The only way this ‘garden room’ is like a shed is in the planning permission, according to two Sheffield businessmen who are building a company selling them.
The EcoSuite products – which cost up to £10,000 – are insulated and weatherproof – unlike your average garden shack – but neither need planning permission.
RoomsOut was established by Jeremy Hogan of Whirlow and Mark Cornwall of Holmesfield and they say an increase in sales and enquiries coincides with a rise in people working from home.
They quote figures from the TUC which show 3.8m people avoiding the commute in 2011 thanks largely to advances in technology.
Jeremy said: “It’s deemed a temporary structure and can be built in a day, provided a base has been installed first. It’s as simple as buying a shed.”
Owners avoid paying business rates on premises and travelling, parking and potentially clothing costs.
However, home insurance premiums are likely to be higher.
At the same time they aren’t sacrificing a room in their house or paying thousands for an extension and they can get away from noise or distractions – and still return ‘home’ for lunch.
The other big advantage, says Jeremy, is people working when they want.
A busy mum who has to do the school run twice a day might be able to log in and work for a call centre for a few hours in between.
He said: “This notion of being in the office all day is increasingly outdated.”
The garden rooms were designed by Mark Cornwall who has an insulation business.
He took the plans to a manufacturer in Nottingham which struck a deal with Jeremy and Mark to act as sole agents to sell them nationwide.
Most are used as offices, but they’ve also heard from people who want to use them as a bunting factory, pilates studio, beauty salon and music studio.