Henley Offices is one of the longest established garden office companies, having launched their first design back in 2001. We recently caught up with John Norman the MD of Henley Offices to ask him some questions about the Henley range of buildings.
Henley is one of the pioneers of the garden office, how long have you been around and where did your initial concept come from?
The Henley brand has been around for over 17 years now; we commissioned an architect in 2001 to help us design and develop a professional Office in the Garden, with a difference.
At the time our research showed there was really nothing like this available, even though there were nearly 2m people working from home – the rest is history..
We tend to use the more interchangeable term ‘garden room’, but there are subtle differences between a dedicated garden office and a garden room aren’t there?
You’re right ..apart from the specialist office furniture we produce ..the main difference is in the actual office design. We have developed models that are truly functional garden offices
These units are ergonomically designed to ensure they are secure and meet all the Health & Safety regulations, that a corporate customer and individual, has to consider.
What benefits does someone looking to buy a home office get buying from a dedicated garden office supplier?
Well over the years we have installed 1000’s of Home Office units, for people & companies such as BT, IBM, Government and many others.
This has given us a depth of experience in office design & build, as well as specialist finance, office technology, planning permission and a whole range of flexible working issues including the initial business case to work from home!
Many people looking for a garden office plan to run a business from it, what is the situation with Planning Permission in these instances, after all a business isn’t incidental to the house as the Permitted Development rules state?
You don’t always need planning permission to work from a garden office. In short, the planners are keen to preserve the residential nature of most neighbourhoods, so the key test will always be: is it still mainly a home or has it become business premises with your office in the garden?
We guess due to their design, your buildings generally don’t need planning permission to be built, but if the customer’s situation requires it are you able to handle this for them?
Yes we offer a free planning service for customers with financial guarantees that cover all the drawings, design statements and the latest daylight and sunlight assessments
There are many benefits for a business to buy and work from a garden office, such as tax breaks etc. aren’t there?
The complete Henley range is designed & built so you or your company can recover the VAT and even Capital Allowances depending on the Henley’s location, use and who’s paying for it.
So a Henley is extremely tax efficient
Some buyers ask how safe a garden office is, what security features do your offices have?
From tests we know that our window and door components are more secure and better quality than most new build properties, so we will always stop the opportunist burglar breaking into your Henley.
However, if you need extra security we can enhance this with the latest alarm & video technology.
Another recurring concern of buyers is, is a garden office comfortable to use all year round, how have you ensured this?
This really centres on the glass walls, heating and levels of insulation which we put into the floors, walls and ceilings to preserve the heat loss.
In particular, we use a range of insulation materials including Aspen Aerogel which is up to 4 times better than UK building regulations and simply the best insulation in the world
Your Mini & Vista ranges with their curved roof are iconic garden office designs, why do you think they have survived the test of time so well?
The Mini and Vista are buildings that blend into most garden scapes, complementing modern or traditional house designs.
Customers ask us to bespoke colours, doors and windows – so they achieve the exact effect they want.
Are we right in thinking that you offer built-in office furniture, this must maximise space?
Yes, we have a Multidesk office system that is specifically designed for our garden office range.
Its integrated into the interior with adjustable shelves, cupboards and large desktop strategically placed to optimize the available space
We see that in recent years you have added a garden room range to your portfolio, how do these differ to your garden offices?
People came to us asking for a hybrid office/room ..and that’s how the designs evolved from the Waveney through to the glass-walled contemporary Stanza and Canto.
So you can specify wide opening doors for outdoor living as well as benefiting from the integrity of a Henley Office.
You offer several standard designs, do you also cater for clients with more bespoke needs?
Yes, we do…in fact we’ve built professional music & video studios through to school rooms & workshops for clients.
As you’ve said before bespoke doesn’t mean expensive and the building system we have developed means the sizes and options are enormous and very affordable
At The Garden Room Guide we are often asked if garden offices/rooms can be moved, can Henley buildings?
Henley’s are completely portable and easily moved any distance with our national removal service. This has become a popular service over the years as we also support the resale of pre-owned Henley’s and take care of all the essential groundwork’s, install and electrical connections.
How long is the typical buying process from the initial visit to completion?
The lead time on a Henley averages about 5 weeks throughout the year
Do you offer site visits?
Yes all over the UK. These are becoming more important especially as we are seeing many clients with smaller gardens.
It also gives customers a chance to meet the people in the business and chat with an expert about all the options and issues, such as size, position and planning
How long do Henley buildings take to build on site, and how many people are typically on site to build them?
Most projects are completed in a day even if we have to walk through the house to get to the garden. Generally, we operate in teams of 2-3 installers, who arrive in an easy to park long wheelbase van
Do you project manage the whole job, are there any aspects like the foundations or the electrical connection that the customer has to do?
Yes, we have a dedicated operations manager and customers choose from a menu of options. The most popular is our fully managed package that takes care of everything from planning permission, tree surgery and outbuilding disposal through to a groundwork’s, Henley install, electrics and broadband connection
How much maintenance do Henley buildings require, and what is their life expectancy?
Our offices and rooms have a design life of 20 years and we use a range of components and cladding that are virtually non-maintenance. We also use an Eco-friendly coloured marine ply that is very hard wearing and only needs attention about every 5 years.
Do you offer ongoing aftercare?
We do indeed with many customers asking us to check their groundwork’s and Henley on a regular basis … and maybe taking advantage of the opportunity to refresh the room and change the colour of their Henley
If you could give a buyer one piece of advice what would it be?
Organize a professional site survey and maybe visit and speak to some existing Henley owners, so you can check the quality of the components and see how the garden room has aged over the years
To learn more about the Henley Offices range take a look at their website or give them a call on 0870 240 7490.