Answered: 17 Key Questions Our Customers Ask About Annexes

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This week we thought we would take a moment to reflect on what questions our customers ask us about ALL the aspects of building an annexe in the garden.

Contrary to popular belief, annexes are NOT always for elderly relatives, we have built annexes for customers ranging from 18 to 90 years old.

We frequently find that young people and young couples are using annexes as a way to save up the deposit required for buying their first home. By building an annexe in the garden they gain independence but don’t have to worry about wasting money on renting a property and this can provide the perfect opportunity to keep a much bigger percentage of what you earn so that saving becomes easy).

Another growing sector in the annexe market is the people who find themselves single again after a divorce and the last thing they want to do is to move back in with Mum and Dad!

It is also extremely difficult to secure a mortgage as a single person and with less and less equity in properties these days rebuilding from the ground up is tough.

So now that the market place has moved away from a Scandinavian log cabin in the garden to a much more sophisticated annexe, we are proud to say we are one of the most sought after companies in the niche who offer turn-key annexes that would love to call “home.”

Feature Article: Answered: 17 Key Questions Our Customers Ask About Annexes

1. Do You Charge For A Site Visit Or Consultation?

No we understand that you need someone to talk to face to face in a very relaxed and non-pressured way which is why Diane and myself team up and carry out the consultations ourselves.

We own the company and therefore fully expect to be the best at representing what we do. As a duo we can cover all the aspects of the planning permission process and the construction part (that’s what I’m best at) and Diane can help you with all the questions about the interior design options that we have available.

It’s a combination that really is a win / win / win.

Our customers know can see we are passionate about what we do and ultimately they know their loved ones are being cared for in the best way possible. It’s a win / win situation.

Dee Willis testimonial

2. What Can I Expect When I Request A Site Consultation?

You can expect a very informal, relaxed visit where we will e on hand to answer any concerns or question you have about any aspect of the build, what’s included, what to expect and of course whether we think obtaining planning permission will be successful.

(We will tell you if we don’t think it will be)

3. Do You Connect The Services?

Sometimes the annexe is extremely close to the main house so connecting to existing services is relatively straight forward and we would include connections to water, sewerage and electrics within the quoted price.

If the annexe is a considerable way down the garden you would need to obtain local quotations for the work required as this may need specialised equipment. In general the longer the distance the more connections will cost.

4. Do I Need Planning Permission & Is That Something You Do?

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Yes you will need planning permission and yes it is something we offer on your behalf, it’s all part of the service.

Some Local Planning Authorities think of annexes (especially mobile home annexes) as temporary buildings and “ancillary accommodation to the main house” others don’t!

There seems to be one set of planning laws that are completely open to the interpretation of each individual Local Planning Authority and even each individual planning officer at the LPA. (Local Planning Authority).

They are all different and even neighbouring LPA’s may be completely different, however certain criteria they all seem to agree on:-

  • Dependent relatives (a need).
  • For family member use only.
  • Cannot be sold separately to the main house, hence an annexe.
  • The overall size should be fairly modest (one or two bedrooms at most).
  •  It is classed as a dwelling if someone is going to live in it.

We have successfully built annexes and homes in :-

  • Oxfordshire
  • Essex
  • Kent
  • Merseyside
  • Cumbria
  • Herefordshire
  • Worcestershire
  • Shropshire
  • Somerset
  • Hampshire
  • Gloucestershire
  • North Wales
  • Powys
  • West Midlands
  • Warwickshire
  • Bedfordshire
  • Scotland
  • and more …

Local planning authorities are sometimes a bit of a postcode lottery but the approach has to be right in the first instance and preferably by a company (such as ourselves) to stand the best chance of being successful.

One of the most valuable elements of your planning application is the design and access statement. This is a statement that we prepare on your behalf when we undertake the Planning Application part of your proposed annexe.

It is a “storyboard” tailored your specific situation that provides your LPA with a total overview of the annexe, it’s size, use, design and construction that will help them to determine quickly whether the application is straight forward or not.

In most cases annexes are straight forward and refusal thankfully is rare. The LPA’s are becoming increasingly aware that annexes for dependent relatives, young. middle-aged or elderly is fast becoming a necessity in modern-day life when the price of houses seems to be ever-increasing and not accessible to all.

5. How Are The Annexes Constructed? Will They Last?

We would expect our annexes to last for at least 50 years with regular maintenance, all our buildings are timber-frame buildings that have been designed with structural calculations to ensure they are built to last.

The end result is a building that has the feel of a modern apartment (not a typical mobile or park home), this is a video made by one of our lovely customers that shows how one of our built-on site annexes is constructed :-

 

6. What About The Roof?

We use either roof shingles (available in red, dark grey or green), fibre glass for flat roofs or EDPM roofing. Whichever you choose you can look forward to a manufacturers guarantee of 25 years.

7. And The Windows & Doors?

We offer UPVC double glazed windows and doors in either white or a choice of colours such as dark grey or brown (depending on the style of the annexe). Bi-fold doors are always aluminium as UPVC bi-fold doors are problematic!

8. What’s Included In The Kitchen?

 

 

We build annexes that are similar in finish and style to a new home, complete with modern or traditional style kitchens (depending on the customer’s preference at our initial visit and consultation).

We usually find it about a 50/50 split between traditional and contemporary styles and creams and oaks are still the favourites.

With our bespoke annexes we can also plan the floor plan to accommodate a separate kitchen if desired or you can opt for the popular open plan living styles that we have come to expect in new home design right now.

Self-building even at this level allows you to start with a floor plan and work from there, incorporating elements that suit you or the family members that will be living in the new annexe.

What Appliances Do We Supply & Install?

Our standard appliances include:-

An integrated fridge/freezer or equivalent under counter ones

A ceramic hob & extractor fan

A built-in single oven 

A built-in dishwasher or microwave

We use named appliances available via our trade suppliers and you can of course choose an upgrade of your choice and simply pay the difference if you want to.

One of the most popular finishes is the glossy square edge laminate with that lovely little bit of sparkle in like the one on the superb CLL Mini Cedar Lodge pictured above.

As with appliances, we will work with you if you wish to upgrade the worktop and simply pay the difference.

Sinks & Taps

Most of our annexes are purpose-built for elderly relatives and therefore taps need to be practical as well as functional but you can choose the style you like from our range just as with the kitchen cabinets.

Coloured sinks are also available and in some cases there would be no extra charge depending on the style and finish you choose.

Upgrades You May Want To Consider

The most popular appliance upgrade in the last few years has been a built-in wine cooler. You can also request a double oven or even a pop up extractor fan (that comes out of the worktop behind your hob).

We can also accommodate existing appliances in the design (although most people go all new) and if you have a favourite brand in mind, we can supply & fit it for minimal extra cost.

All in all we know from what our customers tell us that we offer one of the best and widest choices available for kitchens in our annexes as standard.

9. What’s Included In The Bathroom?

Like the kitchens in our annexe we supply & install everything from walk in baths to wet room sif required, these annexes are as bespoke as Grand Designs on a smaller scale. Due to our ability to buy everything with trade prices you’ll find your budget goes a long way in an annexe compared to retail prices!

You can choose shower wall or tiles for the shower and we supply vanity units and modern sinks, taps and fittings to make sure you feel as though you are moving into a new home.

10. Do You Decorate The Annexe?

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Yes. We include painting and decorating in the quoted price and we are more than happy to use paint colours of your choice, the only consideration is that they must be Dulux colours because that’s where we buy our paint.

11. What About Flooring?

We supply laminate flooring in a choice of colours that we lay throughout the annexe for you. If you prefer to have carpet in the bedrooms we’ll leave it ready for a carpet fitter of your choice as it’s not something we can offer.

12. What Foundations Do You Use?

We have used the brilliant swiftfoundations.co.uk  for years and have successfully built buildings as large as 120 square metres aswell as smaller annexes, studios and log cabins.

Not only do they save you potentially thousand’s of pounds when compared to a traditional concrete base, they are easily positioned on site, are fully adjustable and save on masses of tedious groundwork.

In a recent planning application where trees were an important part of the landscaping and root disturbance was to be avoided, we proposed these type of post foundations as the solution.

The Local Planning Authority agreed that these solved a lot of their issues and planning was granted.

With speed, ease of use and total adaptability, it is also a straight forward and easy to process to use the same system under decking, garden offices and studios and even commercial buildings where required.

All in all a complete win / win when it comes to creating foundations on a budget that won’t break your bank either.

**Your annexe will need decking, a ramp or steps to the front door and living areas using this type of foundation system. If you choose to build a concrete slab instead, you will still need access steps or a ramp up to the front door and living areas. A brick-built annexe built on traditional footings would come under Building Regulations in addition to Planning Permission and would have VAT added, costing you an extra 20%.

13. Will I Need To Upgrade My House Electrics?

Yes. You will need to create a separate metre supply for the annexe. This is a relatively simple job for a qualified electrician and is not something we include in the quoted price.

14. How Do I Maintain The Cedar Cladding?

If you choose natural British red cedar cladding we will include a coat of OSMO clear protection for your annexe. You will need to reapply and maintain this every 3-5 years depending on the location of the annexe.

15. How Much Is A 2 Bedroom Annexe?

Granny Annexes, Guest Lodges, Downsizing, Affordable Housing

Annexes start at around £65,000 for a standard two bedroom annexe, you will find that the cost of a one bedroom annexe does not vary that much in price as it requires just as much work to build a one bedroom annexe as it does a two bedroom one.

4 bedroom annexes are available in the largest size only and would cost around £125,000 to £145,000 depending on the final specification and would be 65 feet long by 22 feet wide (which is HUGE by the way)

16. Will An Annexe Add Value To My Home?

Yes, absolutely.

A customer in Essex saw her house rise by over £80,000 after building a one bedroom annexe in the garden. You will almost certainly get your money back on the price of the house but the real value is that it becomes a very attractive property for multiple family living (which a lot more people are looking for to buy than ever before).

17. What About Heating & Lighting?

We use electric radiators as standard as they are economical to run (these will be included in your quoted price) and we install electrics sockets, switches and lights in all rooms (you can supply a light fitting for us to fit if you choose.) In the bathrooms and kitchens down lights are installed plus extra sockets in the kitchen for appliances.

You can choose to upgrade the finish to chrome from our standard white fittings if you wish and simply pay the difference in cost.

Summary

  1. Our turn-key annexes provide you with everything you need to live in a well insulated modern style annexe home at the bottom of the garden.
  2. We carry out all site consultations ourselves (we don’t employ salesmen) and we don’t charge for the appointment.
  3. Annexes will add value to your existing home and are a popular way to solve several of the housing problems we have in the UK today, whether you are young, elderly or somewhere in between in need of retaining your independence.
  4. Every care is taken to offer you a high specification kitchen and bathroom in your annexe and all annexes come complete ready for you to move in (typically in 10 weeks or less)

As always we look forward to your thoughts and comments below or join in the conversation on our Facebook Page !

Use The Contact Us Page To Email Us With Your Enquiry

And Don’t Forget To Download A Copy Of Our Granny Annexe Brochure For More Ideas & Information (Simply Click The Image Below & Enter Your Email Address & We’ll Send You A Copy)

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To Your Self-Building Success!

Pete Cossie, Contemporary Log Living

About The Author

Diane Cossie

Why@dianecossie? Diane Cossie is a UK based interior design & self-build enthusiast and pioneer for self-building in the UK. We are on a mission to inspire others to dream BIG and self-build their next home and to offer a new choice to the UK consumer (like the rest of the developed Western world) when it comes to their next house move. You can rent, you can buy or you can self-build!

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