Jun 08, 2021

Closeup of architects drawings with a pencil and a ruler on top

Planning permission is one of the biggest concerns for people considering a garden room in the UK. You might think there is lots of paperwork to do, or that it can be tricky to successfully apply for it. With this helpful guide, we will take you through planning permission for garden rooms. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear that it’s unlikely you’ll need to apply for it, but read on to find out more…

What is Planning Permission?

Planning permission is used to make sure that new developments fit in with the surrounding area and is largely concerned with the exterior of a building. Planning officers will examine factors like cladding materials, building style and highway access to ensure that the new development will have a positive impact on the surrounding area.

Is Planning Permission the same as Building Regulations?

No, it isn’t. Planning permission is mostly concerned with how an area develops, so will a building’s exterior and how this fits with the local vernacular. Whereas Building Regulations are about making sure the building is safe, so they set out standards for specifics like ceiling heights and thermal performance.

For many types of building work, you have to satisfy both Building Regulations and planning permission to proceed. In the case of garden rooms, however, they don’t necessarily coincide; you will need to meet Building Regulations for garden rooms if you’re having plumbing installed in your garden room, but won’t necessarily have to apply for planning permission.

Do You Need Planning Permission for a Garden Room?

In most cases, no. There are exceptions, such as if you happen to live in an area which is listed, an AONB, a World Heritage Site or similar, when you probably will have to apply for planning permission. You also might have to apply for planning permission if you want plumbing in your garden room.

Planning permission will also be necessary if you want to use it as a guest room, because then it will be classified as ‘accommodation’ rather than an ‘outbuilding’. We can advise you if this is the case. If none of these apply to you, however, then you do not need planning permission for your garden room.

This is because garden rooms fall under what’s known as ‘permitted development’, which means you don’t have to apply for planning permission, provided your garden room follows these standards:

  • Eaves should be no more than 2.5m in height
  • Pitched roof no higher than 4m
  • Roofs in other styles no higher than 3m
  • If plumbing is necessary then planning permission must be obtained

The materials, dimensions, and designs of our Habins have been specifically designed to fall inside the standards for permitted development, so don’t need planning permission. Unless you would like plumbing or live in a protected area, you won’t have to worry about planning permission at all!

How Big Can a Garden Room Be Without Planning Permission?

There is no restriction on floor size for a garden room, however certain larger floor areas do need to meet Building Regulations for certain sizes. Luckily, all the different size offerings of our Habins meet Building Regulations as standard. Their floor area comes in at 30m2 or under, to make sure they’re permitted development and are unlikely to need planning permission.

Can I Work in My Garden Room?

Of course you can! As long as your garden office room does not change the main use of your house, it won’t need planning permission. Using your garden room as an office counts as ‘incidental’ which falls under permitted development. However, if you plan to use the garden room to run a business and/or have clients visiting you, then you will need planning permission, as this will no longer be considered ‘incidental’ use.

This may also affect your council tax. If you run a business out of your garden room, then you may be wondering, Do I Need to Pay Business Rates for My Garden Office? Your local council may consider it a place of business that needs to pay business rates.

Can I Sleep In My Garden Room?

Not permanently, because if it’s intended as accommodation then it will need planning permission and must meet Building Regulations. This is to ensure safe living conditions, but luckily doesn’t count nodding off at your desk if you’re using your garden room as a work-from-home office...

Do I Need Planning Permission for a Toilet in a Garden Room?

If a 20 second commute from your back door isn’t convenient enough, you may want to consider adding a toilet or washing facilities in to your garden office. Depending on your local council, incorporating plumbing into your garden room may require you to apply for planning permission, but we can help advise you on this.

Any kind of plumbing for your garden room will need to meet Building Regulations for waste.

Summary – Does A Garden Room Need Planning Permission?

You can have a good-sized garden room, to use in many different ways, all without needing planning permission. As with anything, there are exceptions, but we’ve got loads of successful planning applications under our belt. So, in the rare eventuality that you do need to apply for planning permission, we can guide you through the process to make it smooth and speedy. You’ll be relaxing in your very own garden room in no time!

The only thing left to do is decide how you want to use your garden room. You may have your heart set on a garden office, but you could double the use of your garden room. Maybe add in an area to use as a home cinema, or a games room? Have a look at our Top 11 Uses for a Garden Room to gain some inspiration to get the most out of your garden room.

Ready to build your own garden room?