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    If you’re looking to add an outbuilding such as a garden room, it’s important to understand safety when it comes to fire regulations.

    Permitted development rights allow the improvement or extension of homes without the need to apply for planning permission, but if you’re a homeowner looking to add a detached outbuilding such as a garden room, yoga studio, home gym, games room, hobby room or home office, it’s important that you understand how you can exercise your rights to carry out development while protecting the interests of your neighbours and the wider environment. Please note that this information is intended as a guide only and does not constitute legal advice. Please always ensure you complete your own checks by consulting the Government Planning Portal.

    Understanding the difference between planning regs and building regs

    It might surprise you to know that there are a myriad of rules governing outbuildings such as sheds, playhouses, sauna cabins and even kennels. Remember too that planning regulations and building regulations are not one and the same thing. Planning looks at the general influence the building has on the environment and others in the local area, whereas building control looks at the building location itself, its suitability, its safety and how it is constructed.

    My property is listed or located in an area of outstanding natural beauty

    Listed buildings, national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty have different rules and regulations and therefore permitted development does not apply in the same way as it does in standard areas, so people living here must seek additional permissions.

    I want to add a home office or garden room to my front garden

    Unfortunately, outbuildings cannot be added forward of the principal elevation of the original house under permitted development, and must not exceed 50% of the total area of land around the original house. 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). Be aware that the total area of all extensions, sheds and outbuildings – including your proposed garden room – must not cover more than 50% of the total area of land around your house.

    My proposed garden outbuilding is under 15 sqm

    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 internal floor space and contains no sleeping accommodation. When considering your cladding, choose a sensible product which offers some defensive fire properties such as our Class B fire rated Composite Timber Cladding which is made from hardwearing composite timber. Remember too that if you are running electrics to your garden office, these will definitely need to comply with Building Regulations – check out part P and consult your electrician to find out what you’ll need to do.

    My planned outbuilding is larger than 15 sqm

    If the floor area of the building is between 15 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 away from any boundary or it is constructed substantially of non-combustible materials. Non-combustible means that a material is resistant to combustion as determined by an appropriate test procedure. Garden office buildings over 30 square metres will always need to be Building Regulation compliant.

    I want to locate my garden room within 1 metre of my property boundary

    If your garden room is within 1 metre of the property boundary and is less than or equal to 30 sqm, then the materials used must be mainly non-combustible. That means they should be for example, brick, block, or concrete walls, or a steel frame with metal cladding with a non-combustible fire rating, such as our powder coated Aluminium Cladding. If you are still unsure if planning permission or building control is required, please contact your local planning authority or call our specialist team.