FAQ

Welcome to our FAQ’s page where hopefully you will be able to find the answers to the questions that most people ask when considering a building for their garden – everything from do I need planning permission and if so what the building regulations? to questions concerning quality and build and even HMRC and VAT implications.

We have provided many of the questions that we regularly get asked however if you can’t find an answer then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Planning Permission (5)

Single-­storey outbuildings can be considered as permitted development; without needing planning permission. Located to the rear or side of a property, they must be ancillary to the main dwelling and not contain living accommodation – office/studio space for example.

The footprint can be up to 50% of the total area of land around the house. The maximum height for a dual pitch roof is 4m (3m for other roof types [e.g. mono pitch or flat]), and 2.5m if within 2m of the property boundary. Building regulations approval is not usually required up to 30m2 in floor area (no sleeping accommodation). More information can be found at www.planningportal.gov.uk

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Any building that is to be used as a residential dwelling or a holiday let will require planning permission.

1. Contact Your Council Planning Department

Give your local planning office a call. Planning Offices are not all the same and some will give you helpful advice over the phone and others will direct you to filling in an initial planning form typically called “Do I Need Planning Permission”. This form will ask you certain details that will allow a planning offer review your request and confirm definitely whether planning permission is required. If you have ‘difficult’ neighbours then many of our customers will get that letter, even if they don’t need planning permission just so there are no surprise visits from the council.

If they outright say “You need planning” then a full planning form is required to be filled in. The best way to do this is online through the Planning Portal as you can see the progress and upload information on your plans. See below.

2. Create & Submit Plans

The Planning Portal makes submission quite straight forward and in many cases you will be able to do this yourself. We will be able to provide scale drawings for your building that you will need to submit with your application. You will also need to provide a scale map of where you propose to position the building. You may want professional help for this bit and so a Google search of local Planning experts will give you a list of local people to ask for help(typically ex-planning officers). Alternatively Planning Aid provides free, independent and professional planning advice to community groups and individuals who can’t afford to pay professional fees. Further information about eligibility and planning matters is available if you follow the link www.rtpi.org.uk/planningaid.

3. Order Your Building

Once you have your approval then we can order your building.

4. Enjoy It!

Our buildings are manufactured to the very best quality and are designed to last many decades of use.

 

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A selection of our models can be classed as a ‘mobile home’. Built to our usual residential house standard for all year round enjoyment (not the flimsy, substandard BS3632 specification associated with holiday parks), these can be up to 20 x 6.8m and feature multiple bedrooms. The big advantage is that if the building is going in the grounds of your main house, you could add new living space without needing planning approval and increase the value and use of your property.

Below are rules that are applicable to mobile homes:

Private land (without an existing dwelling)

If you own a piece of land away from your current dwelling and wish to site a mobile cabin on it then you will need to apply for full planning permission with your local planning department.

Sites that have a building on already (such as a barn) often have more chance of getting permission but we have found that planning departments often like mobile cabins as they are not deemed permanent but in reality they will last for 100’s of years if maintained properly. Once you have permission for a mobile home for residential use then the council are normally happy with our product as it looks far better in the country than a metal box with a flat roof.

Private land (in the curtilage of an existing dwelling)

If you want to have a mobile home cabin within your garden (curtilage of your dwelling house) to be used an extra room in addition to the main house such as an extra bedroom or day room then you will not need planning permission unless you live in a conservation area. Some councils will require you to apply for a Certificate of Lawful Development so it is always worth checking with your local planning department.

Commercial venture

Mobile cabins are a great idea if you are thinking of creating a business of holiday lets. The cabins are of high quality and provide a wow factor that normal static caravans don’t.

You will need to apply for planning permission with your local council and will need to submit information on the economic value of the business both direct (benefits to your own business) as well as indirect (benefits to other parts of the local economy).

Woodland

You can use a caravan for forestry purposes, such as storage of tools, shelter for workers or as a site office. Provided the caravan is not for residential use, it falls completely outside planning controls. The Caravan Sites Act 1968 says that the legal definition of a caravan includes mobile homes. Under this definition, there is no necessity for the caravan to have wheels, as long as it is under the size limit and can be delivered in no more than two sections. For this use however we prefer the Permitted development route as it allows us to construct the cabin on site.

 

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You will need to consider planning permission if it doesn’t meet the following rules as laid out for the following:

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 dwellinghouse.

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.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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 dwellinghouse.
  • No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
  • No more than half the area of land around the “original house”* would be covered by additions or other buildings.
  • 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.
  • On designated land* buildings, enclosures, containers and pools at the side of properties will require planning permission.
  • Within the curtilage of listed buildings any outbuilding will require planning permission.

*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.

Please note: The permitted development allowances described here apply to houses and not to:

  • Flats and maisonettes (view our guidance on flats and maisonettes)
  • Converted houses or houses created through the permitted development rights to change use (as detailed in our change of use section)
  • Other buildings
  • Areas where there may be a planning condition, Article 4 Direction or other restriction that limits permitted development rights.
  • Permitted Development for householders – Technical Guidance

You are strongly advised to read a technical guidance document produced by the Government to help understand how permitted development rules might apply to your circumstances.

View ‘Permitted development for householders – Technical guidance’ on Gov.uk

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BS 3632:2015 Residential Park Homes

Sets out the minimum standard for residential buildings (below UK Building Regulations). It usually applies to caravan and park homes. Although this standard has been updated, we feel this is a substandard specification – offering inadequate insulation and flimsy build quality – so all our buildings, including our park homes, go far beyond this. We build to full residential house standards and UK building regulations, or beyond.

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