As the year has passed and events have unravelled, most people have been forced to work from home. A good balance between home and work life can be increasingly more difficult to maintain when working and living in the same space.

Here at Martin Perry Associates, we understand that this can have an increasingly negative impact on your levels of motivation and general wellbeing. General building projects are recognised as a great way to renew and revitalise the workings of the home!

If you are in need of filling your home with a new lease of life by restructuring the property or building a new garden office, then why not contact a member of our expert team? Our building surveyors in Cornwall are always happy to help!

An office with green walls

The Benefits of a Garden Office

Those who have been required to work from home over the recent periods of uncertainty will understand how important the difference between a home and a working environment is.

Some prefer to work from the comfort of their own home, as the additional sense of freedom can be refreshing, but if you are encountering continuous interruptions it can often lead you astray.

A home office is a fantastic way to create a working environment that works for you, separating your home life and offering a pleasant view.

Other benefits of a garden office include:

• Provided storage
• Productive office area
• Professional meeting space
• A work/home divide
• No commuting
• Eco-friendly
• No office politics
• Added value to the property

Do Garden Offices Need Planning Permission?

One of the first things to consider when contemplating the addition of a garden office is if it needs planning permission. In most cases, the answer is no, and it will fall within permitted development, but there are some cases where this might not be the case.

You will need planning permission if you are using a designated area, such as an Area of Outstanding Beauty or Conservation Area, or you live in a listed building.

You may not require planning permission providing:

• The building is a single storey, has a maximum eaves height of 2.5m and a maximum overall height of 4m for a dual pitched height roof or 3m for any other roof type.
• The building is 2m from the boundary.
• There are no verandas or balconies that exceed 0.3m.
• No more than half of the surrounding area of the original house is covered by the new build.

However, even if all of the above points are adhered to, required planning permission will also depend on how the garden office is intended to be used.

‘Incidental buildings’ are allowed by permitted development to be built without planning permission. Buildings such as sheds or summerhouses can be classed as incidental buildings.

A garden office that is used for leisure or on occasion when working from home can be viewed as incidental, whereas garden offices that are used for five working days a week, or detached utility rooms plumbed for utilities such as a washing machine may not be classed as incidental and can potentially require planning permission.

Two people sat at their desks in a home office

Garden Office Building Regulations

According to Planning Portal, building regulations will not usually apply to a small garden shed or summerhouse that is less than 15 square metres and contains no sleeping accommodation.

If the floor is between 15m square and 30m square, you will not usually need building regulations if there is no sleeping accommodation provided and it is at least one metre away from the boundary line.

Electrical Installation

Whether you are building an office from scratch or using a pre-wired shed, electrical installations will require you to comply with building regulations. For this, you will need a qualified electrician to connect your garden office to the mains and issue you with a completion certificate.

Sleeping Accommodation or Water, Waste & Drainage

If you are planning on using your garden accommodation for dual-use, such as for sleeping accommodation or fitting in a shower or toilet, you will need to comply with building regulations standards.

A laptop on a desk by a window

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Garden Office?

Like any other building project, there are no hard and fast rules as to how much it will cost to build a garden office. Each project varies due to several factors such as size, locations and specifications.

You can usually expect to pay anything from £5,000 to £20,000 for a small garden office. A medium to large office can start from 12,000 and increase due to the build quality and additional bespoke features.

When planning out the specifications of your garden office you should be mindful of the market and research features you intend to use.

Garden Office Foundation

Utilising the correct foundations for your garden office is crucial. When deciding which foundation to use you will need to consider the size and weight of your garden office, as well as the budget.

Your building supplier will be able to offer you advice throughout this, or you can contact a member of our team here, at Martin Perry Associates!

• Concrete slab foundation – A common foundation that is best suited to level ground
• Piled foundation – A great solution for sloping sites
• Concrete plinths – A common foundation used to provide a raised platform for heavy loads

Garden Office Water and Electric Installation

By installing a water and electrical supply to your garden office you will not only be able to alternate the space’s use, but you will also provide yourself with a fully designated area to support your working focus and efficiency.

A modular garden office will most likely incorporate cables for lighting, power and heat, ready to be connected to the mains by a qualified electrician, although some suppliers will carry out the electrical mains connection as part of their package deal.

If you are considering fitting a sink, toilet or shower then you will need to consider how you will fit these into the mains water supply and the sewage system.

If the waste has to travel a particular distance it may need the additional support of pumps to project the waste away from the office. This will involve additional costs and digging, which can be somewhat disruptive. If this is an issue, you can consider a chemical toilet or eco compostable toilet instead.

A book on a desk with a view of the garden

Garden Office Heating

To work effectively all year round, your garden office will require some sort of heating system. There are several options available that will ensure your newly installed office is comfortable for you to work in whatever the season.

Electric Conversion Heaters

A popular and simple option you can opt for is an electric convection heater, simply plug the device into your electrical supply. These can be wall or floor mounted with the addition of timers and thermostats.

Electric Radiators

Electric radiators are similar to electric convection heaters, but they are much slower to warm up, however, they are safer due to their interiors being unexposed.

Oil-Filled Radiators

For a more cost-effective option, oil-filled radiators are a great option that can also be plugged into your electrical supply, although, they can be quite bulky.

Log Burning Stove

As well as the physical heat supplied by a log burning stove, you also gain aesthetic comfort. Log burning stoves heat up rapidly and are effective, however, these can be comparably more expensive than an electric or oil-filled radiator.

We hope this article has provided you with helpful insight into how to build a garden office. If you require any more information or would like some additional support throughout your project you can contact a member of our team.Here at Martin Perry Associates, we are always happy to offer our expertise and services.

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