Complete Guide for Garden Offices, formerly a luxury or added benefit to your main home, are quickly becoming necessities as more and more people choose to work entirely or at least partially from home.
What Are Garden Offices?
A garden office is a separate structure in your garden. These buildings are cutting-edge and distinctive, offering a fantastic alternative to conventional home extension/improvement techniques.
Garden Offices are well-made and constructed for year-round use. The structures are built with high-quality materials, including intricate insulation layers, and are completed with a mix of organic and synthetic materials.
Garden offices typically don’t need planning approval because they are allowed under approved development. Due to their layout and construction, these structures are categorised as “outbuildings,” making them a hassle-free method to add space to your home.
Why Are These Buildings Referred to as Garden Offices? Complete Guide for Garden Offices
Despite their name, our garden offices are much more than that. Our structures are quality-designed additions to your home that are separate from it. These structures can be transformed into anything you require! More than just an office, your building might double as your home gym, garden theatre, or art studio, among other things.
Why Build a Garden Office?
Garden offices make sense for those who don’t have extra room in their houses, and they may be the only way to set up a functional workspace for people whose jobs require meeting rooms, big work surfaces, or lots of storage. Garden offices help to distinguish between business and personal life so that you can leave work behind when the day is done.
When Do Garden Offices Need Planning Permission?
Generally speaking, you won’t require a planning clearance, although there may be certain exceptions.
Garden offices frequently fall under approved development. If the following conditions are met, your garden office may not need planning approval, unless you live in a listed building, a Location of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or another designated area.
• The structure has a single story, a maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres, and an overall height limit of 4 metres for dual pitched roofs and 3 metres for all other roofs.
• The building is not on land in front of a wall that makes up the main elevation of the house
• There are no verandas or balconies exceeding 0.3m
• No more than half the area of land surrounding the original house will be covered by new buildings. If the building is to be within 2m of the boundary of the curtilage of the house, the building cannot be higher than 2.5m.
Depending on how your garden office will be used, you may or may not need planning clearance.
As long as they are the appropriate height, ‘incidental’ structures like sheds and summerhouses may be erected without obtaining planning approval. A garden office that is occasionally used for business at home or for enjoyment may be considered “incidental” and not require planning approval. In contrast, your local authorities might not consider a garden office used for business five days a week or a detached utility room plumbed for a washing machine, etc. to be “incidental” and require a planning application for them. The approved development regulations are interpreted differently by each local authority, and the government doesn’t specify what constitutes an “incidental” construction.
In general, local governments are supportive of garden offices and other garden structures, thus the likelihood that you will be granted planning permission is very high. Finally, your local Building Control inspector may need to give his or her approval. Although outhouses are free from Building Regulation rules, there is a risk that they won’t be built to the same standards as your primary residence if you hire professionals to complete the project or purchase a kit.
What Do Garden Offices Cost?
Although it would be helpful to have a clear estimate of how much each form of garden office costs, this is simply not achievable. A garden office’s price will depend on its size, location, and specifications, just like any other building.
When compared to someone choosing a whole package, for instance, those who come up with their own design, do not need planning permission, and intend to build their garden office on a DIY basis will be looking at significantly different pricing.
Budgeting for garden offices requires taking all connected expenses into account. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of any foundations that will be necessary once you receive an estimate for the building from your supplier or your builder, as well as the cost of plumbing and drainage for a shower or toilet if you are including one.
Complete Guide for Garden Offices
A mains water supply and garbage disposal are also essential if you intend to use your garden office for any period of time or if you want it to serve as housing. You won’t have to walk back and forth between your home and office every time you need a cup of tea or to use the restroom thanks to this.
You’ll also need electricity if you want to heat the area in this manner. If you choose a modular garden office, many come equipped with all the wires needed to connect to the mains supply for heating, lighting, and power. While some vendors include connection to the mains as part of the package, others leave it up to the customer to arrange it.
Armoured cable typically used for electrical connections between homes and offices is buried 500-750mm deep in a trench. Before the dirt is replaced, the trench needs to be covered with hazard tape and filled with stone. The stone and hazard tape are there to alert anyone digging where wires have been put in the future. Complete Guide for Garden Offices.
Your electrician should install an earth rod in the office, into the ground nearby, once the cable is linked to the consumer unit in the new office and to the main supply in the house.
Water and Waste: If you plan to include a toilet, shower, or kitchen, you must think about how you will supply water to the garden office and remove waste water from it.
Hopefully, all you will need to do is fit and pipe sinks, WCs, and showers into the main sewer and water lines. Pumps may need to be installed in the case of garbage, nevertheless, in order to project the waste away from the office and into the main sewerage system, depending on how far it must travel. Keep in mind that pumps will increase the cost and that digging for new drains and plumbing may cause some inconvenience.
When to Heat Garden Offices?
If you want to utilise your garden office all year long, heating is a necessity. There are numerous methods for doing this, including:
• Electric convection heaters: A popular choice that can be connected to your electrical source with just a few plugs. These can be fixed on the wall or the floor and come with timers and thermostats, but they are highly expensive to run.
• Electric radiators: These are comparable to the above but take longer to heat up. However, because there are no exposed elements, they are safer.
• Log burning stoves: These are incredibly efficient, add warmth both physically and visually, and heat up quickly. They should be installed by a qualified (HETAS) engineer and will be more expensive than the options mentioned above, but they may occasionally emit smoke and shouldn’t be your main source of heat.
• Underfloor heating: Some modular solutions come standard with water-based underfloor heating, which is simple and effective to operate with an air source heat pump. Some individuals opt for electric underfloor heating, but keep in mind that this is most effective with engineered wood and hard floors. A constant room temperature keeps you safe and healthy and makes sure that dampness and cold are always kept outside.
Why Do Garden Offices Need Foundations?
If you want your garden office to last for a long time, proper foundations are essential.
There are various methods for building garden office foundations and you should make your decision based on the weight, size, and cost of your garden office.
Your builder or supplier can provide advice. Numerous package vendors and experts in modular construction will each have a favourite approach. Don’t forget to verify that your quote includes the cost of the foundations.
Concrete slab foundations are a typical foundation type for custom garden rooms on level ground.
Before soft sand and a damp-proof membrane are laid, the ground must first be excavated and covered with a layer of hardcore that has been compacted.
The DPM will be covered with a wooden frame to serve as a mould (shuttering), and when the concrete has been poured, levelled, and given time to cure, the frame will be taken away.
Concrete or steel can be used to create piled or screw piled foundations.
To sustain prefabricated modular systems with the least amount of interruption to your landscape, screw piles made of steel are bored into the ground at a minimum depth of 1000mm.
Excavated holes for concrete piles are then filled with concrete (sometimes in slightly lesser depths than for steel posts). The posts are connected by a frame, modular floor components, or prefabricated office modules that are craned into place before being fastened to form the base of the new office structure. This is a fantastic option for sloped locations as well.
Which Are Best: Modular or Bespoke?
You can either order a modular building or go the bespoke route to have a garden office constructed. Both offer advantages and disadvantages, so your decision should take your budget and personal preferences into consideration.
The majority of modular garden offices are either delivered as off-site prefabricated, timber-framed units that have already been finished on the walls, floors, lighting, electrics, plumbing, and even kitchens and bathrooms, ready to be lifted into place and connected to the mains, or they are delivered in kit form and are either assembled on site by the suppliers or built by the customer themselves.
Companies that sell modular garden offices typically have a variety of styles and sizes available, as well as customization options in the form of add-ons and extras. Complete Guide for Garden Offices
Even though you won’t have as many design possibilities as you would if you went the bespoke route, there are still several advantages.
There is no possibility of your costs spiralling out of control because you can see what they will be up front. Additionally, they are simple to install and provide a one-stop-shop solution, eliminating the need to find and schedule other trades like electricians and builders.
The modular alternative might not be suitable for people with very problematic sites or gardens with limited access, on the other hand.
While different businesses include different things in their quoted costs, the following is typically included in the base price:
Foundations, assembly, delivery, planning approval, lighting, glazing of windows and doors, flooring, exterior cladding, plastering of walls and ceilings, and final decoration.
Typical optional extras consist of:
• Kitchens or kitchenettes; blinds; projecting decks; planted roofs; underfloor heating and rest rooms.
Bespoke Garden Offices
A qualified designer or architect, or businesses that specialise in garden offices and outbuildings can construct a bespoke design. In fact, many suppliers of modular garden offices also provide unique services that involve design, planning, project management, and building. By going the bespoke route, you can be confident that your new office will be completely customised to match your demands without any compromises. It is perfect for individuals with tricky plots, limited access, planning limitations, and the like because it enables you to choose cladding materials and a construction method to fit your budget.