Extend the usability of a garden office with a kitchenette or shower room
Many garden office buyers are creating spaces that are more than just office space and incorporating kitchen, toilet and shower room facilities. They do this for both the convenience today and to extend the future usability of the building.
This is a very sensible move if your budget allows. Because designing a garden office with kitchen, toilet & shower room facilities is investing in the future. For instance, future expansion of your business where you may have staff working with you and these facilities separate work and home zones. Adding facilities also futureproof the building allowing the space to be used for something else should your situation change, or you sell your house.
Adding kitchen, toilet and shower room facilities to a garden office offers convenience today and extends the future usability of the building.
Speak to a bespoke garden office designer
Your requirements for a shower room or kitchen area will be specific to you. How easy it is to tap into the mains supply of water and sewerage will depend on your site, so it's not really feasible to buy a standard off the shelf design, with these facilities.
Your best bet is to talk to a bespoke garden office designer, most of whom will have at least one example of a garden office with kitchen, toilet or shower room facilities in their portfolio.
The designer will visit you on-site and survey the garden extensively. If you have any plans that show where the water and sewerage run this would be very useful to have at the meeting. The designer will then discuss with you what you want from such facilities and explain your options.
House quality fittings
As we have said, garden offices are built using the same materials and techniques as houses. Kitchenettes and shower rooms are no different, the units and sanitary ware are the same as you might use in your home.
These items will be fitted and plumbed into the mains water supply, and sewerage system so should work just as they do in your house. Depending on how far any waste has to travel, pumps may be used to force waste away from the garden office and into the sewerage system of the main house.
In some cases, the cost of connecting the facilities to the mains supply is prohibitive, and there are options for incorporating toilets etc. without connecting to the mains.
Some suppliers offer facilities that are commonly used in caravans such as chemical toilets which you empty and sinks that runoff water bottles. These are certainly an option but will require ongoing work.
Another option, that we are seeing used more and more, is an eco-toilet. Often called dry toilets or composting toilets, they work by either separating and composting waste which then can be spread on your garden or by incinerating waste which can again be spread on the garden.
Eco toilets look very similar to regular toilets and don't give off smells so are a viable option and have been used in many garden office designs.
Check the specification when comparing quotes
The groundworks will be the most expensive part when adding a kitchen or shower room to a garden office design. You could easily be looking at a few thousand pounds just for these connections. For that reason, it is essential to read the specification and quotes you are given.
It is not unusual for some garden office companies to offer to create the partition walls for the shower room and to fit the sanitaryware, but ask you to organise the groundworks separately. This could make the project seem very affordable, but leave you with a significant hidden cost.
When comparing quotes, if one company seems significantly cheaper than another, it could well be because they do not include the groundworks and the connections to the mains supplies.
The plumbing needs to comply with Building Regulations
While in many cases, a garden office can be built without complying with Building Regulations. Any plumbing for a shower room and kitchen will need to be fully compliant. An experienced garden office designer will be fully au fait with the requirements and will organise the checks from your local Building Control officer throughout the build, and will gain the final certification for you. This certificate will be necessary when you come to sell your house.