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Garden Office Guide: Insitu Garden Offices

The-New-Garden-Office-Guide

Rounding up our garden office guide we talk to Insitu Garden Offices about their range of garden offices:

What is your most popular garden office design?

Given the very specialist nature of our product offering and the wealth of experience that we have in the office interiors and space planning fields, the majority of our offices are bespoke to a greater or lesser degree: However our centre glazed models tend to be the most popular, largely because the installation of glazing on a single elevation makes for a more effective use of the internal wall space, particularly with regard to accommodating most space efficiently our modular storage systems.

Why does your design make the perfect garden office, how have you made it user friendly?

Not just user friendly but equally importantly legally compliant.
All of our studio office dimensions have been carefully configured internally to neatly accept both work stations and storage systems from our wide choice of high quality contemporary office furniture ranges, making the best possible use of the space available, and creating the wall-to-wall feel of a fully fitted office, without the expense of bespoke manufacturing.
Following our in-depth office audit the appropriate number of power/data points are established and positioned strategically with regard to workstation wire management systems and other electronic devices.
Our unique fully fitted ready to go office solution has the advantage of determining accurately VDU users PC/lap-top working positions in advance, this enables us to reconfigure the standard lighting grid (If necessary) to avoid unnecessary and uncomfortable glare on screens, in compliance with the 1993 EU VDU directive, a legal obligation when “employed” staff are to be accommodated.
All of our operator/task chairs and workstations have been ergonomically designed not only for comfort but to meet the necessary VDU user regulatory requirements.
For further information and to better understand employers’ obligations, we recommend you visit: http://www.safeworkers.co.uk/vdusandcomputers.html

How do your garden offices comply with Planning Permission?

Generally speaking our studio offices have been carefully designed to avoid the need for planning permission, being considered allowable under the permitted development rules, however there are a few exceptions such as in areas of Outstanding natural beauty and National Parks.
For the avoidance of doubt we would always recommend you make contact with your local planning authority, to discuss your outline proposals before proceeding, if planning permission is required we can handle the planning application on the clients behalf for a small additional fee.

What size garden office do you recommend for one worker to work comfortably?

Years of experience has taught us that there is not a “One size fits all” solution.
Different professions, occupations, work practices, technology & IT/Data requirements,not to mention individual personal preferences can vary considerably client by client:
This is precisely the reason for our office audit and interiors consultation process.
More importantly the information gathered will enable us to advise the ”Correct” size for each individual client. As a guide, we find that most single occupation offices tend to have a footprint of approximately 9-12 Square metres

And for two workers what size garden office do you suggest?

Similarly for two worker occupation, we would make recommendations following the consultative process. As a guide a footprint of 12-15 Square metres would appear to be most popular

Are the foundations included in the price, if so what type?

Yes foundations are included in the price, assuming “Normal” ground conditions, a reasonably level site and uninterrupted access. Our no obligation free of charge site survey will identify if any additional ground-works are necessary and if any additional costs will be incurred.
Ordinarily we use the requisite number of strategically positioned load bearing concrete pads to support the ring beam. In poor soil conditions however, such as made up ground, we may use a steel reinforced concrete raft. On excessively sloping sites we would use a series of piers constructed using load bearing Thermalite Blocks, as the images pictured on our web site graphically illustrate in our case studies (See Mr A B Cheshire)

Are your garden offices suitable for year round use? What type of insulation do you use? How thick are your walls?

Absolutely, cool in summer warm in winter. All of our studio offices are constructed using UK manufactured and BBA certified 100mm thick structurally insulated panels (SIP’s) throughout – walls, roof and floor with a total wall thickness of 160mm. This in conjunction with Celsius clear, high performance, argon gas filled glazing units results in a level of insulation with U-values in excess of current Building Regulations requirements.

What is the exterior cladding on your garden offices?

We use only “Grade A” Western Red Cedar from sustainable sources with genuine FSC accreditation as our primary exterior finishing option. Needing minimal maintenance and with a life expectancy of 50 years plus, left untreated it will fade naturally to an attractive silvery grey or treated with Danish or teak oil preserve the original rich colouring if preferred.
We also offer Russian White Larch as an alternative, largely due to the lighter colouration, and rendered finishes in many shades, often in conjunction with other fire resistant materials on unseen boundary elevations where, in certain situations “non-combustible” materials are required in order to reduce the fire-spread risk.

What is the roof covering?

The standard roof covering is a genuine Firestone EPDM membrane, black only in colour with a life expectancy of over 50 years and a 20 year guarantee. An aluminium finishing trim is fitted to the front and sides with black plastic guttering to the rear (Whilst our buildings have the appearance of a flat roof there is a slight fall to the rear)
As an optional extra we can supply and install a living green sedum roof. Complete with mature sedum plants already established in a lifetimes’ supply of growing medium, this living carpet has a varied mix of flowering sedum plants for all year round colour and texture. In addition to being draught tolerant, there is no need for mowing, weeding or dead-heading, in other words an attractive landscape feature with very low maintenance requirements.

What is the interior lining and floor covering?

All of our studios are fully plastered internally and painted matt white throughout as standard, although clients may choose other colours at their discretion. Light switching, light housings and power socket faces are finished in a modern matching brushed metal finish.
Engineered real wood flooring in a choice of finishes, contract carpet tiles or rubber stud floor tiles in a range of 20 colours are our standard floor coverings. Where engineered wood flooring is installed we fit rubber castor’s to any task chairs supplied to avoid damage to the flooring and to reduce noise.

How many electrical sockets do you include as standard?

The majority of our buildings, as you would expect, are used as Garden Offices, and as such we discuss individual power requirements with each client to determine not only the number of sockets but their positioning in relation to the furniture layout created and agreed.
Not with-standing this, our building are also supplied for many different uses and we include a minimum of 3 double sockets in our smallest building (6 Sq M) rising to 7 double sockets in our largest standard studio offices, which are approximately 30 Sq M.

What sort of lighting do you use in your offices, why have you chosen this type?

We use flush fitting 3 watt, 3 chip low energy down-lights, configured in a lighting grid designed to deliver a minimum 200 Lux level evenly throughout the building.

We believe that the quality of light provided by using standard LED single chip spotlights is not suitable for professional office use, and in many cases when poorly positioned non-compliant with current regulations.
We use a well established specialist lighting company to advise and design our lighting systems, as such we specify a unique LED down-light in a “Flood lens” format with the widest beam angle (38 degrees) currently available. These lights feature not one, but three high power Rebel LED’s for a really powerful decorative light output. The exceptionally low wattage makes them extremely energy efficient in addition to producing very low face temperatures.
Strategic positioning, the wide angle beam and the “Warm” white light colour option we use (As opposed to “Cool” white) helps reduce irritating and uncomfortable glare on computer screens creating instead a very comfortable working environment, essential for those who want to maximise their productivity and avoid debilitating eyestrain caused by extended periods of computer use in inappropriate light conditions.
Our lights are approximately four times more expensive than the standard spotlights widely used, but we believe the investment to be a wise one, and that the superior light quality created to be a considerable aid to effective office working.

Do you include heating in your garden office as standard, if so what type?

We do not include heating as standard, although we do offer highly effective under-floor heating as an optional extra. Our buildings are so well insulated that a simple plug-in oil filled radiator or small wall-mounted panel heater is more than adequate in most cases.

Broadband and telephone are important in a garden office, how do buyers get these to the office?

We can supply IT/Data and Communication solutions in partnership with our approved partners, that range from supplying a totally new package to reconfiguring and moving an existing home based network. The ability to offer the exact cabling and back-up systems that make for a stress free business environment, as part of a complete package, is universally considered a major benefit by our customers.

We can deliver a full VoIP telephone system that works the way that you work. Want your phone system to cover office, home & home office? No problem! We can even include mobile phones as extensions on the system. Each extension can have a separate phone number, so calls can come direct to you, or through the main ‘switchboard’. You can even keep your existing number. And if you move, you can take the number with you, even if you move to the next town or city “Flexible phoning. Forever.”

We use the Internet to send and deliver your calls. So wherever you have an Internet connection, you can connect to your telephone system, using an Internet phone, a softphone on your laptop, or through the mobile network.

To ensure the best quality Internet connections for your calls, we can supply suitable telephone line and broadband connections, as well as leased line and fibre circuits. We can migrate existing lines to take our broadband, too.

We also supply Internet phones to suit your budget & style, including Snom and Gigaset desk phones, as well as Gigaset DECT cordless phones.

On a like for like basis, we generally find that by using Internet telephony your bills are reduced. However, in addition to this, the functionality available using Internet telephony is increased. You will also just have one bill each month for lines, broadband and calls.

We will work with you to tailor the system to work in the way that you want it to work. Should you prefer, we can provide training, so that you can manage the system yourselves. Of course, if you don’t want to manage the system, we’d be delighted to do it for you.

IMPORTANT! Not all Internet Telephony systems provide connection to the Emergency Services. Rest assured that our systems do: 999, 112 and 911 will all get through to the Emergency Services from our Internet telephony systems.

What optional extras would you recommend to create the perfect office setup?

We are specialists in the design and supply of fully fitted “Ready To Go” garden offices, as such we have included almost everything for the modern professional office user, however depending on the orientation of the building window blinds may be advisable, as would the installation of a suitable air conditioning unit if a South facing glazed elevation was either desirable or the site situation made it altogether unavoidable.
We include high quality ergonomic task armchairs in our furniture packages, your office chair is the most important piece of office equipment you will use both in terms of long term health and effective working: If however you are not using our chairs, then take our advice and invest in good quality “fit for purpose” task seating…. For the sake of your back do not buy “Economy” self assembly office chairs under any circumstances.

What is the lead time on your garden offices?

From receipt of order and deposit payment usually 6-8 weeks, although lead times may be extended during the busier summer months.

What is the typical on site build time?

Given “Normal” site conditions generally 7-10 working days, although some of our larger bespoke offices may take a little longer.

How much does a typical one person office cost?

One person office typically £16,000 inclusive of VAT

How much does a typical two person office cost?

Two person office typically £21,000 inclusive of VAT

Are there any hidden extras? (planning fees, electrical hookup etc)

There are no “Hidden” extras but there may be additional costs incurred in foundations depending on the site conditions, however should any such costs apply the client will be advised accordingly before an order is confirmed. The electrical connection to the house supply is at extra cost, which can only be accurately determined following our Free of charge site survey.
As previously mentioned, we take the lighting in our buildings very seriously and we may, on occasion, following our space planning consultation, recommend a reconfiguration of the lighting grid to suit individual need, which may result in a small additional charge.

What is the lifespan of your garden offices, is there any ongoing maintenance?

The modern methods of construction that we employ, allied with the high quality of the materials that we use will deliver buildings with a maintenance free life expectancy in excess of 50 years.
The Western Red Cedar we use as our principal exterior cladding material needs no further treatment being naturally resistant to both fungal and insect attack, it will fade in time to a silvery grey or can be treated with Danish oil to preserve its’ original rich and varied colouration.

What guarantees come with the office, are they free?

We provide a 10 year insurance backed guarantee with all buildings.
In addition the LED lamp replacements, have a 7 year lifespan guarantee.

If you could give a buyer one piece of advice about buying a garden office, what would it be?

When using a garden room for professional office use, buy only from a specialist, who has knowledge of, and experience in creating functional and effective working environments, that will in turn promote a healthy, safe and highly productive workspace: And don’t forget that no matter what the work chair is all important.
You wouldn’t really expect us to say anything else would you?

Valuable advice from the Insitu team. For more information call Insitu on 0800 061 2639 or visit their website www.insitugardenoffice.co.uk

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