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Building a Garden Office - What do I need to Know?

If for the first time in your life you are working from home and feel this could become permanent, you may be, like many others during lockdown, considering an outside space away from the distractions of home living.

A home office at the bottom of the garden is now quite possible because of the advancements made in portable housing.  Structures are now easily insulated, connected to power and heated while many companies are offering a fully fitted out structure delivered straight to your door.

If you are considering such a structure you may like to know if planning is required or if the building comes under permitted development.  We set out below the general planning guidelines for such structures:

Permitted Development for garden rooms

  • Single storey only and a maximum eaves height of 2.5 meters. Depending on the type of roof, the maximum height is either 3 or 4 meters.
  • The building must be less than 15 square meters and must not contain sleeping accommodation.
  • If the building is within two meters of a boundary of the curtilage of a dwelling house then the maximum height is 2.5 meters.
  • Decking is allowable provided it is not more than 0.3 meters high.
  • The building must not cover more than half the area of land around the original house.
  • If your home is within a World Heritage site, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in a National Park or on the Broads the maximum area to be covered by buildings is limited to 10 square meters

When planning permission is required?

  • Planning consent will is required within the curtilage (or boundary) of a listed building.
  • If you intend to use your office for business e.g. if clients visit your home for treatments etc.
  • If you intend to use the structure as accommodation e.g. for an elderly relative etc.
  • If the area is going to be greater than 15 square meters.
  • The electricity supply in your Garden room will need to comply with part P of the Building Regulations if you have a separate consumer unit which needs connecting to the mains supply.(This work will need to be carried out by a qualified electrician).

Please bear in mind that planning permission for flats and maisonettes are quite different from those of houses so always check with your local planning department first before building any structure.