Icon Surveyors will consider whether a building owner who wants to build a Garden Office needs to serve a Party Wall Notice?
In the simplest of terms,
It depends on whether the office structure falls within the ambit of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. If the office structure falls under section 1 of the Act, whereby the building or structure is to be built on any part of the line of junction of any neighbouring property, or indeed if the construction of the office building requires excavation works under section 6 of the Act, the Act is going to be engaged and a Party Wall Notice under the relevant section will have to be served.
If, however, on the other hand, the proposed structure is less than 2.5 meters high and only used occasionally rather than as a full-time workspace, it may fall under the scope of a Permitted Development Right. That is to say, if the proposed office is going to be housed in a garden shed, or, a building it does not require foundations and is not situated near a boundary line or wall you may not need to apply for planning permission.
‘Permitted Development Rights’ allow a building owner to make certain changes without the need to apply for planning permission. This is because Permitted Development Rights derive from general planning permissions that have been granted by parliament as opposed to the local councils. Such rights enable an occupier with a long lease or a homeowner to make certain changes to the permitted use of a building and/or land, for example, using a part of residential premises as an office. They may also permit certain changes to the land/structure of the building for example erecting a shed in the garden or adding a conservatory to an existing structure.
The area of planning permissions can sometimes be very tricky. For this reason, Icon Surveyors would always advise anyone proposing to build a garden office to seek guidance from their local council or an architect prior to the commencement of any change of use of a building or garden, or indeed the erection of any structure intended to be used as an office.
Icon Surveyors are happy to provide free consultation on party wall matters to any building or adjoining owners who may be affected by the subject matter raised in this blog.