Do you ever find yourself wishing that your house was, well, BIGGER? Perhaps you don’t want to move away from your pals next door, or the brilliant wee shop down the street. Maybe your house isn’t near any people or shops, and that’s exactly how you like it.
Moving isn’t an option, but you do wish you could add an extra room. Somewhere to keep all the stuff you’ve somehow accumulated. Somewhere to let your loved ones practise the violin without destroying your peace. Or just somewhere to spread yourself out and enjoy whatever you enjoy.
But even the thought of an extension is just too much. Architects. Planning permission. Builders. Electricians. Plasterers. Upheaval. Dust. Mess. Noise! Can’t someone just magically create space without making you feel like Nick Knowles is making a tv programme around you?
YES. Yes, they absolutely can. A reputable garden room company can do exactly that. They don’t even have to come into your house to do it.
Can you really think of a garden room as an extension of your house?
Here’s exactly why you can, and how a garden room may be the perfect solution to your space problem.
How is a garden room built?
You can be forgiven for thinking that a garden room isn’t the same as a “real” building. After all, you wouldn’t live in a shed, would you?
It’s a common misconception that timber buildings aren’t as solid or reliable as other types of construction. There are so many different types, and deciding which timber building is right for you can be a minefield.
While a shed wall has a single layer of timber cladding, a good-quality garden room is built of multiple layers. This structure is much more stable and waterproof than simply using thicker timber, like in a log cabin.
While a timber garden room will have timber cladding, it will also have a cavity gap, a dampproof membrane to keep water out, a layer of OSB, insulation and finally a lining material like timber cladding or plasterboard.
This diagram shows how all the layers are placed together.
This structure isn’t just robust; it’s also fully watertight. Properly constructed, a garden room meets Building Standards, which is one of the reasons that it can be an extension of your home.
What are Building Standards?
Building Standards is a series of rules and legislation set out by the Scottish Government. These rules make sure that buildings are safe and fit for purpose.
Building Standards exist to protect everyone who lives in a house or uses buildings. When you buy or rent a home, they give you peace of mind that it is suitable for you and your family to live in.
The rules themselves are huge and complex, the sort of thing that architects and structural engineers have to trouble themselves with. However, the 550-page document that details the rules for domestic buildings is available online if you really want to get involved. (Yes, obviously, I’ve got a copy. I’m a massive geek.)
They govern all new buildings, as well as extensions and alterations to existing buildings.
Whether your home is a brick, stone, concrete, or timber construction, it must follow the rules set out by Building Standards. If a garden room is compliant with Building Standards, by law, it is as safe, as structurally sound, as fireproof, and as reliable as any other type of building.
But you’re not building a house – you’re just looking for more space so you don’t strangle anyone!
That’s why it’s important for you to know that a garden room can absolutely be seen as an extension of your home.
Do I need a building warrant to build a garden room?
For a new structure like a built extension to comply with Building Standards, you need a building warrant. This gives you permission to carry out the work in the first place and ensures that what you’re building will be safe and compliant.
Be warned – building warrant applications are complicated. Your best bet for a successful application is to enlist an architect or structural engineer to assist you, which can be a costly business.
However, a garden room is a different story. Under Regulation 5, Schedule 3 (told you I was a massive geek) is a list of the types of buildings that are exempt from needing a building warrant. Here’s the category that applies to garden rooms:
What does this mean?
“Ancillary to” means that the building is related to another building – in other words, your home. You’re not out in the wilds somewhere, putting up a garden room in the middle of nowhere to live in. This building will “belong” to your house.
The curtilage of a house is the area that your house stands in that belongs to you as part of the property. Building Standards define it as “land area within the same occupation.” It includes any garden, paths, patios and driveways that are within the boundary of your property.
Simple terms? You can put a single-storey detached building in your garden or on the land belonging to your house, as long as it’s over 8m2 and under 30m2. No building warrant needed.
The second column in this table lists exceptions to that exception (I told you this stuff was complicated). So you want to make sure that your garden room isn’t within 1m of your house, or within 1m of a boundary. If you want a swimming pool deeper than 1.2m, or mains plumbing, however, you need a building warrant.
Do I Need Planning Permission For A Garden Room?
The great news is that for the vast majority of garden rooms, building warrants aren’t necessary, and planning permission may not be either.
This not only means that you can save on the cost of the project, but it also removes the paperwork needed to apply. It’s not the end of the world if you have to have a building warrant or planning permission, but life is definitely easier and cheaper without them.
Is a garden room cheaper than an extension?
Built-on extensions don’t always need planning permission, but will need a building warrant in most cases. This is one of the factors that mean that garden rooms are generally cheaper than an extension. Obviously, it depends on the details of your individual project, but if you compare garden rooms to extensions, garden rooms usually cost less.
What are the benefits of a garden room?
A garden room can be seen as an extension of your home but is separate from the rest of your home. You might see this separation as a disadvantage rather than a benefit, but think back to your desire for more space.
Sometimes more space is simply about having a place to keep things. But often more space is about having a place to do things. The benefit of having a room separate from but close to your home is that whatever you choose to do in there is away from everything else.
So the violin novice? Out of sight, out of mind, and most importantly, out of earshot.
Many garden room owners choose to have their hobby, workplace, or guest bedroom in their garden because of this separation. A garden room doesn’t just give you more space. It gives you peace and quiet in that space. You can close the door on the rest of the world for an hour, or even a few days, safe in the knowledge that it’s just a short trip through the garden to find it all again.
And with the proper set-up, you can do literally anything in your garden room that you can do in your home. It really is an extra room, separate but close by.
To take a good look at a real-life garden room, pop into our Show Area here at Errol. There’s a gorgeous garden room as well as our sheds, summerhouses and a garage with carport. Our Sales Team are happy to answer any questions you might have!