Planning permission guidelines for garden rooms are well documented, but the Building Regulations relating to garden rooms are not so clear. Executive Garden Rooms have pointed out that many buyers are unaware of the rules when building a garden room.
What is the difference between Planning Permission & Building Regulations?
Planning Permission is concerned about how a building looks, where it is situated and what size it is, whilst Building Regulations are concerned that the building is structurally well built and that the building meets current standards for foundations, insulation, ventilation, plumbing, electrics fire safety etc.
Finding a garden room design that falls into Permitted Development or applying and gaining planning approval for a garden room is not the end of the story, you need to go one stage further and check to see if you need Building Regulations.
You don’t need Building Regulations for a garden room if:
- The internal area is less than 15m2
- If the Internal area is less than 30m2 and is not within 1 metre of the boundary
So, if you are going for a garden room that doesn’t contain sleeping accommodation and you are siting it more than 1m away from the boundaries of your garden you don’t need to apply for Building Regs. The 1m from the boundary is to do with the risk of fire when combustible building materials such are wood are used.
You do need to apply for Building Regulations if:
- If you require a toilet, shower or basin to the mains sewer
- If it is self-contained or a living accommodation
- If the building is 30m2 or over
So, if you are planning a office with toilet, a bedroom with shower room or a full blown granny annexe you will need to apply for Building Regulations. Large garden rooms of 30 sqm or more also need Building Regulation approval.
Two types of Building Regulation approval for garden rooms
You’ll hear about to different types of Building Regulation approval in the garden room industry – full Building Regulations and the Mobile Homes Act. With full Building Regulations the garden room is treated like a house and the building needs to meet all the same high standards, with the Mobile Homes Act certain garden rooms can be treated like mobile homes or caravans – the key part of compliance is that buildings that fall under the Mobile Homes Act are temporary structures which can quickly and easily removed from the site – do all garden rooms fall into this category?No!
The specifications for the two categories are very different and as a consequence the standards they are built to differ, and you should be aware of this when comparing specifications.
Your supplier will handle Building Regulations for you
An experienced garden room supplier will be well practiced in dealing with the Building Control Office, they will know how to design and build to Building Regulation approval and will handle the process for you, there are two processes for doing this:
- full plans – submitted & approved 3-4 weeks before the build commences
- building notice – this can be submitted 48 hours before building commences but you are at risk of the inspector making changes to the build spec after materials have been ordered!
Your other option is to choose a supplier who has gained Building Regulations System Approval for their design and construction method.
Full Building Regulation approval can be an expensive process but this should all be included in your quoted price for your garden room.
As well as complying with the Law, full Building Regulation approval gives you, the buyer peace of mind that the workmanship, build specification is to a high standard, it will also give you a certificate which is important when you come to sell the property.