Garden Rooms and Building Regulations
Whilst Planning Permission will be at the forefront of your mind; you also need to consider whether your garden room needs to comply with Building Regulations.
Building Regulations ensure that a building is built to the highest standards, is safe for occupation, and is energy efficient.
The Planning Portal tells us when Building Regulations are required for a garden room
The Planning Portal says:
If you want to put up small detached buildings such as a garden shed or summerhouse in your garden, building regulations will not normally apply if the floor area of the building is less than 15 square metres and contains NO sleeping accommodation.
If the floor area of the building is between 15 square metres and 30 square metres, you will not normally be required to apply for building regulations approval providing that the building contains NO sleeping accommodation and is either at least one metre from any boundary or it is constructed substantially of non-combustible materials.
Sleeping in a garden room
In many cases, a garden room can be built without the need to apply for Building Regulations, but if you plan to sleep in it – even only occasionally - you will need to choose a garden room design that complies with Building Regulations.
Not many garden room ranges comply with the Building Regulation rules for sleeping accommodation as standard. If you are planning to use your garden room as an extra bedroom you will either want to look at the work of garden living annexe specialists or work with a bespoke garden room designer who will tailor the specification to your requirements.
Building a garden room within 1m of the boundaries
To maximise space, many buyers want their garden room to be positioned as close to the boundaries of their garden as possible. The regulations on the Planning Portal tell us that garden rooms more than 15sqm in size and positioned within 1 meter of any boundary must be constructed substantially from non-combustible materials.
Not many garden room ranges meet Building Regulation as standards, as standard. Many companies, particularly those who specialise in bespoke design, will tailor the specification so that it does comply.
These specification tweaks involve swapping timber claddings for cement board claddings and incorporating specialist fire retardant membranes and plasterboard.
You will be able to discuss your options and the changes needed to the specification during a site visit.
Plumbing and electrics in a garden room must comply with building regulations
With elaborate garden room designs, which include a kitchen or a shower room, it’s important that these elements are installed to Building Regulation standards. An experienced garden room designer will be up to date with the current rules and work with the Building Control Officer to design and build a garden room that complies with the rules.
The one element of Building Regulations that every garden room needs to comply with is the electrics – a certified electrician must install these, test the circuit and issue a certificate. You will want to keep this certificate in a safe place for when you come to sell your house.
Your garden room company will guide you
As we have indicated, Building Regulation compliant garden rooms are not standard within the industry, so you will need to work with a specialist company to build one. That might be a bespoke garden room company or a firm specialising in garden annexe specifications.
These specialist firms will guide you through the process and organise the work to be signed off by Building Control as part of the service they offer you.
There are fees involved in complying with Building Regulations. It’s difficult to predict them for you because they are based on the size of the building and its value, but you can expect them to be in the hundreds of pounds.