When pricing out your garden office project, don't forget the electrical connection. It is by far the most common extra cost involved when buying a garden office. It is a significant cost too, so don't overlook it or you are in for a nasty surprise!
Unless you commission your office on a turnkey basis, you should expect to have to organise and pay for the electrical connection to the mains supply, in addition to the building.
Almost all buildings sold as garden offices, come pre-wired with electrical sockets and lighting, but once built in your garden, this needs to be connected to the mains supply and tested.
Garden offices come pre-wired with sockets and lights as standard. Many companies allow you to tweak the electrical specification by adding extra power points or choosing to add telephone or data points.
Connecting a garden office's electrics needs to be done by a Certified Electrician
Not many suppliers send an electrician to site, so this is why they ask you to organize a local electrician.
Connecting the office's electrics to the mains supply needs to be done by a qualified electrician to current Building Regulation standards. Once the connection has been made, it needs to be safety tested.
What's involved in connecting a garden office's electrics to the mains?
Garden offices are normally pre-wired in the factory, with sockets and lights and a consumer unit. Once the building is assembled on site this system is ready to be connected to the mains supply.
As we mentioned above this needs to be done by a Certified Electrician so that the work complies with Building Regulations.
A trench is dug and the armoured cable that is used to connect the office's electrics to the supply in your house is buried.
An armoured cable will carry the electrical supply from the main fuse box of your house to the garden office. This heavy-duty cable needs to be buried underground and protected so that nobody accidentally digs through it! Armoured cables are buried deeply, they often then have a layer of stone and a marker tape buried above them so that anyone digging gets warning before they hit the cable itself.
The trench is then backfilled and grass can be re-sown. In about six weeks you'd never know a trench had been dug!
Some companies will suggest pinning the cable to a fence. A cheaper option but not something you should cut corners on.
This cable is connected to the consumer unit in the garden office. Coming through the wall, depending on where the consumer unit is fitted.
The electrician will also add an earth rod so that the building is fully earthed.
Once the cabling has been connected at both ends the electrician will carry out a number of tests on the electrical circuits.
Unless your supplier is undertaking the electrical hook up as part of your price, you should make provision for this service when setting your budget.
Its difficult to advise on the costs involved because prices depend on how far away from the main house the garden office is sited, and thus how much-armoured cable is needed. Also, it depends if any work is needed to update your existing fuse board to accommodate the new circuit.
As a guesstimate, you should budget between £850 and £1,250 for this aspect of the project.
It's not only a garden offices electrics that need connecting
As you are buying a garden office you are probably choosing a model which includes data cabling for telephones, broadband and television. These cables will also need to be connected to the mains supply. Often an electrician will connect these services for you.
Cabling for such data cables can be buried in the same trench as the electrics, but you should keep them separate from the electrical supply in their own conduit so there is no electrical interference.
Think about future proofing your communication channels by leaving space in your data cabling conduit for cables to be added in the future and ask your supplier/electrician to add a draw wire so that cables can be easily added in the future.