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  • UNEK Building Consultants

Where to start with a Home Office Extension

The demand for working from home has increased drastically, particularly following the Covid-19 outbreak where offices were closed and employees had to adapt to working from home, and without having the luxury of a spare room, a home office extension is the only viable long-term solution to continue working from home.

In this blog post we explain where to start with planning your garden office extension and the considerations that are necessary before you commence any building works.

Planning Permission and Building Regulations

The first step in creating your garden home office is to check whether or not you will need planning permission and ensure that you complete a Building Regulations application. A garden office that is less then 2.5 metres in height which is used for home working will generally fall within the owner's permitted development rights (where it is not used for the operation of a business). It is advised that you consult with your architect at this stage to explore your options.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996

Building owners who intend to build a garden office extension often overlook the Party wall etc. Act 1996 in their initial planning process which can result in delaying the project. If your proposed extension is within three metres of a shared or adjoining structure with deeper foundations then the existing foundations to the shared or adjoining structure then you must serve a Section 6 notice upon the adjoining owner.

The proposed works are also notifiable with a Section 1 Notice if you intend to build a new wall on the line of junction to form the flank wall of your proposed extension. As a building owner you can set the wall away from the line of junction to avoid having to serve a notice under this section, however this will remove the right of access into the adjoining owners garden to carry out the notifiable works as well as not giving you the option to maximise the space in your garden.

Once you have served a Party Wall Notice, the adjoining owner (your neighbour) must either consent to the works, concur in the appointment of an agreed surveyor or appoint their own surveyor to resolve any disputes by means of a Party Wall Award.

At UNEK, we have a resolute neighbourly matters team who will be able to assist with free initial advice on your project, serve notices on your behalf or act as your appointed surveyor.

Site Insurance and Budgeting

It is pertinent to set a budget prior to your garden office project, as well as including an extra percentage of 15-20% for any contingencies that may arise. Having a realistic budget from the outset will enable you to make choices in regards to the size, materials used, finishes etc. to ensure you do not overspend on your project.

Another consideration when planning your garden office is site insurance as most home insurance policies held by homeowners do not cover structural alterations to their building, regardless of the size. As the contractors insurance is likely to only include liability cover, it is essential to acquire site insurance for the duration of the project for any unforeseen accidents or issues that may arise during the construction of the garden office.


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