28th July 2021
You’ve found the garden room you want, worked out where to put it and are already looking forward to spending time in it. But before you buy, it’s vital to check whether you need to get planning permission.
The size of your room, where you plan to put it, for what you plan to use it, and where you live all impact whether or not you will need planning permission.
Some firms will apply for planning permission for you, if needed. This is more likely if you’re buying a substantial structure and the company will be installing it in your garden too.
Most garden rooms don't require planning permission. They are classed as outbuildings, so you're allowed to build one as long as you comply with certain rules.
That’s as long as you have permitted development rights at your home or the area you live in.
You might not have permitted development rights if:
Check with your local planning office if you’re not sure. Flats and maisonettes don’t have permitted development rights.
The rules are the same whether you live in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.
If you want to construct your garden room under permitted development, you’ll need to make sure it meets the following rules, wherever you live in the UK:
If you live in a National Park, the Broads, a World Heritage Site or an AONB, the maximum area of outbuildings that are more than 20 metres from your house is 10sq m.
In National Parks, the Broads, World Heritage Sites, AONBs and conservation areas you’ll need to get planning permission if any part of your garden room would sit between the side of your house and the boundary of your property.
If you live in a listed building, you’ll need to get planning permission for any outbuilding.
Permitted development rules cover outbuildings, including garden rooms, which are ‘incidental’ to the main dwelling. Essentially this means that their use is a minor accompaniment to the main house.
Working on your own on your computer in your garden office is more likely to be an ‘incidental’ use than using it as a base for clients to come for meetings or appointments on a regular basis. This would have an effect on the neighbourhood.
In the latter case, your council could ask you to apply for planning permission retrospectively. If it isn’t granted, you’ll have to take down the building.
Check with your local planning office if you’re not sure whether how you plan to use your garden office is ‘incidental’.
Building Regulations are about how a structure is designed, built and insulated. Having the right certificates is important, as they’ll be needed if you sell your house.
However Building Regulations don’t usually apply to outbuildings, as long as:
If the floor area is between 15sq m and 30sq m, you still don’t usually have to apply for Building Regulations approval, as long as there's no sleeping accommodation and it’s more than 1 metre from your boundary and is made of non-combustible materials.
It will need to comply with Building Regulations if you ever plan to sleep in it or use it as a guest bedroom.
Electrics in your garden room will need to comply with part P of the Building Regulations. For example, if you have a separate consumer unit in your garden room you’ll need to get a qualified electrician to connect it to your mains supply. They will test that the system is safe and issue a certificate showing that it meets the relevant Building Regulations.
You may need planning permission for your proposed garden room if you intend to use it for activities that you would usually do in your main home, such as showering or cooking.
For fresh water will need a connection to your mains water in your house. Your waste water pipe may be able to connect to an existing drain. If this isn’t possible, you might need a pump to move the waste water to an outside drain.
If you’re hoping to have hot water, small hot-water heaters are an option. They can be installed under a sink and provide about 7-10 litres of hot water.
Fitting a toilet will probably require a macerator to reduce waste to a pulp. It will also need to be connected it to a soil pipe to take waste to the main sewer.