Summerhouse base preparation and other information
The space will always be used, so buy the biggest building you can afford provided that it fits comfortably in the space available. There are no precise guidelines regarding the size. Often the size of the building is dictated by the space available. We offer a wide range of sizes to suit every space. If you are replacing an existing building, you should consider whether to have the same size again or perhaps larger. You should also consider how many people you might like to seat in your summerhouse. Also, could your summerhouse be used for dining? The smallest size is generally 7'x5'. The most popular size for a small summerhouse is 6'x8' which provides ample space for 2 comfortable armchairs and a small table. An 8'x10' can seat 6 or even 8 in comfort around a suitably sized dining table.
Ideally your building should have a clear space at least 18" wide on all sides, if possible. This ensures easy access for both installation and future maintenance. In reality this is often not practical and at many sites it is not needed. A reduced clearance is often possible on one or two sides. If the space around your building is restricted remember to allow for any roof overhang. You should also cut back or remove any nearby shrubs and trees. Remember to allow for future growth. If possible a sheltered position is better.
All buildings need a substantial base. The base should be solid, square, flat and level to ensure the stability of your building. Paving slabs or concrete are ideal. A solid concrete base is more permanent and normally more expensive but it provides an excellent base especially for a larger building. Paving slabs are more practical and cost effective, especially for a smaller base at the far end of the garden. The base should be no smaller than the floor size of the new building and no more than a few inches larger.
You will receive advance notice of the delivery day either in writing or by telephone. If it is not convenient you can postpone the delivery with reasonable notice. A clear access route is required from the lorry to a suitable storage place nearby. For security reasons, it is normally necessary for someone to be at home to accept delivery.
Assembly is a straightforward and satisfying project for any DIY enthusiast. Even large buildings can be installed with only basic tools, such as a hammer, a screwdriver, a power drill, a spirit level, an adjustable spanner, a knife, a stepladder and safety goggles. Particular care is required when handling glass and good quality gloves should be worn at all times. You should not attempt to lift heavy sections without a helping pair of hands. Remember that extra time spent preparing a good base is normally repaid with time saved later on during the installation.
The external timber should be treated with a good quality wood stain every year. This will prolong the life of your building. All major wood stain manufacturers offer suitable products in a choice of colours, available from good hardware shops. It is not necessary to treat cedar which is a naturally resilient timber and does not deteriorate appreciably even under severe climatic changes. If untreated cedar will gradually fade to a silvery grey. We also recommend that you regularly oil the door and window hinges as required to ensure continued smooth operation.
Inexpensive polystyrene or fibreglass insulation can be easily fitted between the framing members. The insulation is retained by cross battens which also support the lining boards. Wood effect veneered wallboard is a popular lining but plywood and tongued and grooved cladding are also suitable.
Although providing an electricity supply to a garden building is normally a straightforward task, for safety reasons we recommend that you consult an approved electrician first. Since January 1st 2005 all electrical work must be completed in accordance with IEE wiring regulations and BS 7671. Notifiable work must be either notified directly to the local building control department or completed by an operator who is approved under the Part P Electrical Competent Person Scheme.
The majority of garden buildings do not require planning permission. However, permission is required for any building which covers over half the garden, which is not for domestic use or which is over 3 metres high with a pent roof or 4 metres high with an apex roof. Planning permission may also be required for any building which is nearer to a public highway than the original dwelling. For planning purposes a public highway includes any road or footpath with a public right of way. If you live in a Conservation Area or a Listed Building permission may be required for any garden building over 10 cubic metres. This brief summary is not intended to be a comprehensive guide. Contact us for further advice or contact your local planning department.
The majority of garden buildings do not require approval under the building regulations. However, approval is required for any building with an internal floor area of more than 30 square metres.