Design and Planning Permission advice for all Garden Structures - Granny Annexes + ancillary accommodation buildings a speciality

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Do I need Planning Permission for / to build a Granny Annexe, Garden Studio or Garden Office in my own garden?

 

Garden Studios, Garden Rooms, Workshops, Outdoor Kitchens, are accepted everywhere - The debate about annexes or any kind of self-contained "ancillary accommodation". continues right here. (Including important new news 9/08/2018)

 

Will any "formal" planning-permission be required to build my project - and which of the statutory building regulations are applicable?

 
"Welcome" - This is an unusual page - why? - because ALL the available information you are looking for is "right-here" (on this one page). If you need a quick response to any questions on this subject. I can usually reply by email "same day".

Quick Response email

or use the form here - (on-line help form)

This document, is updated regularly (last update - 9/08/2018). I first published this page 8 years ago and it has had a "LOT" of updates It is "mega popular" - Why?

1. Because it is addressing all the questions for which you need the answers.

2. I have the knowledge having worked all over the UK on Granny Annexes and Garden Structures for 15 years.

3. Each time I come across a new situation I update this page to suit (takes me 1-2 minutes only).

Times have changed and now more people need to expand without moving house. Building extra living space in the garden is "potential solution". All your answers you relating to this subject are right here on this one page. The average time spent reading this is more than 6 minutes per visit. Let me know if you have any suggestions for improvement. Your answers are here! We now have Project Management resident in South London.

9/08/2018 NEW NEWS - I am advising a client in Hillingdon London. The Local head of planning has (via his administrator) REFUSED to speak with me regarding an enforcement notice issued. This concerns a difficult garden building planning issue. "Watch this space". I didn't spend 10+ years studying this subject to be treated in this way!


Note: I can recommend one other internet site dealing with this question. It is - extensionbuild.co.uk (a link to their site is in the sidebar on large screen and in the links that "shuffle" below on mobile view).  I am a specialist in this subject with 15 years experience and NO failures related in any way to "planning permission / building regulation" questions. easy and offers a more detailed 2nd form if / when you are ready.
 

Here is ALL your information (this is a complex subject there is a lot! you need 5+ minutes) - all comments are welcome - email is best.


Garden Studios and Garden Offices are accepted everywhere in the UK and mostly can be installed under existing Permitted Development rules. Accommodation buildings in particular annexes in gardens are in big demand now for quite a few reasons (which are ALL addressed here).

Granny Annexe and Garden Accommodation planning permission advice is our speciality ...

Buildings at home "Garden Offices / Studios" for business purposes are common but sometimes need "careful" consideration. The PD legislation remains subject to "some" local interpretation by your local planning department. We advise / consult on both "Planning Permission" and "Building Regulation Compliance" should either or both be required.

IMPORTANT:

Answers to the both domestic "planning permission" and "building regulations" questions regarding garden structures are addressed in both (overview and detail). These ARE two totally separate subjects controlled by different departments of your local authority. A certain amount of flexibility in their decision making regarding planning is allowed by central government. Building Regulations are ALWAYS the same "fixed by law" throughout the UK.

To create "comfortable" extra living space, complete project costs are typically £1200 - £1800+ per sq metre. Garden buildings for other purposes can cost much less. i.e. Sheds for self assembly can cost as little as £200 per sq metre and comfortable all year round offices without plumbing from £1000 per sq m.

Note about plumbing:

Without plumbing the costs are always less - a typical plumbing installation with a shower, WC and kitchenette needs water on tap and hygenic waste disposal. (cost is typically £2-4K depending on spec and connection) We have "developed our own "tried and tested" low cost pumping solutions, for all sites, even including those "below" existing waste exit level.


The photo here leads to a case study of an accommodation building that meets ALL "Permitted Development rules" and provides comfortable / attractive living space of 30 sqm. Here you can see what can be achieved without the additional costs involved in Building Regulation documentation + formal site-visits. (Note: a qualified electrician is ALWAYS required to sign off)

Many p
hotos on this site click through to real case studies "snapshots":

Granny Annexe in garden

Here are direct answers to the most often asked questions.


"Do I need planning permission for a granny annexe or other garden building project e.g. garden office and what do I need to know about Building Regulations" ?

The Quick Answers

Most UK households have "Permitted Development" rights. Outside these rules planning permission must be obtained. Permitted Development rights are not available in certain "designated" areas.

IMPORTANT -
I am repeating myself here.

"It is VITAL to understand that Building Regulations and Planning Permission are two completely separate subjects". I cannot emphasise this enough so here it is again - Don't confuse planning permission with building regulations.

If you build a garden structure with a footprint of 30 square metres or less, the only mandatory building regulation that applies is electrical safety "Part P of the building regulations". This applies to ALL electrical services in your home and your garden and is in everones interest.

A qualified electrician MUST sign off for electrical safety (that's all). I hold myself the required qualification and often do this sign off. If all is installed correctly, test and verification is quick and easy. You get a certificate which is sometimes necessary for insurance purposes + "peace of mind" of course.

Usually the main electrical connection to a garden building is provided via SWA (steel wired armoured cable) which is totally safe on surface, underground or cleated to a fence. (see my electrical safety blog post). In some cases to bury or cleat is sensible - that is your own choice + we recommend best route on all installations.

Size makes a difference to building regulation requirements. Any garden structure over 30 sq metres (footprint) requires FULL compliance with ALL applicable building regulations. This adds to the cost per sq metre because detailed structural calculations, form submissions and site visits by building control before and during construction are required by law.

Step 2 the quick but essential detail - Both Planning Permission and Building Regs


For the "Do I Need Planning Permission?" question you will need to understand the restrictions associated with "Permitted Development" (height, positioning and proximity to your boundary) ALL the detail you need is here.

ADVICE:

My standard advice is "always make sure that your proposed project is neighbour friendly". If it is not you will find the whole process stressful. We have two experienced Project Managers North & South, if you should need a site visit for advice.

Annexe 1 Garden Studio Flat Roof Bespoke Office Worcester Park South West London

Above - three buildings which all meet PD planning rules - a low pitch roof full living annexe, a garden studio/office with curved roof & a flat roof office. All the are high spec... - all meet PD rules and none required formal Building Regulation OR planning applications. Over 30 sq m is no problem, excepting the additional costs associated with mandatory compliance documentation and visits by inspectors. We have installed many Granny Annexes of 30 sq. metres within PD rules. All of the information is below (there is a lot more of it).

A few more notes - then - ALL of the current formal rules covering both planning permission and building regulations specifically for garden buildings: (maybe 8 minutes read or more)


This document, applies to detached garden structures and outbuildings including sheds, studios, offices, gymnasiums, annexes, "ancillary" accommodation buildings, outdoor kitchens and leisure buildings of all types. We have used all construction methods. Note: mobile home legislation is not covered here however, by comparison this is very simple.

Here is the link to the official government document, that applies to the above (this is a 1-2 hour read at least so don't leave this page yet!). (The General Permitted Development Order 2015)
 >
General Permitted Development Order

Definition of an annexe


An annexe is defined in the planning guidance notes as: Accommodation which is "ancillary" to the main residential dwelling and which is used for living / sleeping purposes.

We can provide consultancy and advice during your research and design phase, or full design and or build services inclusive. Our services include any formal document, submissions all plans, drawings, specifications etc. that may be required.

If you are using local builders we can supply detailed design and working documentation with full specifications + material schedules agreed directly with you and your own builder.

Recent news and changes:


From news -  (in the last parliament) there was an attempt by George Osbourne to change the rules relating to garden accommodation buildings and council tax. This was "almost" immediately withdrawn thanks to the Telegraph newspaper and further intervention by Eric Pickles. You can see this Telegraph article of 18/02/17 web address here. (This change was withdrawn almost immidiately) see> Telegraph Post

If you are considering building something a bit more than a shed in your garden you need to understand all this. I have been directly involved in answering most if not all of your questions. These questions come from everywhere in the UK daily. In the last 12 months alone there have been 51,236 visitors to this page spending on average more than 4.2 minutes. You are not alone! March 2018 was another record month!

For sample plans or more information about how to negotiate this minefield "yourself". email me with a brief overview of your proposed project / idea. Or use these on-line forms with pre-listed requirements (the two checklists, designed to help are here>) Your next step is here

Our Planning Application Service


Our formal planning application service (if required) includes - site survey, application management (including full set of drawings and all necessary specifications).

Charges for this planning permission service through to issue of formal permissions are typically £2000.00. If Building Regulation compliance is also required we can manage this process including any constructional specifications, drawings and structural calculations to sign-off and certification - the total cost for this package is typically £3-5K.

Council Tax and Granny annexe Planning (recent history)


Sir Eric Pickles announced (in 2013) help for families wishing to provide "Granny Annexe" accommodation. This help was in the form of re-imbursing councils for loss of council tax on new ancillary dwelling units. This has "somewhat" helped clear up objections councils had for this type of accommodation. You can see the official government announcement (still valid today) the link is here : Statement - Granny annexes 2013

The PD (Permitted Development) newest changes (see below) are governed by law. This information is up to date. For info about house extensions see: "Planning portal latest update - (class E applies) - pdf free download is here :
Updated Technical Guidance The most relevant changes further streamlining the planning process came into force on 25/6/2016.

My comments on these most recent changes:


These changes have reinforced a softening in the approach to allowing accommodation for elderly relatives or teenagers. It does however, make it clear that additional accommodation for RENTAL - "beds in sheds" is NOT included. (the key here is that this type of new development should be "ancillary to the main property") i.e. if your proposal is family related and to provide more living space for family occupation, that is fine - renting for income is still possible however completely different. Your local council has the final decision.

Some councils mainly around London say kitchens and bedrooms are not allowed - this is NOT correct - what they are saying is that they don't allow it.

See the reason here -(this is important if you are unsure - but it comes with a warning "I have been graphic" in my explanation!).

Accommodation Buildings Anomaly


Be careful - "this CAN happen":

On 06/02/2017 an individual who rented an annexe now in his 5th year of occupation contacted me - he recieved a retrospective council tax bill for £5,500. This point is not easy to find and now landlord and/or tenant have had to pay the unexpected bill + the ongoing costs. Put simply, "you cannot build ancillary accommodation for rental income without paying council tax or obtaining full approval" - this makes sense.

Changes to the rules - current situation


Keeping in touch with ALL changes my conclusion remains that our governments increasingly recognise that families need to extend without having to move home. This is good news for those wishing to develop their existing home and of course for the specialist garden structure builders.

The introduction of a "neighbour consultation scheme" makes a lot of sense but still needs to be updated regularly as things do change. The key issue is that a garden building development for residential use MUST be "ancillary" to the main property and certainly so if it is to be used as additional living accommodation.

More news on annexes (ancillary accommodation)


Summary:

Sir Eric Pickles (during his period as communities secretary) originally made his statement about making it easier to obtain permissions to develop living annexes as part of your own home. This was driven by the economic need to provide more housing. The proposals represented a whole lot of common sense and were aimed at benefitting families considering options for offspring and for elderly care. It is now quite normal and has somewhat filtered down to the planning regime which traditionally catches up slowly.

In any case the debate is where it is. All recent changes reflect the trend confirmed by our own enquiries.

Here is an IMPORTANT statement which may be helpful:


Clarification regarding granny annexes in particular. I understand there may be some confusion, but so long as projects are within the size constraints of the garden out-buildings (set out in Class E of the GPDO), the use of the outbuilding as a granny-annexe is not relevant.

The test is whether the use of the proposed outbuilding is "incidental" to the use of the main property. So long as it is an annexe ( i.e. essentially another part of your home), and not a separate dwelling (or other use that might create a separate planning unit), it is usually acceptable under permitted development.

Permitted development rights are reduced by being in Conservation Areas only (i.e. article 1(5) land); location within green belt. Any reference to kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms is irrelevant.

Permitted development is not designed to cover new buildings for rental purposes / generation of additional income. (this makes sense).


Our government continues to want planning to be easier as part of their economic strategy. The councils are keen to generate revenue from additional council tax.

Both issues here are easy to understand and this on occasions creates a conflict in certain areas of the country, unfortunately dealt with in different ways.

Update 17/07/2018


The Rt Hon Savid Javid has become Foreign Secretary and James Brokenshire has been appointed Secretary of state for Housing, Communities and local government. Savid Javid had previously on 13/10/2017 sent a letter answering my planning permission questions (relating to annexes) via Christian Matheson MP for Chester stating "The local planning authority may consider whether the occupant lives as a member of the household, or is an unrelated tenant, it is their interpretation of the regulations that determine the outcome".

I have written today 17/07/2018 to Christian Matheson MP for Chester asking him to consider re-raising this question with James Brokenshire as demand for ancillary family accommodation is becoming even higher. This is particularly true in London and other parts of South UK, due to continually escalating property costs. This request is that the rules should be clarified to read  Under (GPDO section b) A Purpose incidental to a house would not,however, cover normal residential use such as bedroom, bathroom,kitchen - unless your local authority is informed and be able to collect additional council tax during periods of prolonged occupation at their discretion.
 

More on the detailed rules.


This section concentrates only on planning and building regulations for detached back garden buildings of all types, including garden studios for living / sleeping over "ancillary" buildings. Our own business is consulting, designing and project management for full installations.

We can provide planning application services and advice to clients in the research phase of their project + prepare all the documentation
(designs, plans and constructional specifications for your own builders).

Trends - Garden Studios, Granny annexes and Garden Accommodation Buildings


As enquiries about accommodation buildings in particular annexes for elderly relatives and students returning from university are growing fastest. We have prepared example, plans for buildings of which provide full accommodation facilities at project cost between £28,000 and £60,000 (depending on spec / size).

If you would like to receive specific info about design and process - send an email to me at
richardgrace1@gmailcom Including a brief description of your project (purpose and envisaged facilities or use the forms (links) at the bottom of this page).

Editable sample plans, drawings and documents are available for £350 each. (saves time and cost in starting from scratch) - Please send house number and postcode + brief description for sample editable plans (scaleable for application purposes). To see the government paper and mini-guide without our comments + other sources please follow more links in the side bar.

To read about restrictions involved in running a business from home in a garden building - legislation, taxation change of use etc. see our Running-a-Business-at-Home link.

About the "Permitted Development" rules 2008


Planning rules remain somewhat ambiguous / subject to some local Interpretation, particularly in relation to size, eaves height and proximity to your boundary. For buildings up to 30 sq m permission is not normally required.

In some cases, it is better to apply for permission or obtain a "letter of conformity" - rather than take a risk or accept a design simply to comply with an interpretation, of the "permitted development" rules. If you wish to make a planning application or seek a letter of conformity we are able to assist.

This whole process has been made somewhat easier as all authorities accept on-line applications through the planning portal which works well (and recently passed more than 1.8 million applications). "Well done guys this has saved an enormous amount of paper" (in their words):

"if stacked up would be more than four times higher than the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, or the same height as seven Empire State Buildings with Canary Wharf on top"

Regarding the planning portal (online application process) we can confirm it works well and helps.

Important / Vital - Check your proposal with neighbours:


By far the most important planning issue remains - "how your project will effect your neighbour's". You simply need to ask yourself "is the proposed new building and its intended use reasonable" and furthermore "does it affect your neighbour's enjoyment of their own property".

You should consider carefully - any change to traffic patterns, noise and blockage of light (ask yourself these questions) and talk with your neighbour's.

If you have a problem with planning permission it is usually a neighbour related issue. In EVERY formal application, neighbour's are consulted and it is the duty of planners to take this into account. This makes sense! You have these rights to develop in your garden and the planners are there to ensure development is controlled and compliant with the rules.
The photo here leads to a case study, illustrating of what can be achieved within "permitted development" rules.

Granny Annexe in garden


All the current rules are below (the project shown here is fully compliant)


Here are ALL the 2008 Permitted Development rules (still current) with my explanation of how they apply to buildings in your garden - Government statements in grey my own comments in black.

Planning Permission and Permitted Development Rules in FULL + necessary Building Regulations


The comments are written by (myself), and qualified by communications with planners and building engineers.
The current planning guidelines relating to Garden Buildings issued by central government are shown in grey colour like this!

Nearly everyone is concerned about planning issues. We are in a good position to advise having discussed these issues in relation to more than 2800 garden building projects of our own.

Note / Disclaimer:

We cannot take responsibility for any dispute that may arise. If in doubt you should check with your local planning authority and if necessary seek a letter of compliance for your project. In any case we would always advise against going ahead without planning permission if your project was either in contravention of the rules or clearly detrimental to your neighbour's enjoyment of their property. There is a retrospective route but this is complex and can be quite stressful / expensive.

The current rules with my comments:

I am "re-stating" first:

"Planning Permission" and "Building Regulation Compliance" are completely separate issues" Both are dealt with by different government departments. Planning covers positioning, design, boundary proximity,height etc. Building Regulations cover safety, structural strength and energy use. Both are dealt with here.

First the applicable planning permission rules and second the building regulation rules.
Government Statement (shown in grey like this) - Rules governing outbuildings apply to sheds, greenhouses and garages as well as other ancillary garden buildings such as swimming pools, ponds, sauna cabins, kennels, enclosures (including tennis courts) and many other kinds of structure for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house.

We are interpreting this to include Garden Offices, Garden Studios, Garden Rooms, Leisure Buildings, and "ancillary annexes". Our thoughts on the reason for the official statement not being so specific are that the government has to leave space in the general guidelines for some local interpretation.
Government Statement - Other rules relate to the installation of a satellite dish, the erection of a new dwelling or the erection or provision of fuel storage tanks.

This seems to be clear you cannot erect a new dwelling for separate sale in your garden without planning permission. This certainly prevents the division of your property and the sale of part of it with dwelling house rights and without full planning permission. We do know that Granny annexes and lodges (sleepover buildings) are treated in a different way by the planners in different parts of our country. The key word is "ancillary" so if you make contact yourself always make it clear that your development is "ancillary" to the use of the main property.
Government Statement - Under new regulations that came into effect on 1st October 2008 outbuildings are considered to be permitted development, not needing planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions: No outbuilding on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation.

Quite clear, if you take into account these guidelines you can build in your side or back garden without applying for planning permission. however,,, you cannot build in your front garden without planning consent. The definition in the guidelines here could be expanded to mean closer to the highway at the front of your property. Reason The local authority may need to change the highway. Further to this Interpretation, our advice is that you should always take into account the effect on your immediate neighbour's of any development.
Government Statement - Outbuildings and garages to be single storey with maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of four metres with a dual pitched roof or three metres for any other roof.

This is very confusing but here is my attempt to make sense of it. You cannot build a two storey garden building without planning permission. In the case of a conventional gabled roof the eaves height should not be higher than 2.5m. The planning portal mini guide shows the eaves height and final roof height are different by the thickness of the roof e.g. it is ok to start the "barge boards" at 2.5m and reasonably go over this to the total height say 2.7m to accommodate insulation (makes sense). A hipped roof can have different pitches on the ends and sides but the eaves should not exceed 2.5m. The highest part of the roof should not exceed 4 metres in any case.

Note: In a sloping garden the maximum height measurements are measured from the highest point of the land on which the building stands. We have met situations where local planners interpret this in a different manner however,,, our experience and written communications with government confirm our Interpretation, to be correct.

In 2013 we designed a new roof system which complies and is not flat. A curved roof developed by ourselves in conjunction with Tata-Steel this new roof offers a real alternative to flat roof garden building with a span up to 5.6m and height of 2.5m centre with 2190mm head height internal. This is a warm roof system 139mm thick including 100mm urethane (kingspan type insulation) with 30 year no leak guarantee. installation and photo detail available from richardgrace1@gmail.com The same Tata material works well on all pitched roofs and operates effectively at low pitches down to 3 degrees.

Government Statement - Maximum height of 2.5 metres in the case of a building, enclosure or container within two metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the dwelling house.

Any confusion now cleared up with newest explanation on portal see (mini-guide link below) (examine point 8) If you build an outbuilding closer than 2 metres to your boundary no part of it must be higher than 2.5m. Planning permission will be necessary if so, however,,, where a taller building closer than 2 metres seems reasonable to neighbouring properties there should be no reason for refusal. There are many sites where it is better to apply for permission.
Government Statement - No verandas,, balconies or raised platforms.

Seems clear and makes sense in relation to balconies and raised platforms. The building should not include balconies or raised platforms because in many cases neighbour's privacy would be threatened by such structures. Where neighbour privacy would not be threatened then we see no reason why planning permission or letter of consent should not be given but it is best to check. With regard to verandas, the word, of course, can be used to describe a balcony or raised platform it certainly does not mean you cannot have a roof over a seating area at ground level.

Government Statement - No more than half the area of land around the "original house"* would be covered by additions or other buildings.

Very clear and makes sense. Taking into account all of the land except the footprint of the house you cannot cover more than 50% with outbuildings. We have come across situations where this applies but only in very small gardens.
Government Statement - To be permitted development, any new building must not itself be separate, self-contained, living accommodation and must not have a microwave antenna.

Very clear regarding the microwave antenna and makes sense. Regarding self-contained living accommodation not clear at all. Our Interpretation, is that this is to prevent properties being used in a way which would allow the bending of taxation rules. We are asked on many occasions if it is ok to build an outbuilding in the garden where our son, daughter, granny or other family member can live. From a technical standpoint the answer is yes of course. It would not however,,, be fair on existing neighbour's to exploit this by building multiple structures taking the property beyond the use "family dwelling" for which planning permission was granted in the first instance. So our view is that common sense must prevail.
Government Statement - In National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites the maximum area to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers and pools more than 20 metres from house to be limited to 10 square metres.

Very clear and makes sense. You can't put up large structures using permitted development rights in these designated areas if they are more than 20 metres from the house.

Government Statement - On designated land* buildings, enclosures, containers and pools at the side of properties will require planning permission.

Very clear and makes sense. You can't put up structures using permitted development rights at the side of your property in these designated areas.

Government Statement - Within the curtilage of listed buildings any outbuilding will require planning permission.

Totally clear if you live in a listed building then you have no permitted development rights.

Government Statement - *The term "original house" means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if it was built before that date). Although you may not have built an extension to the house, a previous owner may have done so.
*Designated land includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.

This means that in a conservation area you have no permitted development rights. Please note: the permitted development allowances described here apply to houses not flats, maisonettes or other buildings. Seems to be clear.

Building Regulations

As previously stated Building Regulations are totally separate from Planning issues however,,, when considering Garden Buildings the following Building regulations need to be taken into account. (Key * = sometimes, ** always

    • Part A Structure *
    • Part B Fire Safety * (my own view is that this should be always)
    • Part C Site preparation and resistance to moisture
    • Part D Toxic substances
    • Part E Resistance to the passage of sound *
    • Part F Ventilation
    • Part G Hygiene *
    • Part H Drainage and waste disposal *
    • Part J Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems * (as above)
    • Part K Protection from falling, collision and impact, opening and cleaning
    • Part L Conservation of fuel and power*
    • Part M Access to and use of buildings *
    • Part N Glazing
    • Part P Electrical safety **
    Here are my comments on the most important issues relating to Garden Buildings and Structures: (Same format as planning section)
     
    Government Statement (this statement has changed recently) - If you want to put up small detached buildings such as a garden shed or summerhouse in your garden, building regulations will not normally apply if the floor area of the building is less than 15 square metres.

    If the floor area of the building is between 15 square metres and 30 square metres, you will not normally be required to apply for building regulations approval providing that the building, contains NO sleeping accommodation and is either at least one metre from any boundary or it is constructed of substantially non-combustible materials.

    Still not that clear but here goes: This is almost certainly a volume related statement and brings into play two things:

    1. The Building Regulations in relation to the spread of fire "which dates back to the fire of London in 1666". i.e. more volume = more risk involving spread of fire to neighbouring properties. For example, you may wish to conserve garden space by building close to your boundary, your neighbour may also do the same in which case there would not be a sufficient gap between the two buildings. The statement is not that clear but does make sense in that if the building footprint is more than 15 square metres then the building which has significant volume (over 15 square metres) must be at least one metre from your boundary. Or - you must be able to demonstrate it is constructed of substantially non-combustible materials.

    IMPORTANT
    :

    1. This is not a planning issue as we are already aware (see above) the planning restriction in relation to boundary proximity is that the height of the structure if nearer than two metres to the boundary is restricted to 2.5 metres roof height - presumably to ensure there will not be neighbour issues about restricting light.

    2. The regulations exemption table see:
    Exemption Table seems to be aiming towards energy conservation in that buildings over 15 sqm but not more than 30 sq. m could require energy saving measures (Part L) if the building is intended for regular use. This seems to take some account of the fact that many Garden Buildings are used as a Studio or office / place of work / accommodation. In all of these cases it makes sense to provide energy saving insulation.

    3.Regarding the statement "
    contains NO sleeping accommodation": This is just not clear - here is my Interpretation,:

    4. This was originally the subject of Housing Minister Grant Shapps so-called "Beds in Sheds" review that the Government don't want householders to rent out sheds as accommodation. (Announced on the Planning Portal 3/05/2012 and still no change). This seems perfectly understandable.

    5. If the building has a "bedroom" then it must be safe to protect against fire and anything which is life threatening for people whilst asleep (this is common sense). No legislation of any type can exist to stop anyone sleeping in your garden, in a tent, your garage, a shed, garage, annexe or "deckchair".

    however,,, -- it does make sense to ensure that any regularly used accommodation building is safe for people whilst asleep. So my view is that is particularly bad wording - there is no such thing as a clear definition of what is sleeping accommodation. I have researched this and neither are there any rules laws or guidelines regarding where a human being may fall asleep.

    Let common sense prevail. We have noticed over recent years a massive increase in enquiries for outbuildings with sleeping accommodation, this is driven by economics - I guess this is no surprise!

    Throughout this document, I have stressed and re-stated the importance of not upsetting neighbour's. Martin Goodall a specialist-planning lawyer has written an interesting article this subject. He talks about the current statements regarding the use of outbuildings as a legal anomaly.

    You can read his contribution here
    Legal anomaly over the use of outbuildings (the eleventh commandment)

    Other Important Issues about safety


    Outside of this specific statement here are the most important issues to consider regarding garden buildings and building regulations in general:

    1. Any electrical system in a garden or garden building must comply with building regulations Part P and must be installed by a competent / qualified person. See my blog post at
    Garden Office and Studio Electrical Safety (a review of all involved written in a non-technical way)

    2. Any plumbing (toilets kitchenettes showers etc.) should be correctly installed so as to operate hygienically in relation to waste disposal. see my blog post at
    Garden Studio and Office Plumbing article Alternative low cost drainage solutions are detailed here also.

    3. Any Gas appliance must be installed by a competent / qualified person.

    4. Any wood burning stove, fire or heater installation must comply with building regulations and must be installed by a competent person.
    Local knowledge

    We have built Garden Buildings, Garden Offices, Garden Studios, Garden, Rooms and Garden Accommodation Buildings all over the UK. Here is a list:

    Bedfordshire, Luton Berkshire Reading, Bracknell, Maidenhead, Newbury, Wokingham, Buckinghamshire Aylesbury, High Wycombe Cambridgeshire Cambridge, Wisbech, Cheshire Chester x 9, Stockport, Sale, Ellesmere Port, Birkenhead, Wallasey, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Crewe Cornwall None yet Cumberland Penrith, Keswick Derbyshire Derby, Chesterfield, Buxton, Ashbourne Devon Barnstaple Dorset not yet Durham not yet Essex Chelmsford x 2, Basildon, and 5 times in Buckhurst Hill Gloucestershire Gloucester, Bristol, Cheltenham Hampshire Winchester Hertfordshire Watford, St. Albans x3, Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage, Huntingdonshire St. Ives, St. Neots, Kent Maidstone, Canterbury, Bromley, Greenwich Merseyside Liverpool, Lancashire Southport X 3 Manchester, Preston, Bolton, Warrington Leicestershire Leicester, Lincolnshire Lincoln, Grimsby, Louth Middlesex, London, x21, Enfield x3, Staines, Ealing Norfolk Norwich, Cromer, Hunstanton Northamptonshire Northampton, Kettering, Wellingborough Northumberland None yet Nottinghamshire Mansfield, Worksop, Newark, Oxfordshire Oxford, Banbury, Witney, Henley-on-Thames, Thame Rutland one in the sticks Shropshire Shrewsbury, Somerset Bath, Staffordshire Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent, Suffolk Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds Surrey Guildford x 6 Croydon, Woking, Sutton, Kingston-on-Thames, Wandsworth, Wimbledon x4 Sussex Crawley, Warwickshire Warwick, Birmingham, Coventry,Rugby, Stratford-upon-Avon Westmorland Windermere, Wiltshire Devizes Worcestershire Evesham Yorkshire Beverley, Halifax, Harrogate,York North Wales x 8, Wrexham Scotland x 11, South Wales x 4, Cardiff. Pembroke

    This document, "Planning Permission and Permitted Development" is researched and written By Richard Grace Director Garden Structures Bracken House CH4 6LB email
    richardgrace1@gmail.com webmaster links - please use text (Garden Building Planning and Building Regulations)

    Consultancy / pre-planning advice services available from us


    Services including planning advice, architectural drawings and specifications, structural engineering / thermal efficiency calculations, supplier selection and project management. If busy we can recommend alternative sources.

    You can ask your local authority for Pre-Planning-Advice directly and speak to a planning officer, to get the best out of this. My advice is to be completely prepared with drawings and proposals having talked firstly with your neighbour's. For a visit most authorities make a charge of around £200 - £300. They cannot at the pre-planning stage tell you if your project will succeed.

    You can read
    "My amazing 3 hour visit to a London Planning Office" Check out this blog post - see photo below maybe (10 minute read but helpful if things become a bit of a battle) This is a blow by blow account of a very difficult situation. If you have comments please send email  richardgrace1@gmail.com

    In any case I hope this has helped to clarify a few things - recent news on this topic here with my comments @
    Telegraph.co.uk ---"Lady in the lodge debate" regarding planning permission for accommodation buildings in gardens. Debate started Feb 2017.

    The Lady in the Lodge: soaring property prices drive rise in ‘posh’ lodges at the bottom of gardens, experts say


    I have read this article + commented on-line of course. For years I have studied this market / spoken to more than a few people looking for the best solution to their family circumstances. + designed and built hundreds of projects.
    Our laws needs to be clarified with regards to permanent additional detached living accommodation in gardens: (living annexes / ancillary accommodation buildings).

    • The permitted development rules need to be revised, clarified and simplified in respect of additional accommodation buildings in gardens. As any new legislation always takes time an interim guidance statement is needed urgently. (because as demand rises and the current law remains NOT clear enough)
    • The taxation rules need to be made totally clear now and of course following any new legislation.
    • The installation of temporary structures is far clearer and requires no comment from myself.
    • The Building Regulations rules are separate and totally clear i.e. no problems at all here. If a detached garden building is over 30 sq metres in footprint then all the regulations apply.
    • Further to all this – a new neighbour consultation scheme should be introduced. Noise and traffic are always a concern and it should be clear that such development is not for rental and generation of income, unless of course the building is specifically approved for this purpose. - email questions to: richardgrace1@gmail.com
    • For additional clarification on "ancillary" accommodation buildings only - download pdf below: As explained this is currently NOT operated in a uniform way by all local authorities.

      Granny Annexe Planning Battle


      Read about how difficult obtaining planning permission for an annexe is (sometimes) my epic battle for planning permission click on this picture: It is an epic but true! Guess who won? (8 minute read)

      More downloads here:

      Download - Note: on ancillary buildings.pdf

      Download - This complete document, in.pdf

      Your next step is to make a check list with action points here is a "strawman" template / online form your link is here:

      Use this on line forms to get going -
      (on-line help form) it offers a more detailed 2nd form if you are ready.

      Thanks for visiting (your comment / feedback on this page is always welcome and appreciated)
      richardgrace1@gmail.com
      Additional links (free .pdf downloads) "printable check lists" to help with garden building projects: Links below:

      Starter checklist 1 (download basic check list of esential items)

      More detailed checklist 2 (download 2nd check list for further details)

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