Outside buildings do sometimes need planning permission
Lots of people turn to an outside building in the garden as a cost-effective way of adding more space. Home offices have become very popular, some are used as studios, others hobby rooms, or gyms.
The rules are quite specific: "Outbuildings and garages to be single storey with maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of four metres with a dual pitched roof or three metres for any other roof. This seems generous until you realise that a simple pitched roof on a building 4m x 4m will break the rules. When Roger & Eileen decided they wanted to build a pool house with changing, shower and plant rooms, they knew that a flat roof would not sit with their traditional Sussex House, so they asked us to help.
Despite being a simple building, a full set of plans was needed
Render, Oak and felt tiles combined to give a pleasing period feel
"It's a fallacy that you can just throw up a temporary building and not be held to account by the planners, especially in the countryside.”
The popularity of outside buildings has made them a very hot spot to be in, with companies all over the country springing up to offer end-to-end solutions that take all the hassle from you and deliver an excellent result.
However, there's always a suspicion that you might be paying a premium, especially as many are made from inexpensive pre-fabricated panels, which don't allow for much design flexibility. This didn't suit Roger & Eileen, so when faced with quotes north of £50k for an off-the-shelf building they called us in.
Building regulations on outside buildings are determined by its use. If it is planned for a residential use, such as an office or occasional sleepover space, then all the usual requirements for insulation and thermal values kick in. However, this building was only intended for summer use, so we designed it to be largely single skin construction with additional strength coming from solid internal partition walls.
The pitched roof was covered with felt tiles, a very realistic option that within a short time of being laid, blended into the landscape and looked to all intents and purposes like a traditional tiled roof, but at a fraction of the cost. The final result gave a very practical space that delivered changing rooms, a shower, plant room and even a mini-garage for the garden tractor.
Garden buildings can add value to a property if done well, but are just as much a structure in the council's eyes as a main house. The problem of height restriction in particular means that you need to be very careful not to build what turns out to look like just a very expensive shed!
It is also possible to build something much longer lasting using conventional techniques - a solid construction will easily last for a hundred years or more, whereas timber panel buildings can have a design life of as little as ten years for a not dissimilar cost. Whichever route you choose it won't be a cheap option so it's worth making sure you get it right.