservation of fuel and power
access and facilities for disabled people
These are legal requirements but provided that the correct technical standards are met the approval should be straightforward. The council's Building Control Officers deal with Building Regulation applications.
Planning permission deals with the use of land, the appearance of buildings, landscaping considerations, highway access and the impact that the development will have on the general environment. Officers of the council's Town Planning Services deal with planning applications and also listed buildings, conservation areas and tree preservation orders.
If planning permission is required it may sometimes be wise to wait until that permission is granted before proceeding to submit a building regulation application.