Setting a budget for a garden room
It’s important to set a budget for your garden room project early on. This will help you decide on the combination of space and design features that work best for you.
It’s actually really useful for a garden room supplier if the client has a clear budget in mind, as it allows them to focus on the best ways to achieve the customer’s wish list.
Some buyers tell us that they are fearful of telling a supplier their budget as they will try and make them increase it. No reputable supplier is going to do this. They may highlight that an extra ‘x’ pounds would buy you ‘x’ feature on your wishlist, but this is more from the point of view of allowing you to make an informed choice rather than them gaining a bigger sale.
Suppliers are very good at quoting prices for different size garden rooms, so you will quickly realise that an ‘x’ metre by ‘x’ metre garden room will cost ‘x’ thousand. It is wise to remember that these prices often aren’t the total project cost; they are the base cost.
Once you start picking options to personalise your design, the price will invariably go up.
Aside from the choices you make to personalise your room, there are other extras you will need to leave space in your budget for. We have put together a list of the common additional costs you might encounter. We have ordered them by those that you are most likely to find:
Garden room companies tend to offer their buildings to large areas of the UK, if not the whole of the country. It is wise to check your chosen company's position on delivery charges. Some companies will absorb the material transportation costs and team accommodation into the overall price they quote you.
More often, you will find that the first 100 miles from the company's workshops are included in the building price. With distances over 100 miles being charged by the mile. We are currently hearing of quoted prices of around £6 per mile, so this could soon add up.
On projects where the team need to stay overnight, some companies will make an additional charge to cover these costs. Some companies have a nightly rate to cover the installation team staying in a Travelodge or the like; others charge a percentage of the total project cost.
Final Electrical Connection
The majority of garden rooms come pre-wired with lighting and power sockets (see item below), but in many cases, the cost of connecting the electrics to the mains supply in your house is down to you to organise and pay for. This is because garden room suppliers only sometimes send a qualified electrician to the site. A qualified electrician must connect and test the electrics to comply with Part P of the Building Regulations.
There is a fair amount of work involved in this job. An armoured cable needs to be buried in a trench from the garden room to the house. Some suppliers attach the armoured cable to a fence or wall, which would reduce the cost a bit. The further the garden room is from the house, the more expensive it will be.
The electrician will connect this cable to your main fuse board and may have to do work on the system to accommodate the new circuit. They will also thoroughly test the system and earth the garden room. Completing the visit by issuing a certificate confirming the system complies with Part P.
If they offer the final electrical hook-up as an add-on service, your garden room supplier will be able to give you a rough idea of the cost of this work during initial emails. They would give you a more accurate price after conducting a site survey and taking measurements.
We have been researching the costs of connecting a garden room's electrics to the main house and found prices of between £1,400 and £2,500 quoted by the different companies. This is based on a 25m distance between the house and the garden room - the further the distance, the greater the cost.
Companies that offer a turnkey service will include this cost in the overall project price they quote you. Be aware of that when comparing a firm that provides their buildings on a turnkey basis with a firm that just installs the building, leaving you to organise the final connections with a local electrician. As at first glance, the turnkey company can seem more expensive than the others.
Thanks to the adoption of ground screws and plinth foundations that can be installed and levelled quickly, allowing work of the main structure to start straight after, many garden room ranges come complete with the foundation system.
When researching the market, you will soon find that a lot of companies don't include the foundation in the price they quote. They either offer the foundation installation as an optional extra or ask you to have it installed to their specification by another company.
How much you should budget for this will depend on the size and shape of the foundation and how level the site is.
The type of foundation that is recommended will have an effect on the price. Our research found that a base for a 2.5m x 2.5m garden room cost around £800 when groundscrews were offered, and when the company preferred a concrete base found prices of £1,500 to £2,000 quoted.
For a 5m x 3m garden room, we were quoted around £2,000 when groundscrews were specified and between £2,200 and £4,200 when a concrete base was preferred.
Planning Permission Fees
In many cases, a garden room can be built without the need for full Planning Permission. Although garden room companies can advise you, it is important that you check your individual situation, as ultimatly it is your responsibility to do so.
If you do need to apply for Planning Permission for your garden room, you can either handle this yourself or ask your supplier to do so on your behalf. There are also planning specialists who specialise in garden room or annexe applications.
Bespoke garden room companies often manage the planning application process as part of the price they quote for the project.
You would expect the garden room company you choose to work with to supply you with dimensioned plans you will need for your planning application. This is usually a complimentary service, although we have heard that some suppliers ask for payment to generate the plans and drawings needed.
Even if your chosen garden room company handles the application processes as part of its overall service, you will be expected to pay the planning application fee. For the current rate, use this fee calculator on the Planning Portal.
Lawful Development Certificate
If you can build your garden room under the Permitted Development rules and, therefore, not require a planning application, you would still be wise to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate. Obtained from your local planning authority, the certificate confirms that your project complies with the current Permitted Development rules.
Having this certificate can be handy when you come to sell your house, proving as part of the conveyancing process that the garden room was built legally.
Using the Planning Portal's fee calculator, you can check the current fee for a Lawful Development Certificate.
Electrics & Interior Finishes
We are seeing a growing trend for manufacturers to price their garden rooms without an electrical system and internal finishes, offering them as optional extras. There are two reasons for this approach.
By removing the electrics and the interior finishes from the equation, the base price of their garden rooms can seem cheaper than their competitors.
The second reason is that some buyers want to make their own mark on the interior finishes or have the electrical specification tailored around their intended use. In these cases, buying an insulated shell that you can finish yourself can be appealing.
Skips & Portaloos
On more complex projects that will be completed over a couple of weeks, your garden room company may ask for a skip for site waste to be available and a portaloo for the installation team to use rather than coming into your house to use your facilities.
The majority of companies ask for the site to be cleared of obstacles and overhanging vegetation before they arrive on-site to start work on the installation of your garden room.
There are, however, firms that will handle the site clearance as part of the overall project they quote you. This will generally be companies that describe themselves as offering a turnkey service.
If you are preparing the site yourself, you may need to budget for hiring tools or a skip for the waste.
Building Regulation Fees
If you are building a large garden room or a room that you plan to sleep in, then you will need to consider Building Regulation fees when budgeting.
It isn’t easy to estimate these as they depend on the cost of the project and the work being undertaken. This is certainly something you should talk over with your supplier - they may incorporate these costs into their quote or ask you to pay for them separately.
Insurance Backed Warranty
Hopefully, you will have long and trouble-free service from your garden room, but it’s always good to have a backup plan.
Many suppliers offer warranties on their buildings for 5 or 10 years. Some suppliers go one step further and offer insurance-backed warranties.
These offer additional peace of mind in the event of a problem, as any problems will be sorted out even if the supplier is no longer trading. Some suppliers offer this policy as part of the overall project cost. Others ask you to pay the premium for the policy which will be relative to the cost and specification of the building.