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OffPOD Steel Frame Garden Room Extension vs Traditional Build Extension

Updated: Apr 14




So, you are thinking about adding more space to your home but aren't sure what your best option is regarding who to commission to do the work. We all know it's a complete a minefield when looking for a reliable builder who will build to schedule, keep the price they originally quoted and do a good job. This can make the whole prospect of building a home extension quite daunting, especially if you browse a home extension group on Facebook. Start scrolling and it won't take you long to find stories whereby rogue and dishonourable builders have created absolute havoc in people's lives over prolonged periods. It should be music to your ears that OffPOD, headed by directors from professional backgrounds including law, business development and engineering, has been established with customer service as one of its main priorities. OffPOD doesn't only build steel frame home extensions with an unmatched customer journey; we also build them faster and to the same standards set by building regulations. Why would you wait 13 weeks or even in very unfortunate circumstances for up to a year when OffPPOD can complete a straightforward 7m x 4m house extension in less than one month once a foundation is laid.


Technologies are constantly evolving to make our lives easier and more convenient. The residential building trade has remained dormant until now in terms of technological advances. We utilise our steel frame modular system which is heavily used in the commercial sector however has only just started to be applied to residential builds.


So why would you choose a slower option, that brings about the same outcome and is more expensive? A good, maybe overly simplified metaphoric comparison would be insisting on posting letters rather than sending emails. Posting a letter in today's age is often a slow, drawn-out process relative to sending an email. You may have to go out of your way to buy a costly stamp, find a post box and then hopefully, the letter will turn up at its end destination in a day or two, which cant be 100% guaranteed. Whereas with an email, you simply type it up at home on your computer, hit send, and add a read receipt to ensure the recipient has read it, saving you time, energy, and money. Here the same end outcome is achieved in minutes rather than days.


What are the rules concerning Garden Room Extensions?





First off, to fall into the Garden Room Extension category, your build will have to meet some criteria. which has been listed below;


  • An external door will have to remain in place between the Garden Room Extension and your main house; this may be a case of keeping some Bifolds or a sliding door in situ so that the Garden Room Extension is separate from the main house.


  • You cannot remove any of the existing walls in the form of a knock-through that would open the Garden Room Extension to the main property.


  • To qualify as a Garden Room Extension, the heating source within the extension must be independent of the rest of the house; this means that central heating cannot be run from the main house. This is not a problem, all of our builds come with an electric panel heater that you can control with your smartphone as standard.


  • Garden Room Extensions fall under the same rules as single-storey extensions in relation to planning permission. Permitted development rights allow you to complete common home building projects without having to apply for planning permission. You DON'T need planning permission for a garden room IF you meet the conditions and limits of permitted development outlined below.


You DO need planning permission if;


  • More than 50% of the land around the 'original house' is to be covered (this includes any other buildings)


  • The extension is forward of the front or side of the 'original house' that faces onto a road


  • You MAY need permission if you live in a designated area or fall under an Article 4 Direction. If you have a listed building, you do require a Listed Building Consent.


A garden room extension built to the side need planning if:


  • They are more than single-storey or over 4 metres in height


  • They are wider than half the width of the 'original house'



Garden room extensions need planning permission if:


  • They are higher than the highest point of the roof


  • The eaves and ridge height are higher than the existing house (single-storey and two-storey)


  • The eaves height is more than 3 metres, if within 2 metres of the boundary


Garden Room Extensions built to the rear need planning if:


  • They extend beyond the rear of the 'original house by over 6 metres (semi) or 8 metres (detached house)*


  • They are more than 4 metres in height



How big can you build a garden room home extension without planning permission?


  • The possible size of your Garden Room Extension depends on the size of the property that you're extending. To build without the need for planning permission, a garden room extension can't be any bigger than 50% of the area around the original house (including sheds and outbuildings).


How far you can build outwards from the back and side of the house is also restricted if you want to avoid planning permission:


  • A Garden Room Extension can extend backward from the rear wall of the 'original house' by up to eight metres for a detached house and six metres for semi-detached houses. But, if the structure is more than four metres the neighbour consultation scheme applies and the local planning authority must be informed.


  • A rear Garden Room Extension can't be higher than four metres, but if it's within two metres of the boundary, it must be three metres or less in height.


  • A Garden Room Extension built to the side cannot be wider than 50% of the size of the original house.


  • Separate to planning permission, building regulations will apply to a Garden Room Extension that is more than 30 square metres of floor area.




What is an Offpod garden room extension?


We use specialist steel frame construction for our Garden Room Extensions; this is a much stronger, more durable and long-lasting option than a timber frame that has no drawbacks compared to using standard brick and blockwork. We use the same steel frames when building home extensions that have to go through building regulations that we can adhere to without any issues. Due to our unique build method, we can complete a 3mx4m OffPOD Garden Room extension in as little as two weeks; this, believe it or not, would also include plastering, painting and decorating work! Meaning that if you and a neighbour were to both have home extensions built simultaneously, and you opted for an OffPOD garden room extension whereas they went down the traditional route, you could quite literally be enjoying your new space whilst they are still waiting for their foundations to dry!


Will my Garden Room Extension Feel Like A Conservatory?


OffPOD Garden Room extensions are engineered to feel no different to a typical home extension; we insulate our builds to the standards required by building regulations for new houses. An OffPOD Garden Room extension will create a comfortable space that is useable all year round, come sun or snow. unfortunately, the same can not be said for other options you may be weighing up, such as a conservatory which may end up being a redundant space for the majority of the year given how difficult they are to keep warm or cool





How will my garden room house extension look from the outside?


Ultimately this one is up to you and how you want your home extension to look externally? We offer a completely bespoke service meaning every build is unique and based on our customers and what they want to achieve. We do not have a restrictive catalogue of options; we have designers at hand to help create a visually stunning build if you need a bit of inspiration. We can have your garden room extension brick slipped, matching the rest of your house, or if you want to create a contrast we can render your walls.


OffPOD offers a complete design consultation process whereby we work with you to make the most of your space and ensure that you have an end product that you are happy with. To solidify this, we have an in house digital render expert who will create a to-scale, high definition digital render of your extension. Many of our clients find this aspect of our service priceless as not everyone can visualise how their build will look before its completion. This dramatically reduces our customers' likelihood of any 'design regrets' once their build is complete.


Will a garden room extension add value to my home?


Given that Garden Room Extensions are relatively new to the market, it is difficult to say with any true justification just how much value one will add to your property; this will be determined over time. It is industry knowledge that well-built conservatories add around 5% value to a house and the desirability factor. Given that they are considered 'seasonal rooms' that can only be used when the weather is just right hindering the value they add. This is not the case with an OffPOD garden room extension as you have a highly insulated space that is useable 365 days of the year. Due to the fact that Garden Rooms extensions are a relatively new phenomenon, there isn't currently much in the way of real-life data to identify how much value they add to a property however we would be pretty confident in saying that it will be more than 5%.


Does my garden room extension come with a guarantee?


Yes, all of our garden room extensions come with a 20-year structural guarantee. We also offer all of our customers a second layer of protection as standard across all of our garden room extensions in the form of a 10-year independent insurance backed guarantee. This means that in the unlikely event that OffPOD were to seise trading your guarantee would be honoured by a separate insurance company if anything were to go wrong with your build.




How does the cost of a garden room extension compare to a traditional build?


Great news on this one; a garden room extension will almost always work out a lot more cost-effective in comparison to going down the traditional route. It isn't often in life that you are able to make savings without any compromise on quality however in this case that is exactly what you will be doing no. Due to our build process being so efficient we are on site for a much shorter time period in comparison to a traditional build,, this means that we are able to make significant savings regarding labour expenses and are able to pass these savings on to our customers.


Will my garden room extension get cold in the winter?


So now you know a little more about OffPOD, let's look at what options we have when investing in a garden room extension and a traditional offering and compare the two. You may be surprised that the garden room extension may be the perfect option giving peace of mind, saving money and completing your home extension project completed much faster



We hope you have found this article useful however we appreciate that you may still have some outstanding questions. If this is the case please do not hesitate to contact us

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