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A Garden Office With Toilet? How To Do It Legally

One of the first things to do when buying or building a garden office/room is to ascertain if you can add a toilet to it legally.

This is very important before you go too far with the building or buying process as you may be made to take down an unauthorized building. So, we know one of your concerns may be: how can I build a garden office with a toilet legally?

You can add a toilet to your garden office legally. However, this depends on its size, how far it is from the main house, the intended use of the garden office/room, construction specifications of the building, and whether or not it will be used as a residential building. 

A lot of people often ask this question and there is no straightforward answer to it. The short answer is you have to check with your Council regulations to be sure you are on track. This is why we have provided this step by step guide. Let’s dive in.

Do I Need Planning Permission For A Garden Office With A Toilet?

Not all garden offices/rooms require Planning Permission to be built or bought. It depends on a lot of factors, including the location where the garden office is, the intended use of the garden office/room, construction specifications of the building, and whether or not it will be used as a residential building. 

There are also several other things to consider to determine whether or not your garden office with a toilet would require Planning Permission.

Firstly, you have to consider the size of the garden office.

For a garden office/room to fall under the category of an ‘outbuilding’, it must comply with some developmental rules. The building must be a story building with a max eaves height of 2.7 yards and a max height of 4.37 yards, with the roof included. Additionally, there cannot be a balcony or veranda or even a living area separate from your house.

Another point to consider is the intended use for the garden room/office.

This is important because some regulations affect this. If you intend on using the garden room as an actual office/workspace, then Planning Permission is not often required but there are still some rules to keep in mind.

However, if you intend on creating a space where people can live or reside, then you will need to get Planning Permission. Sleeping accommodations are not under permitted development of a garden room and will be treated as separate property, subject to taxes and other regulations. 

Keep in mind that most garden rooms/offices do not require Planning Permission.

However, if you suspect that your garden room or office may require Planning Permission, obtaining one isn’t so difficult. Applying for Planning Permission is quite straightforward and easy to handle on your own. The application process can take about 2 months depending on where you reside.

Another route you can take is to talk to your neighbors.

It is good practice to ask for the opinion of your neighbors about the building. If your neighbors are aware of what you are building, how it will affect their view and environment, how long it will take to build, and what you plan to use it for, you can avoid any problems that may occur during the application process.

Since your garden office would have a toilet, be sure to think carefully about the effects when it comes to building regulations and the connection of the toilet to the existing main water supply and sewerage system.

How To Build A Garden Office With A Toilet Legally? – Step By Step Guide

We have put together 4 steps you need to construct a toilet in your garden office legally. They include:

1. Ventilation

If you are serious about installing a toilet in your garden office, it is important to think about ventilation.

There needs to be at least an opening window to allow whatever fumes or smells in there to dissipate out of your garden office. It will also prevent molds from growing inside. You can also install an extractor fan with a run-on timer which is very effective in case the wind isn’t on your side. Make sure to place them in the most ideal location possible for them to have the best effect.

2. Get building regulation approval and Planning Permission if needed

Most garden offices don’t require Building Regulation approval. However, if you want to install a toilet in your garden building, you should be aware of it and start preparing the paper works for it. 

It takes time to process so factor that in. Building Regulation is quite different from Planning Permission. Building Regulations help to ensure that your buildings meet up to the health and safety standards made by the authorities while the Planning Permission is concerned with how your building can affect the neighboring land/properties.

You should also get opinions from your Council in case you need Planning Permission because rules differ in each jurisdiction. Instead of seeing all this as a barrier to prevent you from adding a toilet, rather see it as a way of making certain you have the best construction possible for your garden office.

3. Provision of water supply

You should also run pipes for water to get into your garden office for flushing. The water pipes need to be insulated and buried below the frost line to prevent them from getting damaged during winter. You should run it a minimum distance from electrical wires.

4. Laying of pipes for waste 

For the waste, you can consider the three options listed below. However, you should note that they all vary in cost depending on where your garden office is located.

  1. Connecting your existing sewer system to your garden

This will probably be the most tasking option to consider. You will need to make sure the sewer system isn’t running uphill, if it is, you will need a pumping station (containing a tank and water pump with a macerator) to pump the waste against gravity. 

Another advantage of using the pump is that small bore pipes are needed instead of using large bore drainage pipes.  Factor in the electrical installation in case you need the pumping system. You also have to be sure whether the trench you want to dig won’t destroy your flower beds. You will most likely need Building Regulation approval for this step.

  •  Septic tank

If the sewer system is too far, you can install a septic tank near your garden office. Make sure you have enough space for it.

  •  Eco-toilets

You might need to create a soakaway for this type. The Eco-toilet will get rid of the waste in the soakaway and the other waste will be collected in the toilet. A type of Eco-toilet can have a heating system that gets rid of most of the waste allowing you to use the rest as compost. 

The other type will pack your waste in a canister as compost for you to use in your garden. It is a good choice if you don’t want to think about the hassle involved with connecting it to the mains. It also has a screen system that prevents you from seeing the waste below. It also doesn’t smell. You just need to press a button when you are done using it almost like most toilets. This is the most cost-effective method.

You can also consider other water alternatives like rainwater. Just make sure you consider all these steps and options well to know which option fits you, the materials you need, and the money it will cost you.

Reasons to add a toilet to your garden office

There are a lot of reasons to install a toilet in your garden apart from the relief you get from using them. The major ones include:

  • Adding it will increase the value of your property so you should try to see it as an investment.
  • It will add to your solitude needs by reducing distractions encountered when you enter your house making it easier to concentrate for longer periods.
  • It will help you save a lot of time that would have been used for the commute back to the main house to use the toilet.
  • You can get free compost for you to use in your garden or farm If you plan on using the Eco-toilet.