This week we thought we would take a moment to reflect on what questions our customers ask us about ALL the aspects of building a granny annexe in the back garden.
Contrary to popular belief, granny 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 by renting a property, and this can provide the perfect opportunity to keep a much bigger percentage of what you earn so that saving becomes easier.
Another growing sector in the granny annexe market are 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 granny 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.”
1. Do You Charge For A Site Visit Or Consultation?
No. They are free and you can book one by clicking here.
We understand that you need someone to talk to face to face in a very relaxed and non-pressured way which is why Diane, Sean or myself carry out the on site consultations ourselves.
We cover all the aspects of the planning permission process and the construction part of things, and we can help you with all the questions about the interior design options that we have available.
Our customers can see how passionate we are 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.
2. What Can I Expect When I Request An On-Site Consultation?
You can expect a very informal, relaxed visit where we will be 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 granny 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. (The first 15 metres is free of charge, each additional metre run is charged per linear metre to include materials and labour.
In general the longer the distance to the granny annexe the more connections will cost.
In some cases you may need a septic tank rather than main sewerage connections depending on the distance of the proposed annexe to the house.
4. Do I Need Planning Permission & Is That Something You Do?
Yes you will need planning permission and yes it is something we offer on your behalf, it’s all part of the service.
There are no guarantees, but our success rate is extremely high.
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 in their eyes as a dwelling if someone is going to live in it even though it is in fact an annexe not a dwelling.
We have successfully built annexes and homes in :-
- North Wales
- West Midlands
- St Albans
- Tunbridge Wells
- Staffordand 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 can help you prepare 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 (like most UK houses) and 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), and the look of a bungalow in your garden.
6. What About The Roof?
We use either light weight tiles (available in a variety of colours and styles) on pitched roofs, or EDPM roofing for flat roof granny annexes. Whichever you choose you can look forward to a manufacturers guarantee of in excess of 30 years.
7. And The Windows & Doors?
We offer “A” rated PVCu double glazed windows and doors in white as standard. You can choose to upgrade to a choice of colours such as dark grey or woodgrain (depending on the style of the annexe). Bi-fold doors are always aluminium as PVCu bi-fold doors are problematic!
8. What’s Included In The Kitchen?
We build annexes that are similar in style and finish 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 with creams and oaks still 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.
8a. What Appliances Do We Supply & Install?
Our standard appliances include:-
- A ceramic or induction hob & extractor fan
- A built-in single oven
- Fridge / Freezer & Dishwasher
We supply energy rated 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. We can also supply double ovens & microwaves at your request.
8b. 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, extra charges apply.
8c. Upgrades You May Want To Consider
You can also request a double oven, microwave, wine coolers, washer / dryer or washing machine and tumble dryer.
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.
*The electrical supply to your annexe is directly from the mains house & therefore needs to be sufficient for any additional appliances.
9. What’s Included In The Bathroom?
Our standard bathroom is a shower room, with vanity sink and back to the wall toilet.
We can supply & install adaptations for elderly care.
We also have a variety of shower wall colours to choose from to complete the look.
10. Do You Decorate The Annexe?
Yes. We include painting and decorating in the quoted price. Our standard finish is white ceilings, woodwork and doors and tough finish matt paint to the walls from the Dulux Naturals collection. We can accommodate personal choices for a small additional cost.
11. What About Flooring?
We supply laminate flooring in a choice of colours that we lay throughout the granny annexe for you. We use vinyl click flooring in the bathroom. 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 at this time.
12. What Foundations Do You Use?
We have used concrete pad foundations for years and have successfully built buildings as large as 120 square metres as well 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 have steps to any doors as standard as part of the service.
13. How Long Do Annexes Take To Build On Site?
As all annexes are individual, there is no catch all that they can all run to however as a general guide a standard annexe will take between 7 & 14 weeks to build.
Variables include winter months, deliveries, length & complexity of service runs, and the final specification of the annexe itself.
14. How Do I Maintain Cedar Cladding?
If you choose natural British red cedar cladding we recommend two coats of OSMO clear protection for your granny annexe. You will need to reapply and maintain this every 3-5 years depending on the location of the annexe.
Our standard finish is the Marley Cedral Cladding finish which is a fire rated cement based cladding which is extremely low maintenance and durable.
15. How Much Is A 2 Bedroom Annexe?
Two bedroom annexes start at just under £120,000 complete. We offer a wide range of floor plans, sizes & specifications to choose from that suits most budgets and gardens.
16. Will An Annexe Add Value To My Home?
A customer in Essex saw her house rise by over £90,000 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).
It will depend on the location and style of the main house too, of course.
17. What About Heating & Lighting?
We use SMART 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.
Summary (Pin me for later …)
- Our turn-key annexes provide you with everything you need to live in a well insulated modern style granny annexe home at the bottom of the garden.
- We carry out all site consultations ourselves and we don’t charge for the appointment.
- Annexes will add almost always add value and future sale appeal 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.
- 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 !
Until then, all the best!