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Planning Permission and Building Regulations for Modular Garden Offices

We have been working with clients recently on designing garden offices.

These buildings provide a low cost solution for homeowners looking to expand their living space quickly and cost effectively without the disruption caused by the time taken to construct traditional extensions. They can offer small businesses, started at home, the option to move away from the kitchen table and into an affordable office space without committing to costly rentals.

As well as offices these prefabricated buildings can offer additional living space, gymnasiums, and a host of other uses.

One issue that has arisen when discussing projects with clients is whether planning permission is required. There are a few misconceptions which is partly down to the power of television.

Features on garden homes and small spaces have appeared in popular television programmes recently, some of which can be misleading. One particular programme contained a feature on a modular system designed as living/sleeping accommodation. The presenter, stated clearly that the building does not require planning permission which is not correct. As well as planning permission they may also require building control approval.

Planning Permission

  • Regulations apply to garages, greenhouses, sheds and ancillary garden buildings such as sauna rooms, swimming pools and many other building uses.
  • Outbuildings are judged to be permitted development, not needing planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions:
  • No outbuilding on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation.
  • Single storey, maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres, maximum overall height 4 metres with a dual pitched roof or three metres for any other roof.
  • Maximum height of 2.5 metres in the case of a building, enclosure or container within two metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse.
  • No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
  • No more than half the area of land around the original house covered by additions or other buildings.
  • In Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks, World Heritage Sites the maximum area to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers and pools more than 20 metres from house to be limited to 10 square metres.
  • On designated land buildings, enclosures, containers and pools at the side of properties will require planning permission.
  • Within the curtilage of listed buildings, any outbuilding will require planning permission.

Building Regulations

With a garden office building regulations will not normally apply if the floor area of the building is less than 15 square metres and contains no sleeping accommodation.

When the floor area is between 15 m2 and 30 m2, you will not normally need to apply for building regulations approval as long as the building contains no sleeping accommodation and is a minimum of 1 metre away from any boundary or is manufactured of non-combustible materials.

A modular garden home project that requires planning permission and building control approval will result in a bit more expense and the project taking a bit longer. It may also result in some design restrictions, however, unless permission is refused, it should not discourage anyone from looking at using this type of building system to provide more usable space.

It is recommended that you seek professional advice before commencing any building project.

Modular Building Consultants can assist with all stages of your project. For more information please contact us on 01908 609807.

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