This depends on what you want to do. Some minor alterations and extensions, particularly to houses, can often be carried out without the need for planning permission. This is known as permitted development.
It often also depends on whether your house has been extended in the past. Even if you only want to put a conservatory on the back of your house, if your house has been previously extended, chances are you will need planning permission for the conservatory.
There may be local circumstances which might affect the need for permission, for example if there have been conditions applied to previous permissions (restricting or removing your permitted development rights), your property is a Listed Building or you are in a Conservation Area.
Problems (in the form of enforcement action) can occur if you do any work without permission which would ordinarily require it, including being taken to court in extreme cases, so please be sure before you go ahead with any work to your property.
Render, Cladding and Painting Guidance
If you live in a Conservation Area, Article 4 Area or Listed Building you will need to apply for planning permission or listed building consent before cladding the outside of your house with stone, artificial stone, pebble dash, render, timber, plastic or tiles. If you live in a Listed Building, consent will also be required to paint the exterior of the building, otherwise exterior painting is permitted development.
In any other case, cladding may be carried out without having to first apply for planning permission providing the materials are of a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the house.
Cladding to an existing dwelling is ostensibly permitted by Part 1 Class A of the GPDO as an ‘improvement or other alteration’. However, most cladding is caught by the general condition at A.3(a) which states that materials to be used ‘in any exterior work must be of a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the exterior of the existing dwellinghouse’.
‘Similar appearance’ does not necessarily mean identical visual impact, but in practice works such as the rendering of a brick elevation would clearly not comply with the condition. Therefore render (including insulated render) would only be considered as permitted development if there is some render on the existing dwelling. To render a dwelling which has no existing render would require planning permission. Please be aware that the materials of existing outbuildings, if different from the dwelling, cannot be considered.