A garden office blog from Extra Rooms

Welcome to Extra Room’s garden office blog.

We love sharing all our garden building knowledge and stories with you!

Made to comply with the regs. (Literally!)

Even though many people choose to have a garden room rather than a house extension because normally no planning permission is required, it often puts people off once they find that if they want to use it for overnight accommodation, then building regs come into force.

However, whilst normally we only have to make the glazing and wiring up to house building standards and regs by law in normal garden rooms, our standard construction methods almost reach the full building regs as they are.

In this case here the client wanted the building to be used officially for occasional overnight occupancy so we had an inspector come and visit our factory to see how our buildings are constructed.

When he examined some examples we have and the works in progress he said most of our buildings would comply "as is" but fire regs may require some extra fireproofing of some of the cladding that faced adjoining neighbours, dependant upon the distance of the buildings from the boundary and also what the boundary was made of.

If required the additional fireproofing would normally consist of a bromide solution to fireproof the cladding where required but this is decided on a case-by-case basis following a site visit, to ascertain distances from adjoining houses to common boundaries.

We had taken it as read that a proper mains operated smoke detector would be required but that was all as far as the occupants of the building were concerned, other considerations relevant to fire were to do with fire spread elsewhere rather than within the studio itself.

All our buildings, whatever the category are all plastered out properly so this helped a lot.

We do offer an upgrade to reach the house regs of 0.39W/degK so this was fitted and that was it.

Now if ever the client decides to sell up he or she has a garden studio building at the bottom of the garden that could be used as a 'granny flat' which is an added bonus and places extra value on the garden building and in fact the house too.

(Sheep not included!)

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Written by David Fowler at 00:00

Kit or caboodle?

 

Up to now we have been offering nothing but bespoke and complete garden rooms, installed and including a foundation and maybe we should give some more options?

Most of our customers want everything done for them, turn-key but some have asked if we can do a DIY version, and really we ought to offer that choice.

We did have a dalliance with it many years ago for one project only, and when it came to it, I did not like a building leaving the factory incomplete, it hurt, so we withdrew the offer and carried on as before.

 

But was that right?

Who knows, perhaps we ought to rethink.

Having worked our costs out (hopefully accurately - we shall see on that score!) we are going to do the experiment again and offer part-completion but with all the kit and components for the whole build but at a 25% discount.

The difference between our buildings and many other with the "roadside delivery only" option, is that the building usually arrives at the roadside in a packing crate and that is the end of the story, the customer literally picks it all up from there and often struggles to get it all together. The weather frequently intervenes in these non sunny climes, turning it into a bit of a nightmare!

What we leave still to be done is a much easier assembly, as the building will still be in bespoke S.I.P.S panels but sized to suit the building, as we make them ourselves so they are appropriately sized for the building, minimalising the number of panels and reducing or removing joints.

The buildings, being in panel form, will already contain the wiring etc and be full sized so it is not a matter of starting from the ground plank by plank like a summerhouse and then having to line it out and wire it on site with surface mounted plug sockets and surface conduits.

 

We insulate them and line them out and plaster them as before, so all that arduous work will already be done.

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We shall see how much interest is generated but it will save customers 2.5k plus vat on a 12.5k job so if it takes a few weekends and evenings to complete, there may well be a few takers (quite a saving for a bit of time spent on DIY on a weekend or over evenings).

We'll make the option available from this coming week.

Written by David Fowler at 00:00

Man cave! Woman cave!

Well it is going in at last, just a couple of stage photos for now but give us a couple of days to get it installed and we will be able to show it in all its glory. Watch this space...

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Man or woman - how could you not want your own personal 'cave'?

Somewhere to keep important gadgets that don't fit in the house, for example, a proper snooker table, that's a must for a start, and that's exactly what is going in this one for starters.

PLUS a card table in one corner with specific lighting directly above it, a bar of course, a dartboard properly lit, all well though out.

Apparently when setting up a proper snooker table it is not just a question of checking it over carefully with a spirit level, oh no! A team of properly equipped men come with special measuring equipment, getting it level to almost atomic accuracy.

So of course extra care was taken with the piled foundations, extra large, cruciform in shape for extra grab too.

Obviously things don't always run smoothly in the workshop - so when doing the EPDM roof (a double pitched roof with twin trusses which will neatly carry a frame for the snooker table lights) things went a bit wrong... We sometimes use some expanding filler where the panels meet at the ridge, just to make everything airtight and draughtproof prior to the rubber roof layer, and one of the men having used it passed the can down to the man below who 'miss-fielded' it. The can punctured itself on the corner of a trestle and burst all its remaining contents everywhere, all over the front of the building then spinning about and making a pile of foam in a heap! 

No injuries sustained by humans or animals, so just as well we apply the sunblocking oil to the cedar at the end of the job and not in the factory, so we could sand it down to clean off the foam!

Such is life, we've sorted it and installation is scheduled for the coming week.

Written by David Fowler at 00:00

Think we are too far away? THINK AGAIN.

One of the perks of running a business that attracts people from all over the U.K, in fact, the odd pocket of land further afield in Europe sometimes, is that I am able to see a fair bit of the country on my travels…

Once a week I venture away from our factory in Nottinghamshire and visit potential customers to get a real feel for what it is they want and where best to site their building. I always encourage people to let me come and do a site visit as it vastly lowers the chance of any unwanted surprises on installation day.

Even though 75% of all our jobs are in London and the Home Counties we are not restrictive whatsoever, geographically speaking. A few years ago now we went over to Ireland for a week in order to install a sound proofed room.

Along those lines, this is a picture of a recently completed building in Aberdeen. A classic building with horizontal cedar on the front, feather edged boards on the back and sides, charcoal grey uPVC french doors and panel windows and letter box on either side to help maintain a good cross flow of ventilation.

 

So whether you in Berkshire, Yorkshire or Port Talbot, we WILL come to you!

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Written by David Fowler at 00:00

"Take me to the Church..."

Well here we have another different one, Gothic arched windows and doors.

It took a bit of organising, but it all got done, right down to the bifurcated window inserts. Apologies for the absence of a clutter free photo when complete, but we once again finished and tidied in the dark and the customer is going to send some better photos in due course.

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We had hoped to deliver before Christmas and it would have been had it not been for the frames, but once the various profiles had been templated and curved, then sent to the manufacturer and thence to the painters, it took a lot longer, more than a couple of months in fact. At least we knew that in advance but still it took longer than expected.

In case you were wondering, "Chartwell Green" is the colour they were spray painted, to give a building of two tones of green which is what was required, so as always, that is what we gave the customer.

It has a secret storage area at the front on wall the left, rather well disquised, almost impossible to see, for push bikes and mowers, but only half the depth of the building, then there is a second dividing wall parallel to the front and back walls, enabling the back section to have its own separate storage area of shelving for artwork bits and pieces.

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The trouble with doors to separate rooms, however small the rooms are, or especially if the rooms are small, is that the doors take up so much room if they are hinged, and even a sliding door moves along a wall and thereby uses up very useful space that could be used for shelving etc.

So we made it a pocket door, this means that the door slides within two slim walls rather than alongside a single wall. This means all the space against both room facing surfaces of the walls is free, on both sides, so in fact there is more usable space. Nothing gets in the way on either side of the wall since the door slides out of the way between them.

Max useable space for this bespoke multipurpose garden room, you dont get that as standard anywhere else! Trust me :)

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Written by David Fowler at 00:00
david fowler extra rooms garden office blog

David Fowler, Founder of Extra Rooms

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