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How To Choose Between A Garden Office Or Loft Conversion

Having to choose between a garden office or loft conversion can throw you into confusion.

The two options have their unique benefits, which is why house owners take a lot of time to think about the benefits they should go for. We’ve decided to help house owners know the important factors they need to consider when choosing between a garden office and a loft conversion.

Garden Office

Garden office refers to an area, separate from the house, used as office space by homeworkers.

Usually, it is sited in the back garden. Those who use the office garden are the people who work on a full or part-time basis from home. It helps to keep home-life and work separately for professional home workers or home-based businesses. It brings into existence comfort, security, and serenity, providing a professional work area. 

A garden office is not limited to desk-bound jobs. It can also be used as clinics, for dentists, opticians, therapists, and other professional clinical uses. Some even have self-contained units like a kitchen, a waiting room, a toilet, a washroom, and other household facilities, according to the building’s use.

Loft Conversion

Loft conversion refers to the process of changing or transforming the loft or attic of a house. The purpose of this conversion is to extend the house to gain more space. It considerably adds to a home’s value, as roof space is transformed into extra room or space without moving or rebuilding the house. 

Loft conversions become necessary when a family grows, and the available space of the building becomes uncomfortable or too small for the members to live in, especially if they do not want to relocate or sell the house. Due to its numerous benefits, it became a popular form of home improvement. 

Since it is a complicated process and it involves a large amount of work, it is necessary to contract a specialist loft conversion company for proper installation. It is done based on factors like roof structure and height, which affect the building’s extension.

How To Choose Between A Garden Office And Loft Conversion

You need to consider a lot of factors before you finally decide to go for either a garden office or loft conversion. Below, you will find all the important factors that you need to consider when choosing between a garden office and loft conversion. By the time you consider all these factors, the confusion in your mind will clear, and you’ll see the option that suits you best. 

Where to extend

To gain more space in your home, you need to identify the most suitable form of expansion.

Is it in height or size? Do you need additional rooms or just a build-up? The place to extend is an essential factor to consider when choosing forms of home improvement. So, if you haven’t thought about the possible place you can extend to, you should do so right away.

In the process of thinking, you can discover that you have only the option of garden office or loft conversion, and not the two together.

Cost

The cost of build-ups, that is, loft conversion, involves a complicated process, which is why it is more expensive than the construction of garden offices or rooms. Sometimes, planning permission won’t be required for the latter, so the cost can drop even further. Moreover,  the house does not bear an added structure when you build a garden office. 

A carefully planned and designed garden room tends to a lower cost than an attic conversion, which involves using specific or matching building materials with the building and other exorbitant expenses. So, if you can’t afford to spend much money, a garden office might be the best option for you.

Use of the space 

Think of using the extension space as an office or a playroom or bedroom? This consideration is very important, as sometimes, the original use or purpose of improvement is neglected after some years.

Home’s age

The age of the house to be improved should be considered. Older homes need supporting structures and reinforcements, which can be expensive. 

Disruption

Loft conversions tend to come along with some disruptions of everyday life and schedule while the conversion is ongoing. You should consider the disruption, especially if you can’t afford to sacrifice some time. Garden offices built outside the home also cause disruption to some extent, but it is minimal.

Roof height and space

A loft conversion may not be possible in a house whose height is not high enough. The achievement of the correct roof height may also be too expensive. The roof, which can either be lowered or raised, will require planning permissions. In contrast, garden offices are designed without constriction to a particular layout. The angle and positions of windows can be anywhere.

Location

In some areas, loft conversion has a lower cost than garden offices. So, you should consider the cost in your location and the materials that you can easily get around you.

Planning permission

The addition of a garden office to a 2.5m tall home does not require planning permissions, as it meets the requirements. Also, the construction of a garden office doesn’t involve too many legal processes, making it preferable over loft conversion.

Sale 

Loft conversion makes a home more valuable to buyers. Garden offices also increase the value of a home, but the value they add is usually lower than the one that loft conversions add to a home. So, if you care about your home’s value, a loft conversion might be the best option for you.

Flexibility

Garden offices have the advantage of being built in different forms, with suitable designs and models. The provided workspace can then be used for different purposes as needed, wanted, or preferred. In contrast, the loft conversion designs can be limited by the existing structure of the house you intend to reconstruct.

What Permission Do You Need For A Garden Office?

In some cases, you need to get planning permission to build a garden office. Let’s explain the instances where planning permission is necessary.

Height

A building with a height of 2.5m or less does not need planning permission, as far as it doesn’t disturb the nearby buildings in any way, e.g., shading, loss of light, etc. 

Usage

A garden office can be used for different purposes, either personal or professional purposes, e.g., as a shed, office, studio, etc.

Planning permission is required for a garden office that you intend to use for business purposes, as it may cause some issues for neighbors. A garden office that is not frequently used may not require planning permission, but a permitted development is required.

Once you know the purpose of the garden office before erecting it becomes easy for you to avoid troubles that may arise after erecting the building.

You can build an office garden without planning permission if all of these conditions are met: 

  • A well-designed building, appropriate to the environment, with quality materials, should be established.
  • The garden office should not be too large for the garden; an area should be left before and behind the building.
  • The building should be at most two meters tall.
  • You can make your garden office a movable structure to ensure longevity.

What Permission Do You Need For A Loft Conversion?

Whether or not loft conversions need planning permission is dependent on the work going on and its extent.

The type of loft conversion, the size, the type of house lived in, and its location determines whether planning permissions are needed for a loft conversion or not. Architects or builders are also required to confirm the need for planning permissions.

Even when planning permissions are not mandatory, building regulations are mandatory for attic or loft conversions. Some of these building regulations are for the following:

Conversion Of Loft To Storage Space

Building regulation is needed to transform an attic into a storage area. These regulations prevent excess loading of joists on the design capacity.

Conversion of loft to a part of the home

To convert a loft into an inhabitable space, you need to receive the building regulation approval. This prevents the building from being put at risk.

Some of the building regulations are:

  • Fire-resistant doors and fire alarms should be used for the new room to ensure fire safety.
  • Staircases, not loft ladders, should be put in the house to escape fire accidents.
  • If necessary, sound insulation should be installed between rooms and houses, between loft and neighbors’ lofts.
  • A house structure may not be able to support the new loft conversion reinforcements; beams and joists should be installed in order to support the new building. 
  • A new wall should also be built to support the new floor joists and bear the load.