We’re all keeping our eyes on the pennies these days, and whilst a quality garden room is a sound investment that will add value to your home and to your lifestyle you can quickly spend a lot of money!
You’re obviously doing your research into the topic by reading this guide, so we thought we would look at some of the financial elements of buying a garden room, as you will see in some cases its not all about the price quoted on the website!
How much do they cost?
How much you spend on a garden room will depend on three main factors – how big a building you want, the level of specification you choose and whether you buy a standard ‘off the peg’ design or commission a tailor made design.
To buy a garden room that you can comfortably use all year round and that is built to last i.e. built with the same materials as you find in house construction, you need to set aside a budget of at least £6,000, yes, you can pick up ‘buildings’ marketed as home offices for less than this but realistically they are just glorified sheds!
A budget of £6,000 will buy you a small yet perfectly formed garden room with around 4.4sqm / 49sqft of internal space, plenty big enough for a one person garden office. You can expect a good finish at this price point with well specified electrics, good insulation standards and security features so you can move your stuff in and start work straight away.
Quality garden rooms range upwards from this starting point, £15k to £20k seems to be an average price point as buyers combine extra floorspace with designer features such as large expanses of glazing. Bespoke designs where the design is tailored to your needs and tastes cost that bit more than standard designs, but not that much more, and are a great solution if you have an awkward site or particular design feature in mind. Most bespoke designers will be able to give you a price per square meter for use as a guide price.
Many garden room suppliers clearly showcase their prices on their websites, this is obviously very useful and allows you to compare the different suppliers side by side, but when doing so its important you look closely at the specifications and compare like with like, as what can at first glance be more expensive proposition may have a more durable specification.
There could be hidden extras…
Most garden room suppliers offer turnkey prices for their buildings – this is one price for everything from foundation through to decoration, however some extra costs can creep in! A Google search will throw up several blog posts from buyers who have not read specifications closely enough and have been disappointed to find that ‘something’ is not included in their package, but the supplier has provided the building specified and ordered!
Some of the costs that may creep in on top of the building price include Planning Permission fees, in many cases a garden room doesn’t require Planning Permission but it is your responsibility as the homeowner to check, if you do require it, your supplier will normally offer to handle this for you as part of the project cost, but you will have the actual planning fee to pay which is around £175.
The same goes for Building Regulations, not normally required on buildings between 15 and 30sqm if they are sited at least 1m from the boundary, but will be required if you plan to use your garden room for sleeping in – even if very occasionally, its difficult to predict the fees for Building Regulations as they vary depending on the work carried out and the cost of the project.
Another grey area are foundations, the majority of suppliers now include them in the project, cost but others don’t, and this can be a major area where one garden room seems cheaper than another – because it doesn’t include them! The foundations needed for a garden room vary depending on its footprint size and the ground conditions, but could be anything from a few hundred pounds upwards. When thinking about the foundations – who is clearing the site of vegetation? Some specifications will ask for the site to be clear of grass, weeds etc and levelled out whilst other suppliers will handle this all for you in the price of the project.
We have heard from a few buyers who were disappointed with the flooring in their garden room, the pictures showed a smart laminate floor but the specification just specified a flooring deck ready for your own finish! You have lots of choice for the floor in a garden room from carpet to hardwood, but check what’s included as getting someone in to lay a laminate floor can cost you an extra few hundred pounds!
With rising fuel costs we are noticing that more and more suppliers are adding delivery costs on top of their standard prices. Most suppliers now offer nationwide installation of garden rooms, many offer free delivery within say 100 miles of their workshops, whilst others charge everyone by the mile. The costs vary from supplier to supplier, and obviously how far you live from your chosen supplier, but we have seen £3 a mile quoted a few times.
The most common hidden cost although widely published as such, is the connection of the electrics to the mains supply. Garden rooms are fully wired but have to be connected to the mains supply by a registered electrician and not every supplier sends an electrician to site. The cost can vary depending on how far your garden room is from the house as an armoured cable needs to be buried underground but you should allow anything from a couple hundred pounds to a thousand.
A number of suppliers offer insurance backed 10 year warranties on their garden rooms and this is obviously a very reassuring feature as in the event of your supplier going out of business, and you having a problem, the cost of rectifying it will be covered. There is however a cost for this peace of mind, and you need to check where its offered who is paying the premium, if its you, you’ll need to factor this cost into your budget.
Sometimes if one supplier seems more expensive than another its because they have factored in these costs, so find out when comparing and allow for these costs when setting your budget.
When do you pay?
You normally pay for a garden office in stages, you should expect to pay a deposit of anything up to 50% of the project cost, another payment is often asked for just before the building arrives on site this can be anything up to 45% of the project cost, and then there is a final payment once the work is completed.
Some companies offer refundable deposits if you change your mind, others don’t so check the small print to know your position.
It can be rather daunting handing over a big deposit to a supplier and there are
ways of protecting your money should your supplier go out of business. Paying on a Credit Card is one option another is to chose a supplier who belongs to the Consumer Protection Association, this is a body that vets its members work and they offer insurance policies such as the 10 year warranty described above. The CPA offer a policy to protect deposits paid to registered suppliers, like any insurance policy you pay a premium for this cover, but it does give you peace of mind, you do need to check the terms as they cover up to 25% of the agreed project cost or £7,500 which ever is the lesser amount, and as we have mentioned some deposits can be more than this for a garden room.