Your questions answered…
QWill I need planning permission? This will all depend on what you want to use the building for. Constructing a room in your outdoor space won’t require planning permission as long as its use is ‘incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house’. For example, if it’s an added extra and not used as a main residence. A new house needs planning permission in the usual way – visit planningportal.gov.uk.
QBut if I’m building in my garden, can’t I just do what I want? Planners are all about thinking ahead (the clue is in their job title). While it might seem unfair to you, few people would want to see their neighbourhoods divided and sub-divided into smaller and even smaller separate plots, possibly with unsympathetically designed buildings.
Qso what am I allowed to build without planning permission? james Willmott, founder of Harrison james, who designs and builds modern garden rooms, says: ‘If the building takes up less than 50 per cent of the outdoor space and is under 2.5m in height, you’ll be allowed to build it against the property boundary. Alternatively, if you’re able to build 2m away from the boundary, it can be up to 4m high with a pitched roof.’ This counts as ‘permitted development’ in much the same way as adding a loft extension.
QDo I need to ask my neighbours? It’s definitely good practice to let them know and see if they have any objections, but you’re not obliged to if it’s a garden room that falls within permitted development. Bear in mind that your new building may need to comply with building regulations, depending on factors such as its size, how close it is to your home and how it will be used. Talk to your designer or builder for advice before you begin.
Qcan we have a bedroom in it? A garden room within permitted development can be used as an extra living space, a home office or study, a gym or a teenage Tv hangout. However, it should not be intended for use as permanent sleeping accommodation.
Qare there any other restrictions that I should be aware of? If your home is listed, a new-build or is in an area of outstanding natural beauty, check with your local planning officer. Planning permission for properties such as these can vary from area to area and also change as time goes on, so what a neighbour might have done in the past is not always a guide to what you can do. start your research at planningportal.gov.uk to find your local planning authority. And bear in mind, rules may vary between england, scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
QDo I need an architect? For a building that will be inhabited, almost certainly you do. For a garden room, you may not necessarily require one, as many companies specialise in this. seek out an architect with a track record of similar projects in your area. Personal recommendations are always good, but make sure you check the council’s planning records for ones with successful outcomes and have a look at their recent projects and feedback.
QHow long will the average build take? The process will involve a site survey, preparation of the area, and the build itself. The standard time to construct a garden room is between 8-10 working days.
QWill it add value to my house? james Willmott says: ‘A design that costs around £20,000 to build will add an average of about £30,000 to the value of a property.’ But do take into consideration that this could be more – or indeed less – depending on your location, design and property.
Plant pretty borders so you’ll have a nice view from the inside