There are many compelling reasons as to why people repurpose or construct outbuildings for residential purposes. In order to start this process, you have to be equipped with the facts as, unfortunately, it is not as simple as building something on your land and living in it or renting it out externally. This post details the steps involved in developing an outbuilding for residential use so that you have all the information you might need in one handy guide.
An outbuilding is any structure built on the land of a main property. Outbuildings are usually sheds, garages, and summer houses in common residential areas; however, they can also be smaller houses, cabins and barns. What you build will dictate which channels you need to go through, as there are more requirements as the size of the potential building increases.
Why You Would Develop One for Residential Use
Several factors come into play here. The most common reason for building or repurposing an outbuilding so it is fit for inhabiting is to rent it out to vacation goers. This is a steady source of income, especially during peak seasons in popular holiday areas. The second reason is to provide an independent living space for either a senior family member or a junior family member. Lastly, an outbuilding, if substantial enough, may also be intended for residential renting reasons, with a long-term tenant in mind. Of course, you can’t do this with a shed type of structure – it has to be bigger and more suited to human dwelling conditions.
Arguably the most important consideration is the impact on the wildlife around the development site. With smaller structures like sheds, this is less impactful; however, anything intended for residential purposes has to take the biodiversity into account. So, how do you do this? You have multiple options if you are building a new structure; for example, you can try and limit the amount of destruction caused by construction processes in order to preserve established, pre-existing habitats. Make sure you know which species are protected by law so that you can act accordingly. You can incorporate a bee garden to promote and support local bee populations, something that is highly recommended owing to their depleting numbers.
If the building is already up and it is your plan to redecorate and renovate, then you might need to conduct certain surveys to ascertain the necessary procedures. Bat Surveys are a bat surveying company that provide an assessment on potential bat issues which may throw a spanner in the works of any development plans. They provide quick survey options with a same day return on results in order to move your project forward. Bats are a common occurrence in any household and outbuildings too, and they are protected by law, therefore, professional input may be required if you suspect their presence. Disturbing roosting bats is illegal, and you will certainly face penalties if you do so without the proper assessments in place.
Planning Permission Considerations
Another thing you may come up against are planning permission considerations. This will entirely depend on the size of the structure that you have in mind. If it is something small enough, specifically under four metres high, then you will not have to apply for permission from the local council to go ahead with your build. However, anything bigger than this will need a legal permission slip so that is deemed viable and in keeping with the local area. This means that, for residential purposes, you will definitely need to get planning permission approved.
Things more likely to get your application accepted are:
If the proposed outbuilding fits in with local aesthetic. This means that it has to look the part and match the local vibe. Planning permission is not always rejected on this front and every case is reviewed on individual merit. However, it helps if there is a theme with the main house and sometimes even the surrounding properties too.
If the proposed outbuilding will be built or revamped with the environment in mind. This includes the impact of the biodiversity of the area and ensuring the biodiversity net gain exceeds that to which it was at the start of the project. It is also whether or not solar panels will be used, what type of materials will be used for construction and how this will all affect local species. Permanent solar panel fixtures or wind turbines require planning permission too as they are imposing structures.
If the proposed outbuilding is taller than the main house, you will not stand a chance of getting this approved. The structure itself cannot be more imposing than the main event regardless of purpose, and plans should reflect this. Chances are, if you are developing for residential reasons, your structure may exceed the four meter loophole.
How to Heat an Outbuilding Efficiently
After having secured your planning permission, you get to move onto the construction part of the project. Part of this step is ensuring that you efficiently heat your outbuilding. You can do things such as insulation installation which will make the structure much easier to heat and retain heat during the colder seasons. There is little point in installing a burner or some kind; despite how novel these features may seem, their effect on the wider world is detrimental and sustainable heating options can be installed in their place, such as solar energy. Smaller tricks include things like a heavy-duty door and double-glazed windows which all help to deter draughts and cold fronts.
If you have an outbuilding, or are thinking about installing one on your property, it is vital to get the process and the planning parts tied up tightly. That way there will be no space for external interference halfway through the process. Residential outbuildings can provide financial security in the long-term while also being an exciting project to have in motion.