We have always refused to take the easier option and use third party manufactured "Structural Insulated Panels Systems", (S.I.P.S) and the Garden Office photo below is yet another example showing the advantages - this building is not at the bottom of the garden like most, but half way down.
This means it needs to leave enough space to to comfortably pass beside it, maybe with a wheelbarrow. As we manufacture our own panels we can make them the best exact size that supports the project, rather than multiples of 1200mm or 4ft as many panels are made in these standard sizes. We make anything down to the nearest few mm and this comes in very handy.
Many people like to have a set of french doors and a full height panel window or two in their Garden Studio but if there is nothing else for light and ventilation then you can get a stuffy room, so it is a good idea to have what we call a letterbox window. These are around 4 ft wide and only 18 inches deep but are top hung to provide a nice through-draught on the warmer days, when the french doors can't be left completely open and in winter, just to provide a little fresh air. These letterbox windows are supplied with insurance approved locks and multiple point locking and are very secure. We only charge £160 plus VAT fitted, for them (if in white) and as they are high up the wall they both balance the light at the rear of the building as a higher a window is the more light it passes through and they are high enough not to foul a filing cabinet or other furniture. If you were concerned with privacy for any reason, as some in back walls could look at a neighbour's garden, then we glaze them with privacy glass which is like tracing paper, the light passes through but you can see nothing through them either from inside looking out or outside looking in.
Note the "tails" in the front left corner of the Extra Garden Room. The tails are the ends of the wiring circuit and are put where you the customer tell us you want them, and it is where the consumer unit we be fitted. We supply the consumer unit and give it to you so you can give it to your sparky who connects the power from your house to the studio. (This is the only thing we do not normally do for cost reasons. We would have to add the cost of an electrician to travel to site from our Nottingham factory and back, which is costly, and if later something went wrong or you decided to add anything electrically, it would always be better to have a more local electrician). We do recommend one if you are local to Nottingham or in either London or the Home counties where we found a very good one some years ago and we can pass on his details if you need him, we always get praise for him from our customers. You pay him direct and he pays us no commission, we just want it all to go smoothly and it always has with him and that is what we are after. Over the years he has probably connected over 50 of our buildings.
One thing he told us after a few jobs is that we could make it easier for him and other sparkies if we made it easier for them by trailing a large diameter cable from where the consumer unit needs to go, and from there down inside the wall and out for the floor, projecting from the building about a metre, so that the main armoured cable can be joined to that.
Some customers have had a few sparkies that made a really ugly job of placing an armoured cable right up on the new cedar cladding on the front face of some buildings, very unsightly, so this now avoids that completely, we put a specific thick wire inside the walls all hidden away and there is not need to bring an armoured cable outside the building at all, a much better solution, so we have always been grateful to him for suggesting that.
We all have to make a living but it is by no means all about the money. When making and constructing anything that requires teams of people to do it, one advantage of doing anything for decades is the quality of the folks you assemble together over that time. Practice and years of experience makes them all very competent. After more than 600 unique buildings made and fitted over the decades, there are very few situations or requirements or designs we have not come across before. Not to say we are not ready to keep learning of course!
Author: David Fowler