What is your most popular garden office design?
We like to do things a little bit differently at Swift. Rather than have specific models that our clients choose from, we love to listen to what our client specifically needs and desires from their new space and then we design a building to suit.
There are certainly some popular features which reoccur on many bespoke models:
- Large windows that connect with the garden environment and bring in plenty of light. If you have the option to work from home, then you should certainly enjoy the surroundings!
- Larger dimension that add flexibility to their use. Many clients start by wanting an office, and then the room becomes a focal point for other activities.
- Careful placement of solid walls to ensure that there is enough space for storage units, shelves and perhaps a TV screen.
Why does your design make the perfect garden office, how have you made it user friendly?
Our design is based on your requirements and dreams, so it will always be your perfect garden office. One of our very first jobs is to listen to how you will use the room and we discuss the little touches that make using the room a pleasure. This can be as fundamentals as the choice of a bi-fold, casement or sliding door, or maybe something more detailed such as the precise position of power sockets and a TV point.
How do your garden offices comply with Planning Permission?
This is an interesting point. Most people are aware that permitted development rights often allow surprisingly substantial buildings to be erected without the need for a planning application. Swift garden offices are no exception and we can advise on height limits and distances from boundaries to optimize these benefits.
Just as relevant though is the fact that we often handle planning applications for clients who would prefer to wait a few more weeks in order to have a building without compromise. We are proud of our 100% success with clients planning applications and will always give considered advice so that you can make the best long-term decision. As always, it is all about you, the client!
What size garden office do you recommend for one worker to work comfortably?
We can build a room as small as anyone could want it, but we would recommend a minimum size of around 3m x 3m for one person to have a desk, filing cabinet an second chair for a visitor.
We really enjoy allowing the client the opportunity to consider all possible uses of the room so that its size can be carefully calculated to work best. An example would be creating extra space for a settee where the kids can relax and read or watch a DVD!
And for two workers what size garden office do you suggest?
Normally 4m x 3m would be fine for two people working together. More space would be needed if there are likely to be visitors or if a separate “break out” area would be an advantage. Sometimes a toilet or kitchenette area is valuable as it removes the need for a business colleague to use facilities in your home.
Are the foundations included in the price, if so what type?
We always provide a quotation that includes everything that the client needs, from foundations to electrical connections and any other features and options.
Jackpad or Swift foundations are often used as a robust, efficient foundation system that is particularly non-invasive and enjoys excellent green credentials.
Reinforced concrete foundations will be used if extra headroom is required while still adhering to a 2.5m height limit (planning restrictions). It may also be a preferred system where ground conditions are not suitable for pads, or where there will be particularly high loadings, such as a free-weight gym or dance studio.
We can advise you on the best option when we have carried out a site survey which can include using testing equipment to measure the load bearing characteristics of the ground.
Are your garden offices suitable for year round use? What type of insulation do you use? How thick are your walls?
Absolutely yes! Our garden rooms are often better insulated and more cozy than your house! A minimum of a 100mm thick Structural Insulated Panel creates a very strong and resilient wall. We then add an additional air cavity, water-proof membrane, cladding (cedar, render, stone, etc) and plasterboard to create a wall of at least 170mm thickness. For even greater strength and insulation each element can be upgraded to suit your needs. Bear in mind that sound insulation is also outstanding in these rooms and can be brought up to even higher levels if needed.
A building control inspector last week told me that if all buildings were this well constructed then his job would be a lot easier. Nice result!
What is the exterior cladding on your garden offices?
What would you like your building to look like? Western red cedar is a great favorite; a beautiful natural finish that fits in to almost any garden environment. It is durable, classic and even smells good!
Rendered walls, brick or stone finish, solid colour cladding systems, zinc, slate…. Let’s look at the possibilities with you and create something spectacular!
What is the roof covering?
Our flat roofs are covered in Firestone EPDM rubber membrane as standard. A great product that has banished old-school pre-conceptions about flat roofs being unreliable. Green sedum roofs are a popular option to melt your building into the natural surroundings.
Pitched roofs are often covered in a slate or tile that matches nearby properties. We haven’t done a thatched roof yet, but it is probably only a matter of time!
What is the interior lining and floor covering?
Now is your chance to create the office you always dreamt of working in. We plaster he walls to give a beautiful smooth finish that is then decorated with colour schemes of your choice. We also have interior designers on our team who will add real individuality with wallpapers and themed blinds or drapes and perhaps special touches with the furnishings and accent pieces.
Structurally the floors are smooth and sealed, ready for high quality laminate flooring, or perhaps wooden floor, tiling, carpets, or perhaps the latest range of vinyl floor coverings. As always with Swift; it is your choice.
How many electrical sockets do you include as standard?
A standard office will have at least 4 double sockets (brushed nickel finish looks nice, or would you like white or gold?) with larger rooms having between 6 and 10 double sockets. These can be positioned wherever you like, including high level for wall mounted TV’s.
What sort of lighting do you use in your offices, why have you chosen this type?
To make the best use of the available internal height, recessed downlighters are a great choice. Non-invasive, subtle and they can be multi-zoned switched for special lighting effects. Newly available LED light bulbs are now being introduced to give years of economical lighting.
Another choice is surface mounted “halo” lights which combine downlighting with an attractive spread across the ceiling.
You will be getting the message by now…. It is all about your choice and preferences.
Do you include heating in your garden office as standard, if so what type?
We don’t provide a heating system as standard. We can simply leave the power supply for clients who wish to use stand-alone heaters or we can install any of the following:
- Automated climate control
- Underfloor heating
- Water filled radiators
- Wood burning stoves
Broadband and telephone are important in a garden office, how do buyers get these to the office?
They don’t – we do.
Wireless technology is becoming better which may remove the need for cables, though while we are running power cables, it is often advisable to include a TV cable, CAT5 cable and any further communication cables that ensure your office is set up for the future.
What optional extras would you recommend to create the perfect office setup?
How long have you got!?
We have a wide network of experts who can provide virtually anything for your new office that will help you work better and enjoy your new surroundings. Here are a few of the “extras” that our clients often request. Some are major elements of the building, some are minor, but all make a difference to your new space.
- Washroom with toilet and washbowl
- Shower room
- Boiling water / filtered cold water on tap for instant drinks
- Fitted furniture
- Remote control lighting systems
- Electronic control systems (flick switches via your iphone!)
- In-built sound systems
- Window blinds
- Garden lighting schemes
- Landscaping and decking / patios
- Spa-pools and covered entertaining areas
…………….the list is as long as your dreams…………
What is the lead time on your garden offices?
In the most urgent of cases, we have been on site within 2 weeks of the design being approved! Usually we are working to a lead time of around 4-6 weeks and if elements are included that have to be specially ordered this may extend the time a few weeks more.
Most importantly, we will set out a schedule that you will be able to rely upon. We will keep you informed of all the progress so that you never have to worry about “what is going on”!
What is the typical on site build time?
The main elements of the building are usually completed within two days, such is the quality of the pre-fabrication in the factory. Then, by the end of the first week most garden offices will be ready for plastering. A few days later it has thoroughly dried out and the decorators can go in and the electricians to complete their certified work. Total time is around 10 days.
How much does a typical one person office cost?
Bespoke service and designs don’t fit easily into price lists because they are all different. This can mean lower or higher investments, depending upon your needs. A compact, beautifully crafted and “ready for use” office usually starts at around £14,000 (including VAT) for a building of around 3m x 3m dimensions.
How much does a typical two person office cost?
A larger room that is around 4m x 3m will cost around £16,500 (including VAT). What we promise at Swift is excellent value for money. Your investment is important to us and we work hard to deliver an exceptional service (see the testimonials on our website: www.swiftorg.co.uk/testimonials)
Are there any hidden extras? (planning fees, electrical hookup etc)
There will be no surprises. Our quote will include everything that you want from your room. We will have discussed all of your desired options and sought the best value for your particular project.
What is the lifespan of your garden offices, is there any ongoing maintenance?
Because we use materials that are top-notch building elements, they are usually approved by the BBA. Their criteria is to expect a minimum of a 60 year lifespan. Our criteria is to build the smallest office in exactly the same way as we build a massive commercial nursery school. We want your building to be permanent and cherished.
We will brief you about any ongoing maintenance to keep your building looking and performing beautifully for years and years. There isn’t much to do, but like your house, it needs a small amount of attention from time to time.
What guarantees come with the office, are they free?
An industry leading, insurance-backed 10 year warranty is included with all of our domestic building projects. This even covers the deposit payment that you make upon ordering your building.
If you could give a buyer one piece of advice about buying a garden office, what would it be?
We are truly passionate about being market leaders in this exciting and innovative sector of the building industry. We believe in strong relationships with you, our client. We believe in being and using the best and we believe in getting the perfect solution for our clients and their needs.
Interesting reading? Give the Swift team a call on 0800 3102 800 / 0777 3333 144 or visit their website www.swiftorg.co.uk