Connect with us

Real Estate

Shed office: Six steps to take before taking the plunge

Published

on

What do you find to be the hardest part about working from home?

Perhaps it is the distractions created by your family, or the fact that you can’t stop helping yourself to the contents of your fridge when it is just a few yards away from you. 

Or maybe, without your usual commute, you find it hard to switch out of work mode at the end of the day. 

If you’re trying to find a solution to one of these problems – and you have the luxury of a garden – then it might be time to invest in a ‘shoffice’. 

A shed office structure is allowed if it does not take up more than half of the outside space

A shed office structure is allowed if it does not take up more than half of the outside space

With almost a third of the UK workforce now working remotely according to the Office of National Statistics, ‘shed offices’ – or work spaces built in the garden – have become something of a craze for homeowners. 

Given the uncertain future ahead, the trend may well be here to stay.

1. What is a shed office?

As the name suggests, they are a cross between an office and garden shed.

But these modern super-sheds are a far cry from the moss-covered, cobweb infested, rusty tool stores of the past.

In some cases, homeowners are fitting them with every modern convenience, from insulated walls and underfloor heating to high-speed wifi and luxury bathrooms.

‘In our experience, they are favoured by people who have decorated their homes beautifully and now want a bespoke space in their gardens – or owners of traditional houses who crave a more contemporary space to style and enjoy time in,’ says Rachel Oliver, marketing manager at Malvern Garden Buildings.

2. How long do they take to build and how much do they cost?

As you might imagine, the cost and construction time depends on the type of outbuilding you go for.

The typical cost can be anything from £5,000 to £25,000 depending on the design and materials used.

The cheaper, more basic models are usually around 2.4metres by 1.8metres, whereas the more expensive installations measure up to 5metres by 3metres.

The build time can also vary widely depending on whether you would prefer your shed office to be built from scratch on site, or to purchase a pre-fabricated one which can then be delivered and put together in a matter of days.

‘If using a pre-fabricated structure, this could be ready for use once delivered to your home within a few days – but as with anything, you will likely pay a small premium for this luxury,’ says Conrad Cherniavsky, an architect at CVC Architecture.

‘Alternatively, using a more traditional on-site construction process you are likely looking at around 6-9 weeks depending on the size and complexity.’

3. Do I need planning permission?

Typically you won’t need to have planning permission, as the majority of garden offices would fall under the scope of what is known as permitted development.

However, within these rules there are certain limitations that it is useful to be aware of.

First, the eaves of the building must be no higher than 2.5metres, whilst the highest point must be no more than 4 metres if it has a dual pitched roof, or three metres for any other type of roof.

Pre-fabricated shed offices often only take a matter of days to erect once delivered

Pre-fabricated shed offices often only take a matter of days to erect once delivered 

Second, the floor area must not exceed 15 square metres – otherwise you will require building control sign-off to show the structure fits within building regulations. 

Third, a garden office cannot contain a sleeping area and must not be used as a separate dwelling unit.

Fourth, if you need to connect your new workspace to the mains utilities you will need permission from building control. 

Finally, it must not take up more than 50 per cent of the outside space surrounding the original house.

The original house refers to your property as it was first built, or as it stood on 1 July 1948 if it was constructed before that date.

This means that you would be wise to check whether your property has been extended by a former owner – in case that compromises the amount of space you can build on.

You can use your garden office as you wish - as long as you don't have a stream of visitors that could disrupt your neighbours and you don't intend to sleep overnight in it

You can use your garden office as you wish – as long as you don’t have a stream of visitors that could disrupt your neighbours and you don’t intend to sleep overnight in it

Furthermore, if you live in a national park, a listed building or a conservation area, you will need to seek specific permission from the local planning authority.

‘Strictly speaking, a garden shed can be erected without planning permission as it falls under permitted development,’ says Cherniavsky.

‘But if you’re forking out £15,000, you may prefer consulting a professional in order to secure a lawful development certificate prior to construction in order to give you peace of mind.’

4. Will it impact my home insurance?

One aspect that homeowners might forget to consider is home and contents insurance.

‘Make sure you update your insurance provider, as it could increase the rebuild cost of your home,’ says Jessica Willock, home insurance expert at Confused.com.

‘Not doing this could invalidate the policy if you need to make a claim in the future.’

Some insurance providers will not offer full cover for items in any outbuildings as part of their standard policy.

A homeowner would be wise to check the exact wording of their home insurance policy to understand to what extent they are covered.

‘It’s important they consider the insurance implications of storing items in external buildings,’ says Adam Holland, head of technical and development underwriting at AXA Insurance.

‘Although items stored in outbuildings can often be covered by a standard home contents insurance policy, there is usually a limit of around £2,500 – but it can be lower.

‘Exclusions also often apply to items such as valuables, money, business tools, bicycles, keys and locks.’

5. Is a garden office a good investment?

Improving the saleability of your home is often a key consideration when making improvements.

With many predicting home working to be a feature of our lives in a post lockdown world, a garden office can be expected to appeal to buyers in the future.

‘They certainly do add to the value of the property, as the initial £15,000 – £25,000 outlay will usually be matched by the increase in value of your home on a pound per square foot basis,’ says Grant Bates, director at estate agent Hamptons International in Islington.

‘The only caveat is that the build quality must be good, ideally using sustainable materials and having running water and electricity – making it an extension of the house as opposed to a glorified shed.’

Not all insurance companies will offer cover for items in the garden or in outbuildings

Not all insurance companies will offer cover for items in the garden or in outbuildings

It is also important to consider whether your new office compromises the existing garden space – this could mean you might put off some future buyers where a larger garden is a priority.

”Shoffices’ are a smart investment, not only for the longevity of you living at the property, but also for purchasers seeking a property with this functionality,’ says Henry Longton, senior chartered building surveyor at Knight Frank.

‘However, it’s worth homeowners considering the other side of the coin, whereby the size of your garden could be compromised. It is reasons such as this that make it difficult to conclude whether this home improvement would directly add value to a home.’

6. What else should I consider before building one?

First and foremost, you’ll need to work out what you’ll actually be using it for.

‘How the room is going to be used will have major implications on the size required and what facilities need to be accommodated,’ says Cherniavsky.

‘Bathrooms or a utility space will need a water supply and plumbing which will add to the overall cost, as well as likely adding limitations to where the building can be positioned.’

Next, you’ll need to consider the style, design and features that are important for you.

‘We’d always advise people to go for a double-skinned and insulated building so that it’s a comfortable space to work all year round,’ says Oliver.

‘Consider what size of building best suits your needs, and what you would like it to look like – do you want traditional or modern?

‘Also think about where you would like to place doors and windows, whether you would like it painted or unpainted, and which style of roof you prefer as well as considering how it will suit the kind of work you’ll be doing.’

The popularity of the Shoffice has been fuelled by the home working trend since March 2020 with people looking to move their office out of the house into a completely separate space

The popularity of the Shoffice has been fuelled by the home working trend since March 2020 with people looking to move their office out of the house into a completely separate space

Finally, consider the orientation of your shed office: whether it is north or south-facing could make an enormous difference to how you design it and use it.

Quite often, a garden office will only have windows facing in one direction, because they are typically tucked away at the end of a garden.

‘Natural light and orientation plays a critical role in creating a good working space,’ explains Cherniavsky.

‘For example, an artist would specifically want a north facing studio so that they avoid any direct sun and have softer ambient light throughout the day.’

‘Others will want a south facing structure, with extensive glazing to maximise natural light, but will then quite often suffer from overheating in the summer, therefore requiring some element of shading to be incorporated into the design.’

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

Source link

Real Estate

Madison International Realty invests in London Salesforce Tower (GB)

Published

on

Madison International Realty has acquired a minority stake in the Salesforce Tower, London EC2, through a Jersey Property Unit Trust (JPUT), joining other investors including Heron International.

 

The 230-metre tower, completed in 2011 at 110 Bishopsgate, is an island site in the City of London and provides 441,000ft² of office space over 37 floors. The property is over 93% let to a range of tenants, the largest of which is Salesforce. The Salesforce Tower also has an outstanding food and beverage offering with Duck and Waffle and Sushi Samba at the very top and the Drift on the ground floor. The building has a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating for design.

 

The asset’s central location in the core of the City of London means it benefits from excellent transport connectivity, with Liverpool Street and Bank within a short walking distance. Similarly, there are a large number of new world-class food, drink and entertainment options nearby including the new Pan Pacific hotel adjacent at Heron Plaza and Eataly in Broadgate. In January 2021, an ING-led syndicate of lenders completed a €465.2m (£400m), five-year refinancing of the Tower.

 

Alex Lukesch, Managing Director at Madison International Realty commented on the investment: “This acquisition has allowed us to secure a stake in a prominent London office building, which we believe delivers space that meets the demands of modern occupiers looking for world-class offices in one of the world’s leading financial centres. The investment reflects our conviction in the ongoing resilience of the office sector and the role we believe it will play post-pandemic. We have observed that demand for quality, well-located space remains robust, while companies are increasingly looking for properties that also have strong ESG credentials to help meet their own sustainability targets. In Heron, we believe we have an experienced and highly regarded partner and we look forward to working with them on this venture.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Britain’s blossoming love for Japanese design in the home

Published

on

The design has a red lid and a narrow neck which widens to form a base of sturdy hips. When poured, the contents flow in a singular, uninterrupted stream.

The Kikkoman bottle hasn’t changed since it was designed in 1961 by Kenji Ekuan for the world’s largest soy sauce producer.

Simplicity has made it ubiquitous. And crucially, it works — think of wrestling with glass Heinz ketchup bottles or constantly wiping lids on plastic iterations. Likely, Kikkoman’s bottle is the reason we’re so familiar with soy sauce.

Serene: A contemporary Japanese-style sitting room. The country's influence can be seen most clearly in the clean, elegant and functional everyday products we use in our homes

Serene: A contemporary Japanese-style sitting room. The country’s influence can be seen most clearly in the clean, elegant and functional everyday products we use in our homes

In the introduction to her book Japanese Design Since 1945 (£35, Thames & Hudson), Naomi Pollock writes: ‘In Japan, good design is everywhere. But most of all, it’s in the home.’

The trend for Japanese-inspired, UK-based brands, such as Wagamama, Superdry and Yo! Sushi, is well worn, but the country’s influence is likely seen most clearly in the clean, elegant and functional everyday products we use in our homes.

Inspired idea 

The Japanese approach to design is summed up well by a single product – Muji’s right angle sock (from £3.50, muji.eu). 

As the foot is perpendicular to the leg, the sock should follow the shape of the body: design centres on the user rather than the designer.

The word ‘Muji’ translates as ‘without brand’ and the company invites (often renowned) designers to create reasonably priced products anonymously. 

Design guru Naoto Fukasawa is an adviser to Muji, and his wall-mounted CD player for the company (£149) is in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Naoto Fukasawa's butterfly-inspired Grande Papilio Swivel Lounge Chair (£2,869, chaplins.co.uk)

Naoto Fukasawa’s butterfly-inspired Grande Papilio Swivel Lounge Chair (£2,869, chaplins.co.uk)

In the UK, Chaplins stocks a large selection of products from Japan, including some from the designer.

‘The idea is to create designs that appear to have been sculpted by the elements,’ says Ludovic Aublanc, creative director at Chaplins. ‘It’s the kind of minimalism that brims with emotion, that makes you grateful and happy to come home.’

The company stocks Fukasawa’s butterfly-inspired Papilio range – chairs and sofas sporting headset ‘wings’ to protect the user’s head (Grande Papilio Swivel Lounge Chair, £2,869, chaplins.co.uk).

Simple seating

Japanese designers have described the chair as the centre of design and an extension of the human form. It follows that these things should be easy on both the body and the eye.

Habitat’s Mori charcoal two-seater sofa (£716, habitat.co.uk) certainly fits the bill. It is compact, unfussy and elegant with its plush curved armrests and contrasting thin, wooden legs.

Simple unfinished woodwork is a key part of design in Japan, like the solid oak dining chairs from Oak Furnitureland (£140, oakfurnitureland.com) which would pair well with the Japanese oak Castor Table by Karimoku New Standard (£1,169, nest.co.uk).

Clutter free

Last year, decluttering guru Marie Kondo took the world by storm with her hit Netflix show. The programme has been talked of plenty, but we’re perhaps unaware of how key these principles are to Japanese design.

A large part of the focus on user-friendly products comes down to space. As ever, it’s important for Muji, with its storage bed (from £299) which has spacious drawers to banish clutter. Loaf has the Woody storage bed (from £995, loaf.com).

Simple boxy shelving units such as the Ikea Kallax range (from £15, ikea.com) are practical, but can also be used for displaying plants, books and records.

Or, for a modern twist, try the John Lewis Dice shelving unit bookcase (£450, johnlewis.com). The company also stocks Japanese brand Like-it’s clear storage products (from £8).

Crockery that rocks 

Japanese pottery has long been a feature of our homes, and a collection by John Lewis is a nod to this. Inspired by woodblock prints, the range includes glassware, plates, mugs and even Christmas decorations. 

It’s all delicate, bright patterns and the infuser mugs by Tokyo Design Studio (from £25) are a highlight.

But elegant motifs are only part of the story. The earthy charcoals, whites and beiges of Hasami Porcelain (hasami-porcelain.com) are a calming, elegant addition to any kitchen.

Hasami teapots start from £65 and mugs from £22 (la-gent.com) – also pick up a copy of Okakura Kakuzo’s The Book Of Tea, written in 1906, an insight into the Japanese ritual of tea-making. Elsewhere, an Oriental Hobnail tea set costs from £22.98 (wayfair.co.uk).

For eating, Denby Pottery has Japanese-inspired bowls from £58 for four in grey and white (denbypottery.com).

Finally, being able to serve Japan’s other favourite drink – the highball – is a must. Try LSA’s Mia Highball glasses (£27 for four, lsa-international.com) or, for something cheaper, a set of six Duralex Prisme highballs is £11.99 at rinkit.com.

Then grab a bottle of Akashi whisky (£28.50, waitrosecellar.com), add ice, stir clockwise 13 times, add soda water, stir again and appreciate another example of elegance and simplicity in Japanese design.

What your home really needs is… a Christmas throw

At this time of year, people fall into two groups: those who believe more is more, with bright lights and decorations aplenty; and others who keep things simple, with a few holly sprigs and a carefully adorned tree.

Yuletide luxury: You could use this Alpaca Fair Isle Throw, £99.50, all year round

Yuletide luxury: You could use this Alpaca Fair Isle Throw, £99.50, all year round

But whether you’re a maximalist or a minimalist, your home will need a Christmas throw because someone in your festive bubble is bound to complain about being cold.

If glitter is your thing, you’ll like the fleece star throw from Marks & Spencer (£25, marksand spencer.com). 

Or snuggle up under Dunelm’s red cable-knit design with a fleecey inside (£60, dunelm.com).

For something more fun, Redbubble has one that reads: ‘This is my Hallmark Christmas movie watching blanket’ (£34.73, redbubble.com).

Going low-key? How about a white and grey reindeer pattern with red pompoms (£40, barkerand stonehouse.com)? 

Or this Alpaca Fair Isle Throw , £99.50, notonthe highstreet.com), which you could use all year round.

Anne Ashworth 

Source link

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Extending grace period on checks in North would be ‘problematic’ – Taoiseach

Published

on

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said it will be “very problematic” if the UK again extends unilaterally the grace period for Northern Ireland Protocol checks.

But speaking on the Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme on Sky News, Mr Martin also insisted a breakthrough between the EU and UK was still possible “if there’s a will there on both sides”.

His comments came after Boris Johnson escalated his dispute with the European Union by warning he will do whatever it takes to keep goods flowing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Following talks with the EU’s key figures on Saturday, the British prime minister said he would not hesitate to take unilateral action to protect the position of Northern Ireland in the increasingly bitter row over post-Brexit trading arrangements.

The row – dubbed the “sausage war” – could mean chilled meats will not be shipped across the Irish Sea because of EU rules after the end of the month.

The UK is considering extending the current grace period without the consent of Brussels to ensure that sausages and mince can continue to reach Northern Ireland’s shops.

But Mr Martin told Sky News that the “channels do exist to get this resolved”.

He added: “In particular, the Sefcovic/Frost process should be fully explored and optimised to get an agreement and I think the prospects, in my view, if there’s a will there on both sides, and there is a will there from the European Union side I know that, I detect from the British prime minister Boris Johnson that the British government is anxious to get a resolution of this, so I think we should work at it.”

Mr Martin said he believed an SPS agreement (on plant and animal health measures) could remove 80 per cent of protocol checks.

When asked about the possibility of the UK unilaterally extending the grace period for checks, Mr Martin said: “I think it will be very problematic because it’s not about sausages per se, it really is about the fact that an agreement had been entered into, not too long ago, signed off by the British government with the European Union.

“If there’s consistent, unilateral deviation from that agreement, that clearly undermines the broader relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, which is in nobody’s interest and therefore that’s why the UK with the EU have to work very hard now in the coming weeks.

“I know the European Union are anxious to resolve this and want to resolve it but they need to see a similar reciprocity from the UK side.”

When asked if the protocol is undermining Northern Ireland’s place within the UK, Mr Martin said: “We’ve never seen the Protocol as a constitutional issue, it doesn’t in any way interfere with the constitutional status of Northern Ireland as defined and articulated in the Good Friday [Belfast] Agreement.

“We’re very clear from the Irish Government perspective on that, but we do believe in seamless trade on the island of Ireland, it makes sense. We believe in seamless trade insofar as we possibly can between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.”

‘A bit of respect’

British foreign secretary Dominic Raab accused EU leaders of trying to undermine the status of Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom.

After talks at the G7 summit in Cornwall between Boris Johnson and key EU figures failed to achieve a breakthrough in the dispute over the implementation of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement in Northern Ireland, Mr Raab said the EU was showing a lack of respect.

“What we cannot have is the continuing disruption of trade and effectively try to change the status of Northern Ireland, contrary to the consent and wishes of the people, which is not just contrary to the Northern Ireland Protocol but also to the Belfast Agreement,” he told Mr Phillips on Sky News.

“We have serially seen senior EU figures talk about Northern Ireland as if it was some kind of different country to the UK. It is not only offensive, it has real-world effects on the communities in Northern Ireland, creates great concern, great consternation.

“Could you imagine if we talked about Catalonia, the Flemish part of Belgium, one of the lander in Germany, northern Italy, Corsica in France as different countries. We need a bit of respect here.– PA

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!