A garden room can make a contemporary extra bedroom at a property. Be sure to understand the building requirements when it comes to the use and location of the garden room.
Enough space inside a house can be a challenge in the UK. Families can quickly outgrow their current property and sharing bedrooms is often not an option. If you don’t want to move home, it’s time to consider what can be done to the existing property to create an additional bedroom.
Many homeowners first thoughts turn to an extension. However, extensions can cost tens of thousands of pounds and cause significant disruption during the building process. The application process can also take a long time, as a back and forth process with the Local Planning Authority begins.
One alternative option is to use a garden room as a bedroom. The popularity of garden rooms has exploded in recent years and they are now more popular than ever. Typical uses for a garden room include an office in the garden or a home gym.
The building standard of garden rooms is high and many have features that you will find in a house. A high-quality garden room will use house uPVC windows and doors. Electricity can also be supplied directly from the house to power appliances.
The space inside a garden room can provide privacy to concentrate on work or relax in peace. Converting a garden room into a bedroom does require some additional steps if someone will be sleeping inside. Let’s take a look at using a garden room as a bedroom.
Can you use a garden room as a bedroom?
In short, a garden room can be used as a bedroom, as long as it meets building regulations and planning permission requirements.
As a bedroom would be classified as self-contained living accommodation, it must be compliant with building regulations. The challenge is that garden buildings do not usually need to meet building regulations and therefore most garden rooms will not be compliant.
To use a garden room as a bedroom, a bespoke design may be required. Working with a garden building manufacturer, they will have the experience and be able to provide you with all of the relevant information. Meeting the regulations may require modifications and you should expect to pay an increased price over a standard garden room that’s just used during the day.
Garden buildings typically fall under Permitted Development rights, meaning they do not require planning permission. However, self-contained accommodation is not included in this exemption and a garden room bedroom will need planning permission. The application can often be simple and should be completed before construction begins.
Guide: Does a garden room add value to a property?
How do I meet building regulations?
The aim of building regulations is to ensure a construction is safe and up to a high standard for those dwelling inside of it. There is a range of different requirements, relating to aspects such as fire safety, waterproofing and access to the building.
For living accommodation, compliance with building regulations is usually always required. Garden rooms are usually exempt as they are classified as outbuildings and are only used during the day. For use as a garden office, for example, the garden room is used for the incidental enjoyment and benefit of those living in the main property.
The building regulations are updated periodically, with the last major update forming the Building Regulations 2010. Detailed specifications can be found online that separates all of the individual requirements.
We recommend speaking to a garden building manufacture to get specific details on how the building regulations are applied to garden rooms. Some of the requirements can be complex, especially for those not familiar with working on residential properties. The Gov website provides further details. A building control body is able to provide the approval required.
How does planning permission apply?
Planning permission is concerned with the location and scope of the building. Most of the time, planning permission is not required for a garden room. This is due to ‘Permitted Development’ rights and a garden room being classified as an outbuilding.
An outbuilding includes most detached garden buildings including summerhouses, log cabins and sheds. Permitted development allows work to be completed on a property without a lengthy planning application being needed.
To fall within Permitted Development, the use of the outbuilding must fall within the scope and avoid certain locations. Permitted Development does not apply at all to listing buildings and special property types have additional regulations. The Local Planning Authority should be contacted to get all of the details for your specific property and area.
As a garden room bedroom would be classified as self-contained living accommodation, planning permission is required before work can commence. The application should be completed before purchasing a garden room to make sure any conditions can be met once it has been approved.
To start a planning application, contact the Local Planning Authority. The application can be submitted online. Once the appropriate supporting documents have been submitted, the application will be consulted on by a planning officer. Once approved, work can begin to install the garden room bedroom.
A garden room bedroom could solve challenges around space inside a house, whilst reducing the cost compared with an extension. Any garden room is a big decision and all options should be considered before going ahead.
Start with the base
All garden rooms require a high-quality base that is going to last. The base acts as the foundation of the structure and any work completed after will be reliant on the base to support. The base should be both solid and level to ensure perfect results when the building is installed.
We always recommend using a concrete slab base with a garden room. For large garden buildings, a professional can pour the concrete to create the foundation. As the concrete takes time to dry, it should be installed several weeks before the garden room is constructed to ensure there’s no moisture trapped inside.
If the garden room is going to be built on an uneven area such as a hill, the manufacture may recommend using ground screws. A ground screw system can be installed on the same day, just before the garden room.
Plan for electricity
It’s increasingly common for garden buildings to feature electrical outlets, and any electrical work should be carried out by a qualified electrician. For a bedroom, plenty of power is going to be required for heating, lighting and gadgets.
The electrical supply will be connected to a new circuit from the main fuse board inside of the house. A trench is dug in the garden and an armoured cable is buried underground. The armoured cable protects against insect attack or accidental damage from garden equipment. As the cable can be expensive, garden rooms further away can result in significantly more costs.
Get a reliable internet connection
One of the most frustrating challenges when working from a garden room is an unreliable internet connection. Slow speeds and frequent signal drop out can make it difficult to browse the internet or watch a movie. There are plenty of options to get internet inside a garden room bedroom that can be just as fast as inside the house.
Our first choice is running an ethernet cable from the router to the garden room. The cable can be buried along with the armoured electrical cable. When the ethernet cable terminates inside the garden room, an Access Point can be used to provide a separate wireless network. If the garden room is close to the house, a Wi-Fi extender may be good enough.
Despite the timber construction, garden rooms can keep lovely and warm during the winter months. Many are extremely efficient and can quickly feel warm inside due to the low roof and double glazed windows & doors. To keep the heat inside, insulation is installed inside the floor, walls and ceiling. Rigid foam insulation boards are most commonly used due to providing high thermal values and slotting in between the timber framing.
As the garden room will not be connected to the central heating system, an electrical heater is the best option. Plenty of choices are available including convector and fan heaters. Our favourites are oil-filled radiators that provide near-silent operation and lots of heat output.
Guide: Can a garden room be attached to a house?
If you’ve outgrown the space in your current property, a garden room bedroom may be a great alternative to an extension. The cost of a garden room is lower and the construction process results in less disruption.
The garden room needs to meet both building regulations and planning permission requirements for use as self-contained accommodation. Once all of the requirements are met, construction can begin and result in a private bedroom, separated from the existing property.
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