Top questions to ask when planning a garden room

Westbury Garden Rooms one of the leading garden room extension suppliers offers valuable advice on the questions to ask when buying a garden room.

There is little doubt that garden rooms add an entirely new dimension to any property – whether it be to add some much needed space, or to create a room for an entirely new function such as an office.

However, the whole process from selecting a design to getting planning permission can be a stressful one, so here Jonathan Hey, MD at WestburyGardenRooms outlines some of the key questions to answer before embarking on the build process:

1. Who will manage my project?

Project Managers play an essential role in the whole project process and so it is important that you are offered someone with adequate experience, and someone that you feel comfortable discussing each and every stage of the project with. If you are going to be managing the project yourself, it is important that you are able to give enough time to the project and that you feel confident making the decisions on all stages, and are also able to coordinate every element of the project.

2. Will the designer complete the building work or do I have to source my own builder?

Many people think that their designer will also manufacture and build it, but often a design company will do just that – design. This leaves the homeowner to then go out and find their own builder. If this is the case, it can be worth discussing whether the designer can recommend anyone, or whether you will have to source someone entirely by yourself.

3. What planning permission(s) will I need?

This tends to be the million dollar question, and unfortunately it can be quite complex to explain when planning permission is and isn’t needed. There’s nothing worse than spending time completing the paperwork only to realise you haven’t completed all the forms or provided adequate information.

It all comes down to the size and use of the room as to what permission is required and a designer/builder should guide you through the process of building regulations, planning permission and permitted development depending on your needs.

4. How can I see what the finished product will look like?

The designer should be able to provide some illustration of what your specific garden room will look like, traditionally these will be “artists impression” either as an architectural sketch or watercolour. Some companies provide exact 2D graphical representation of what the extension will look. All these will help you visualise the completed work and make an informed decisions regarding the aesthetics of the extension, also offering some peace of mind, safe in the knowledge of what the end result will look like.

5. What guarantees can you give me about safety during the build?

Safety is paramount, in terms of the finished garden room and during the build. The builder should be able to offer assurances about their ability to manage the hazards and risks that present themselves during any construction work. And as a client, the builder also has a responsibility to you, to meet your own personal standards of safety – particularly if you have young children on site. These standards should be agreed upon before any work commences.

6. Do you have examples of similar work you’ve completed in the past?

When choosing a builder and designer, it is important to see examples of their previous work. Lots of companies will have portfolios and case studies online that you can review and check out for yourself, but in addition to this, run a Google search to check for any negative feedback. The best advice, take up references.

7. What is the complete cost going to be?

Horror stories of projects going massively over budget are uncommon but do occur. Choosing the wrong designer/builder may cause this, hence taking up references. This is occasionally down to the homeowner and builder not communicating well when factoring in each and every element of the project from the outset, such as heating solutions or even finishing touches such as suitable lights and furniture. It sounds obvious but the best thing to do is to write down a complete list of tasks in order to work out the overall cost of the garden room.

If cost and budgeting is something you may struggle with, it can be worth choosing a company that offers all services under one roof (design, manufacture, build) as this means that there are less separate factors to account for.

8. Will the garden room add value to my home?

This is one of the most common questions we are asked, and it is always difficult to answer!

Garden rooms can add value to a house if carefully designed. It is factors such as making sure the extension is built to last, using the correct materials as well as seemingly obvious factors such as positioning the garden room in the right place (so that it doesn’t get too much or too little sun) and ensuring it blends well with the rest of the property that can make a real difference.

With the recent changes in stamp duty and the expense of moving, it can often prove more economical to add extra living space to a property than going through the hassle of moving.

For more information about Westbury Garden Rooms, visit their website

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