Jun 09, 2021

Working from home is common for many of us these days. It's a great idea to invest in a garden office. Have your own headspace away from your main house, and enjoy a more peaceful view. You might have some questions about the construction process. Does a garden office need planning permission? What about building regulations?

Let's have a look at why you might need planning permission for a garden office. And how you can avoid the need for it to give you a hassle-free garden room construction.

Why Might I Need Planning Permission?

Planning permission protects your local area and keeps you and your neighbours safe. When reviewing your application, officials will consider many factors about the building. Size, appearance, layout, and access are all taken in to account. They will also take into consideration a variety of factors surrounding your property. These include privacy concerns, traffic and parking, and conserving nature.

This is a good thing because who wants their neighbour to build a shop in their back garden? A steady stream of customers coming and going can cause a disturbance.

There are a lot of different rules and guidelines that may apply to your outbuilding. We design Habin garden rooms to not need planning permission. But, you must consider how you intend to use your garden room.

Keep in mind that it isn’t a “better to ask for forgiveness than permission” kind of thing. If you put up a building without the planning permission, you may need to take it down. It’s better to do it the right way from the beginning instead.

Here, we’ll help you determine whether your project will need approval before it's built. Plus, we always recommend letting your neighbours know about your plans first. It’s the friendly thing to do and it’s less likely that any disagreements or issues will arise later on.

Planning Permission for a Garden Office

Let’s look at the basic requirements of planning permission. This will give you an idea of what you can build in your garden. Garden offices are outbuildings and these are the basic rules that apply:

  • Eaves (the edge of the roof) can’t be more than 2.5 metres high
  • A pitched roof can’t be higher than 4 metres high
  • Other style roofs can’t be higher than 3 metres high
  • Plumbing services need planning permission

There are other factors affecting the possible need for planning permission. You must also consider the building’s placement and surrounding area. For instance, the building:

  • Can’t have a veranda, balcony, or raised platform (over 0.3 metres)
  • Can’t cover more than half the area of land around the “original house”. The original house is the house’s state at construction or on 1 July 1948 for older buildings
  • Can’t be within the curtilage of listed buildings

Special rules also apply if the property is in the Broads, a national park, an AONB, or a World Heritage Site.

If any of these factors come into play, you’ll need to get planning permission for your project.

Does a Garden Office Need Building Regulations Approval?

What about Building Regulations approval? Building Regulations are in place to ensure safe conditions for inhabitants. Garden offices don’t generally need to meet building regulations approval. The exception to this is if you plan to sleep in them. So try not to do too many all-nighters in the office!

Floor space is a factor in deciding if a construction needs to meet building regulations. Most of our garden rooms fall within the sizes that only need to follow simple rules.

  • Garden offices with 15m2 floor space don't need to meet building regulations
  • Garden offices with 15-30m2 floor space don't need to meet building regulations. But, they must be at least 1m from any boundaries
  • Garden offices with 30m2 floor space and over must meet building regulations

Habin's parent company, Potton, specialises in building homes. We have spent more than 50 years perfecting construction techniques. We apply this knowledge and build quality to our garden rooms as well. All our garden offices, no matter the size, meet, or exceed building regulations.

Power Your Garden Office

What about other parts of the construction? As mentioned earlier, if your building needs plumbing, you’ll need planning permission.

While plumbing isn’t necessary for a home office, electricity is. After all, having to regularly drag a laptop back in for recharging isn’t very efficient. Plus, when the temperatures drop in winter, a little heater would be nice.

Any electric supply to an outbuilding must meet building regulations. Habin garden rooms come pre-wired with sockets as standard. We build everything to meet the building regulations. With decades of experience, we make things to a high standard to ensure a hassle-free build.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to connect your garden office to the house electrics. Be sure to hire a professional to complete this task. Installing electrics must meet building regulations to ensure it is safe.

We want you to have the most stress-free installation experience possible. Contact us if you're unsure of any of the requirements for getting a power supply to your garden office. Our Habin consultants can help guide you.

How Will You Use Your Garden Office?

There's one more factor to consider when choosing your garden office. How do you plan to use it? This may affect whether you need planning permission. Even if your building is within the accepted guidelines, how you use the building matters.

Your use of the outbuilding should be incidental to your use of the dwelling house. This means that what is happening in your office is a minor accompaniment to the property and not a focal point.

If you're working at your computer by yourself all day, your use of the building will be incidental. But, if you have a steady stream of clients showing up to your office, that isn’t so incidental. This can affect the traffic, parking, and noise levels in your area. This means your outbuilding may need planning permission.

In Summary - Does My Garden Office Need Planning Permission?

For most people looking to work from home, planning permission won’t be necessary. We've structured our prefab garden room kits to fall outside planning permission requirements. Make sure your use of the premises is incidental, you won’t be sleeping in it, and there won’t be plumbing. Then you won’t have to stress about planning permission and building regulations.

All you have to do is sit back, and enjoy your quiet new office space!