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Know The Garden Office Building Regulations (Before You Build)

Know The Garden Office Building Regulations (Before You Build)

As remote working is becoming more and more common among people, the popularity of garden offices is increasing exponentially.

Most people are opting to get garden offices and work from home. As this popularity of garden offices is increasing, the matter of building regulations has come to light. What regulations do you need to meet to own a garden office?

Your garden office should have no accommodation, should be substantially constructed of non-combustible material if it’s within 3.28ft of the boundary, and should be a minimum of 3.28ft away from any boundary if its floor area is over 161.45 square feet and up to 322.90 square feet.

Building regulations can be a complicated affair for most people.

They are defined by the use, size, and location of the building (garden office). So if you are to get a garden office, you have to meet the set criteria for how big the building is, what you’ll use it for, and where you will site it.

We should mention that these regulations may vary from state to state. It is therefore always important to do some research to know the regulations in your local area.

In this article, we are going to have a look at all you need to know concerning the building regulations for garden offices. So sit back, relax, and read on to find out more. This will most certainly be an eye-opening read for you.

Do I Need Building Regulations For A Garden Office?

Are you looking to get a garden office and are unsure whether you need building regulations? Fear not. We have just the right scoop for you.

Before deciding on constructing a garden office, you should always consider any building regulations set by your local authority concerning such buildings.

For most people, this is a tricky subject. This is because building regulations are often confused with planning permission. But the truth of the matter is that these are fundamentally two very different things. How?

Planning permission is concerned with how a building looks, its size, and where it’s sited.

This is what classifies a garden office as permitted development. Building regulations on the other hand deal with how a building is built i.e. they ensure the building is structurally well built and that it meets the current standards for foundations, insulation, plumbing, ventilation, etc.

The answer to the main question isn’t so straightforward. This is because some garden offices are required to meet planning regulations while others are not. Let’s break it down for you, shall we?

For the most part, building regulations are meant to apply to larger and more heavily used buildings (such as houses, hospitals, factories, etc.) than your typical garden office.

So for most small garden offices, you do not need building regulations. On the other hand, if your garden office is a bit larger and heavily used, you may be required to meet building regulations.

  • Later on, in this article, we are going to discuss some of the instances in which you will or will not require to comply with building regulations.

Now you can see why it’s such a confusing topic.

The good news is that most experienced garden office suppliers are well-practiced in dealing with the various local authorities’ building control offices.

They can design and build garden offices for building regulation approval. So if you are still unsure, this is a good option for you.

Check out this list of garden office suppliers.

What Are the Building Regulations For A Garden Office?

As we have earlier discussed, building regulations are quite a confusing topic. You however need not worry as we are going to lay it all bare for you in this section. So if you are considering getting a garden office, pay close attention.

Building regulations have to do with some factors. These are the floor area of the garden office, the easement (or distance from the property boundary, which directly relates to the floor area), the use, and the material used to construct the garden office.

We are going to give you a breakdown of the building regulations for garden offices in relation to these factors.

Floor Area And Easements

If your garden office has a floor area of more than 161.45 square feet up to 322.90 square feet, it should be constructed at least 3.28ft away from the boundary of your property.

On the other hand, if the floor area of your garden office is less than 161.45 square feet, in most cases, you will not be required to meet any building regulations.

Garden Office Use

Obviously, your garden office will be used for work. But we do not mean “use” in the literal sense of the word. What we mean is if you intend to sleep in the garden office.

Whatever the size of your garden office, if you intend to sleep in the garden office it will have to comply with the building regulations.

Several people are choosing to create garden offices that can be used for multiple functions such as a home office and a bedroom.

You must remember that the building will need to comply with building regulations relating to the use of the room for sleeping. These control the quality of the building’s structure and make sure it is safe to sleep in.

The building regulations in this instance cover things like:

  • Foundations and floor construction.
  • Drainage.
  • Insulation.
  • Electricity.

Also, if you plan to have a toilet or shower room in your garden office, then you will also need to add appropriate waste, water, and drainage connections.

Construction Material

If there is any side of the building within 3.28ft of a boundary, building regulations state that your garden office should be substantially constructed using non-combustible material.

Most garden office suppliers and designers suggest using cement-based cladding boards on the walls next to the boundaries coupled with specialist membranes and fire retardant plasterboard. These will give the building a low fire rating and therefore meet building regulations.

We should mention that there will be costs involved in gaining Building Control Certification.

They are dependent on the size of the project and your garden office designer should be able to advise you on them. You will have to keep the certificates issued by the Building Control Department safely since you will need them when you decide to sell your house.

House sales have been known to be delayed due to the lack of these certificates!

How Big Can A Garden Office Be Without Planning Permission?

There are restrictions to the size you can construct your garden office. Different local authorities have different restrictions so it’s always wise to check them out before undertaking to construct your garden office.

There are two factors under how big your garden office is that will affect whether you require planning permission or not. These are the building height and the floor area. So with these in mind, planning permission is not required under the following circumstances:

Building Height

  • If the garden office is a single-story building with a maximum height of 8.25ft, planning permission isn’t required.
  • If the maximum ridge height (overall height of your building) is 13.1ft with a dual pitched roof, planning permission isn’t required.
  • If the maximum ridge height is 9.8ft with a flat roof, planning permission isn’t needed.

Floor Area

  • If the internal area of your garden office is less than 161.45 square feet, you do not need planning permission.
  • If the internal area is less than 322.90 square feet and your garden office isn’t within 1m of your property boundary, then you don’t need planning permission.

We should mention that even if your garden office meets the above specifications if you run a business from it or live/sleep in it, you still will have to get planning permission from your local authority. However, if you only use the building once in a while to work, then you may not need planning permission.

Do You Need Planning Permission For A Toilet In A Garden Office?

If you are thinking of getting a garden office, it’s only natural for you to wonder whether you will require planning permission to install a toilet in it.

This is not surprising since you will spend most of your time in the garden office. So if you will spend so much time in there, it only makes sense that you should have a toilet in there, right?

The question of whether planning permission is required for this is quite common.

The answer is not necessarily. As we have mentioned earlier in this article, planning permission is all about how a building looks, its size, and where it is sited. Installing a toilet in your garden office does not fall under these categories. But it does fall under building regulations!

So, you do not need planning permission for a toilet in a garden office. What you do need is to adhere to the building regulations pertaining to having a toilet in the garden office.

Check out our article on installing a garden office toilet here

These regulations usually vary from one state to the other. However, they generally require that if you want to install a toilet in your garden office, it should have a proper connection to the water and sewerage systems of the main house.

These facilities are essential if your local authority is to allow you to go ahead with the construction work. You may be advised to employ the services of a professional in this sector so you get everything right.

 To sum up, if the plans for your garden office do not meet all the criteria we have discussed in this article, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to build.

If your plans do not fulfill the criteria, you may have to contact your local authority and be advised on how to move forward.