Thursday, 15 November 2012

Granny Annexe, Garden Office (news update)

Today the government has released its consultation paper on ammendments proposed to permitted development rights.

This can be found at

I have made comments on

This appears to be good news for families wishing to evelop additional accommodation on their properties and of course those involved in building Garden Offices, Garden Studios and Granny Annexes.

The changes are not yet implemented as the consultation needs to run its course.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Granny Flats and Granny Annexes Breaking News

Breaking News on Granny Flats Granny Annexes and Teenage Accommodation buildings

Hundreds of thousands of families will be offered tax breaks on “granny flats” under plans to ease the housing crisis.

Today in the news is a story that Eric Pickles (Government Communities Secretary) has made a statement about his intentions to make it easier to develop living annexes as part of your own home. This seems to be driven by the economic need to provide more housing. The debate has kicked off big-style and no doubt there will be more to come. Eric Pickles proposal seems to represent a whole lot of common sense and should benefit a lot of families. Councils will no doubt want to protect their revenues and the idea that council tax will not be levied on this type of development may lead to a bit of wrangling!

In any case the debate has started and at least this statement somewhat reflects the trend shown by enquiries and questions received from readers of our main website planning page.

Our current government seems to want planning to be easier. It seems to me that slow planning is a result of fewer applications in recent years! I guess we can say this is human nature at work.

Read more in depth on planning permission and building regulations for Garden Buildings, Garden Offices and Studios at:


Saturday, 26 May 2012

Garden Offices, Studios and Rooms "The Garden Room Guide"

Garden Rooms Garden Offices and Garden Studios Free Information!

The Garden Room Guide keeps cropping up in my conversations with potential clients. Their website is full of content submitted by suppliers of Garden offices, Garden Studios and all types of Garden Rooms here in the UK.

 The Garden Room Guide

A super website with loads of information in one place. Supplier reviews, videos, advice etc. etc. and a downloadable supplier catalogue – (all for free)!

Download Buyers Guides

The editor / publisher “Woody” is not that visible and it puzzles me (and quite a few others) “why is such a resource free access and free for suppliers to use as their own advertising?”

My curiosity reached a peak last week when I had a call from across the pond (USA) enquiring about a suppliers view of this website. My contact was intending to start a similar website covering the USA market. Well - my answer was “I have no idea what the business model is here”. All the information is superbly presented in a professional way and provides a great resource for potential Garden Studio, Garden Office and Garden Room clients here in the UK.

This website commands high rankings and good traffic (one of my SEO tools indicates more than 4000 direct high value keyphrase relevant visitors via Google natural search per month to the homepage alone). Whilst dropping slightly over the winter the Garden Room Guide has returned to traffic growth in our high season. These statistics would indicate that the total serach traffic on the site could be 12000 or more per month making this the most visited Garden Office and Garden Studio web resource in the UK.

There seems to be no commercial reason why “Woody” would do all this work on developing and maintaining this website for free. A good reason for information sites would be to make money via Google Adsense but there are no sponsored adverts. In any case practically every serious supplier in our market provides the content free (for obvious commercial reasons).

My answer to the enquiry from the USA was simply “I don’t know why Woody is doing this”. Maybe it is just a hobby and he really loves Garden Rooms!

I guess it is not doing any harm to our market or what’s more important interfering with competition that is always in the interests of the consumer.

Take a look  (if you have not already seen it) but don’t forget to read and view our entries under the Aarco label.

Recently we decided to use the more appropriate name of Garden Structures Ltd. But have not changed this on the garden room guide as Aarco is listed near the top of alphabetical lists of course.

I don’t want to finish this post without mentioning a conventional blog with masses of information for shedworkers and Garden Office workers in the UK. Whilst I am promoting information sources I guess I should mention Judy at

Apologies to anyone in our business providing valuable information for the Garden Office, Garden Studio and Garden Rooms market here in the UK.

We are currently preparing to install what I think is the most original Garden Room yet in North Wales. More info soon!

Any comments on this post are welcome from competitors, clients or anyone interested of course! And don't forget to check out our own website where you can find loads more info and all the info on planning permission you need.


Friday, 13 April 2012

Garden office and Garden Studio Roofing Systems

Roofing Systems for Garden Offices and Garden Studios

By Richard Grace - April 2012-04-12   Garden Offices and Studios

As promised here is my article on Garden Building Roofing and common materials. I know all this stuff can be a bit boring so I have included a few pics to spice it up a bit!!!! + you have my opinions of course?

Chinese Temple
What a fantastic chinese roof - would love to have done this but can't claim it!

Trends - Flat Roofs and the only product (epdm)

In recent years there has been a trend towards flat roof structures due to the permitted development planning rules brought out in 2008.  This was supposed to make things easier. Read more at

 “If a building is close to your neighbours boundary then the maximum height of the roof is 2.5 metres” Garden offices and studios need full standing room throughout this is not enough to have a pitched roof with anything other than a very shallow slope on the roof. Not so important if you have a big garden of course. Here is an example:

Traditionally flat roofs have been thought of as less reliable, prone to leakage and requiring maintenance every 10 years. This was due to traditional felt cracking, rotting as the heating and cooling process takes its toll. Unfortunately this has given flat roofs on any building a bad reputation.  There are many of us having had this experience seek to avoid them altogether.

A big problem solved completely by the tyre companies
The flat roof problem has been completely solved by the use of rubber membranes (epdm). These membranes withstand the heating and cooling and do not deteriorate. The material is more expensive than felt but is unlikely to increase the job cost as the fitting process is quicker and requires fewer processes.  Epdm is fixed to the roof as one layer with tacky adhesive in the middle and with contact adhesive around the edge. The manufacturers  (mostly the tyre companies) supply cold jointing systems and flashing systems to suit all the usual applications e.g. skylights, odd shaped roofs etc. These “cold” systems bond the material permanently and do not affect its lifespan.

We have used epdm only on flat roofs (a fantastic product) for many years now. Over these years I have taken the opportunity to discuss with many roofing contractors the question “why are you using felt”?  The answer is always the same “they like to work with what they know”. My advice therefore is to steer well clear of traditional built up felt roofing as it has been superceded completely by epdm which in my opinion is a superior product with a no maintenance life in excess of 40 years.

Sedum (a sort of grass) can grow on a flat roof and survive again through a drought!

Pitched Roofs and Hipped Roofs with valleys

Many people would prefer pitched roofs of different styles. These can of course be tiled or clad with sheets. The other advantage is that the vaulted ceiling opens up the possibility of loft or mezzanine space (important when valuable garden space is being occupied).
The permitted development rules allow garden studios and offices to have pitched roofs up to 4m high if the building is 2m from a boundary.

Capillary action (can be a problem)

Water can flow uphill in narrow spaces in opposition to gravity a common phenomenon that most of us learned about in school. We are aware that if a tissue is dipped in water moisture travels upwards. All roof tile manufacturers give minimum overlaps and pitches for which their products will avoid leaks due to capillary action. Generally speaking pitches over 20 degrees are ok with tiles correctly fitted.

The most common materials in use for pitched roof garden studios and offices are:
  • Felt shingles
  • Cedar shingles
  • Slate or tile
  • Roofing sheets steel or bituminised
  • Felt Shingles
Felt Shingles

Felt shingles are a good compromise in that they look like tiles but are quite a lot cheaper. In other countries these shingles are the main roofing material of choice. With a lifespan of 30 years, easy replacement / repair and a good choice of colours our experience is that the product is good and performs well.

These shingles are generally supplied in sheets of three tiles and are overlaid and fixed with nails to form a tiled effect. Bending and attaching single shingles in straight rows make the ridges. Once fitted and exposed to a warm sunny day these shingles bond together forming what is effectively a single strong sheet.

When fitted in the UK in November on windy sites it is best to apply some heat to perform the bonding as some years the first sunny hot day may not come until Easter.

Cedar Shingles

Wooden tiles made from impregnated cedar (which does not rot). A more expensive but very effective roof finish. These shingles are supplied in random sizes and must be fitted carefully to avoid any close joints allowing capillary. They are attached with copper nails to avoid cedar reaction with steel. The ridge is made from the same material supplied in longer V shaped tapered sections. Fitting a cedar shingle roof is a skilled job, which takes more time. As both the product and labour cost are higher you must be prepared to pay more to enjoy the beauty of cedar shingle. Shingle fitted correctly should be good for 30 years. From a personal point of view I would not recommend it for use anywhere near trees that drop sap, as this would spoil the investment.

Slate or tile

A conventional system requiring battens on the roof laid parallel and fixed to the roof structure to hold the slate or tiles. A wide variety of choice and cost. Heavy concrete tiles may have another hidden cost in the strength of the roof structure needed to carry the weight. Calculations may be necessary taking into account pitch and weight distribution.

Most slate and tile is starting to look like this! My opinion cant be expressed in a family friendly language!!!!!

Roofing sheets

Roofing sheets come in a wide variety. To cover this topic in detail would be exhaustive, however I am making the assumption that Garden Offices and studios are most likely to have vaulted ceilings (as mentioned to make use of the space).

The roof is most likely therefore to be an insulated sandwich of internal liner, insulation and external covering. The purpose of the roofing sheets is both cosmetic and of course reliable weatherproofing. It is unlikely anything looking like corrugated tin sheets will meet the aesthetic requirements. Therefore my review is limited to:
  • Ondulene roofing sheets
  • Colourcoat Urban steel sheets (NEW)
  • Kingspan insulated structural roofing panels
Ondulene (black corrugated sheet) is good for workshops and posh sheds but needs more careful attention to eaves detail for Offices and Studios.

Colorcoat Urban

Recently we have completed our training with Tata Steel as approved installers of Colorcoat cladding. We are very impressed with the look and the quality of this product. A 40-year lifespan steel cladding with the look of traditional zinc roofing and lead but without the cost and weight. For those who like this look then we are able to offer a full service. As far as I am aware we are the first company in the Garden Building business to offer this.
I like this product very much - Tata Steel have put in a lot of development time. The system includes all of the right components and the training was very thorough with roofers from all over the UK being very impressed.

Kingspan Insulated Panels

Kingspan structural panels have been available for some time they are a sandwich of steel and insulation. Used extensively in factory and warehouse building offer a good alternative at low cost (if the interior ceiling of steel is acceptable).

Next month I will be covering a case study of an unusual studio with colourcoat roof and 4 skylights a flat roof which slopes in two directions.

For more info visit or phone 01244 670502

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Garden Studio and Garden Office Plumbing

 By Richard Grace Garden Structures Ltd, and
Plumbing is not always on the priority agenda when looking for a Garden Studio. After all, its not far to the kitchen or bathroom in the house. Some however see it as important.  In the hierarchy of needs it figures quite high.
Once you get installed and perhaps concentrating for long periods on projects you will want to make hot drinks, wash the mugs and stay at work. You may have visitors and feel it would be more convenient to conduct the meetings without the need to take them into your home.

When it becomes essential is - in therapy studios used for “hands on” treatment, artist studios and if guests may use the building for overnight stays.

Over the last ten years I have installed plumbing in more than a hundred Garden Buildings and the techniques developed have been proven to work. Many of these installations have been made on a strict budget but all have proved to work well.

Why do I need plumbing?

"Water for making a brew, a toilet for processing it and a waste exit for obvious reasons"

Plumbing (from the Latin “plumbum” (for lead piping!)) means providing water and getting rid of waste. The toxins in lead are thought by some people to have contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire. Strange I should still be alive at sixty and living and writing this in the Roman City of Chester.

Today I am using exclusively plastic plumbing in Garden Buildings, which is a quick, easy and reliable method.  The main things to consider here are:

  1. If water leaks it can cause damage
  2. If water gets colder than zero degrees it freezes and causes disruption
  3. If water is not supplied in a hygienic way it can cause health problems
  4. If waste is not disposed of hygienically it causes a threat to health
Basics of a good Garden Building plumbing system

With the above factors in mind we know that the supply pipe should not be exposed without insulation against freezing. The joints should be reliable and maintenance free, the pipe-work should be robust hygienic and sited in such a way it will not be subject to physical damage. If new pipe-work is used, flushed on installation and connected to a reliable clean source then health problems will be avoided. Waste should leave the environment in appropriate way automatically wherever possible.
  • A sink and worktop
  • Somewhere to wash the dishes, artist brushes or hands of course.
To wash the dishes we all know its better to have some hot water on tap. The installation of an under-sink or over-sink water heater with a 10-15-litre capacity close to the taps is a simple solution to this problem. The cost of running this occurs only when you draw the water off. These devices are cheap and simple to install + space requirement is minimal as they can fit under or over a small sink. Because they do not heat the water on demand but store a small amount in an insulated container the demands on electricity are not high.

Getting rid of the waste from a garden building
  • Conventional Drainage looks like this (notice the digger in the background)
Usually this is thought of as the main cost and the most difficult thing to achieve. It is however - possible to pipe a small amount of uncontaminated waste to a soak-away but a far better solution is to send the waste to the main sewer. This of course opens up the possibility of having a toilet.

It is always best to get the waste out to the main sewer if possible and it usually is. The main concerns of our clients are:

  1. Hygiene
  2. Reliability
  3. Cost
Whilst your main property was no doubt built with exit of waste being at the forefront of the site design this is rarely the case for Garden Studios sometimes situated at some distance from the main property and on many occasions on a different level. Conventional sewers rely on steady flow at a constant fall. Both lack of fall and too much fall represent potential blockage problems and as we all know water will not run uphill.

On many occasions the installation of a conventional drain is simply not an economic prospect.

Sewer Pumping (how to get rid of the waste if conventional drainage is expensive or disruptive)

As far as I am aware we are the only Garden Office and Studio supplier to have developed a low cost solution to this problem. The original idea came from purchasing a sewer pumping system for a rather large Garden Studio near Redhill in Surrey. As the Studio was to be used frequently for overnight stays the facilities needed to include a fully functional bathroom. The main property sewer was some two meters higher and around 75 meters away from the studio site, the options available were:

a)      To build a compliant septic tank system or
b)      To investigate the possibility of sewer pumping

The pumping solution was favoured by the client and on their behalf we purchased a compete (consultant specified) system to fulfil this task and installed it to the suppliers design.

Following this experience I started to think about how "exactly" this system worked and could it be reproduced at less cost and less disruption. Essentially the system involved waste exit to a tank fitted with a macerating pump with float switch and installation of a pipe from tank to waste exit. Shortly afterwards I designed a low cost version of this using macerator, tank, pump and small bore pipe bought over the counter at Screwfix.

Over the years we have installed this system in some 34 sites. The reasons were always the same – this system was less cost and disruption. The systems have now a performance track record of over three hundred operational years without any significant problem and all are still in action to the satisfaction of their owners.

The distances vary from 5 metres to 220 metres and the rise and fall from Studio to drain varies up and down to eight metres with gradients up to 30 degrees.

In one case working efficiently the rise is eight metres and the distance from Studio to drain is 47 metres the exit pipe flows down one metre and then up eight along its run. I have discussed this system with many plumbers and on one occasion and at some length with a drainage consultant.
Whilst everyone says “Richard you should patent this” I really don’t think it is possible because it is so simple.

If you want to see more you can see an explanation on you tube here:

Very latest video! - on Richards sewer pumping system Mk2 added Feb 2014

"The cost of components is dramatically lower than any conventional solution and I have all the data proving it works", "Furthermore there is no issue with Building Control as my system complies"

About toilets

For a low maintenance,efficient and private toilet facility a few things are needed:

  1. An enclosed area of 1.5 square metres at least 800mm wide
  2. A small sink with hot and cold water
  3. A flushing toilet
These items with the addition of the water heater described above are normally referred to as Cloakroom Suites and can be purchased at B&Q including taps etc. for as little as £190 complete ready to connect.

Can I have a shower installed?

Answer – Yes of course. You will need to allocate at least 1.5 square metres of space for this and provide the following:

  1. Enough electricity supply as showers is hungry on power when used. The total cost of the power is very small but the wires need to be thicker to provide the enormous power safely.
  2. A shower cubicle with waterproof enclosure
  3. Waste exit and water input
You can see more about electricity for Garden Studios and Garden Offices on this blog

Installing a kitchen facility

Let’s call this a kitchenette, as it would not be normal for a Garden Office or Garden Studio to be providing much in the way of kitchen facilities. A worktop, sink, drainer and space for a fridge and microwave would normally suffice. For a more complete and purpose made space saving solution we recommend Elfin kitchens. This company are specialist in providing configurable high quality space saving kitchen nets. Straight out of the box they provide all the facilities necessary for preparing family meals. 

Standard precautions I always take on plumbing installations:

  1. Ensure the pipes won’t freeze
  2. Provide service valves (stop taps) in the system at appropriate points
  3. Test the system under full pressure before setting the pressure for normal use
  4. Ensure all components can be accessed for servicing
What’s the cost?

On quotation we specify to a budget. A full system including shower installed and working can be less than £2000. If you want these taps (the same ones our son has in his kitchen) then the cost will be a lot higher! (I took this photo through a posh kitchen suppliers window this morning)

If you want a sink arrangement like his: it will be a lot higher still:

If you want an elfin kitchen then allow £2000 for a good set-up.visit their website at
Next month my blog will feature Garden Office and Garden Studio roofing systems

For more info see  email or call Noella on 01244 679502

Update on 16/12/2013

From Richard - I just completed a job with new design of plumbing system which will pump sewage 9 metres high and up to 100 metres. You can view this on youtube at

Update on 11/12/2015

From Richard - I have been called in to design and install a kitchenette and toilet extension to a log cabin supplied by Dunster House. The cabin is to become a place of work for 5 people. All the system will be the same as others. I need to cut a hole in the back attach an extension with two small rooms install the plumbing and now familiar macerator, tank and pump system. I did survey via client photos and must all work b4 Xmas. I am pretty confident - we will see. It seems no-one local knew how to do it!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Garden Office and Garden Studio Electrical installations

Electricity in Garden Offices and Garden Studios

There are always some questions about the electrical supply to Garden Buildings from our prospective clients.

I am a qualified domestic installer “electrician” with experience of designing and installing more than 500 electrical systems specifically for Garden Structures.

Firstly let me explain what electricity is:

  • It is sub-atomic particles (electrons) flowing in a conductive material.
  • It is invisible it has no smell and it can kill.
  • It forms the backbone of modern industrial society and probably will do for some time to come.
  • It powers our I-phones, the internet and it makes our homes comfortable with heat, light and entertainment.
  • It is used in our factories, vehicles, transport systems and hospitals in every corner of the planet and beyond.

Electricity comes in various strengths measured in volts and various volumes measured in amperes. A high number of volts can hurt a lot and kill if it flows through the heart. A high number of amps are required to create lots of heat or start a heavy motor.

At this point I propose to stop explaining electricity but ohms law can be read at:'s_law .

Noella can still recite it word for word having learned it at school!

Here are two practical examples I hope you find easy to understand:

  1. Homes use 240 volts of alternating current.
  2. Cars are started with 12 volts of direct current.


Electricity travels better down thinner wires using wavy current (AC) at high voltage than straight current (DC) at low voltage. As you are aware our cars are started with 12 volt (DC) batteries but need massive cables connected to the starter motor to turn the engine.
The 12 volt battery system used in cars is safe to touch and travels with the vehicle waiting to start it again for the return journey. The 240 volts used in our homes can provide lots of power down thin wires but needs to be safely installed because a short exposure to 240 volts flowing through your heart can be fatal.


Low voltage with heavy demand requires big wires and high voltage is dangerous.

Electricity in Garden Offices, Garden Studios and Granny Annexes

Our garden buildings Offices, Studios, Garages, Annexes etc need 240v ac to operate all our usual domestic stuff and therefore must be installed “as safe as houses”. For some years now it has been outside the law to use any 240v appliance outside the home i.e. in the garden without the appliance being protected by an RCD. This device (full name: residual current detector), switches off the current flow if any electricity flows to earth e.g. if electrical current flows through your body to ground it will switch off the current before you are badly hurt.

I, like most electricians would prefer these devices to be fitted on every domestic circuit, however 60 % of dwellings in the UK still do not have them. I am pleased to say that EVERY Garden Building installation I have made is fully RCD protected.

Safety is paramount.

Essential elements of a safe electrical system for “Garden Buildings”

  1. None of the conductors should be exposed. This means that mechanical protection must be provided (switch covers and socket plates etc.). Every electrician is responsible for ensuring that the installation passes the “British Standard Finger Test”. It must not be possible to insert anything into any enclosure and touch a live conductor.
  2. Secondly all devices lights, sockets, appliances etc. must be sufficiently protected against any external part becoming live.

Essentials of an efficient “Garden Building” electrical system.
The Garden Office or Garden Studio is normally wired in exactly the same way as a typical home as follows:

There are lighting circuits, power socket circuits and circuits for high demand items. The wires for different circuits are of different sizes. Lights use less power than heaters therefore thinner wire is adequate. To ensure a circuit cannot be overloaded a fuse / trip (referred to an over-current device) sized appropriately and certified by the installer is fitted. If the wrong size is fitted and the wire is overloaded fire could result.

So – the correct wires and over current devices must be installed to ensure total safety inside the new building. The next job is to make sure that the building has the correct feed. This feed should not affect the main house and fulfil its job providing safely a reliable supply to the new building.

Correct connection of a Garden Office or Garden Studio to the electrical supply.

By far the most common way of providing this connection is to use a “Steel Wired Armoured cable” (SWA). The size / capacity of this cable depends on two factors a) the distance it needs to carry the electricity and b) the likely demand for amperes at peak. This is an assumptive calculation made by the installer in compliance with (Building Regulations Part P) – the armoured cable must always be overload protected at source but must be sufficient in capacity to make sure that under heavy use (like fan heaters, showers and kettles are on at the same time) the supply will not trip causing disruption to the occupants.

It is very important to note that disruption and safety are not related as safety is paramount and must be assured by the installing electrician. Each electrician is legally bound to certify each and every circuit he or she works on.

The armoured cable needs to travel from the main property to the new building. As the cable is mechanically protected against contact with the conductor and earthed (the surrounding steel strands are connected to ground) an SWA cable is electrically safe on the surface, in the air or buried at any depth.

This important point is the subject of some debate amongst electricians and quoted incorrectly on many industry websites.

(updated 11/12/2015) "Don't need to change anything here electrons are still electrons and safety is still the main thing" There have been a few challenges from electricians wanting to bury SWA  Armour (steel wired armoured cable) at high cost to the client but I assume by now no-one else wants to challenge me on this. SWA is safe above ground or below ground that is all. I think the comments are good enough - it's still a boring subject but safety sometimes is - it doesn't make it less important because safety remains VITAL.

What is the difference between Earth and Neutral (blue and green)?

Both go to the same place but earthing is done for the protection of humans and neutral takes back the electron count. So when you switch on a light the electrons used are is counted by the meter so you must pay. If you send it back down the earth the light will still come on but you may may pay with your life as correct earthing is a life saver.

Earthing is provided to an outbuilding in the swa armour by the outer steel sheathing and sometimes an inner core as well. Earth rods are not necessary if good connection to earth is made at the main property. The armour can be on the surface or underground it is a safe cable protected by steel connected to earth.

This post written by Richard Grace Project Director Garden Structures Ltd

Comments and links to this post welcome:

Monday, 16 January 2012

Garden Office and Studio Trends 2012

Trends in Garden Studios and Garden Offices for 2012

A bit of blogging and predictions from me - Richard Grace Garden Structures Ltd Project Director and blogger in chief.

 Olympic year is here I would make a comment about Olympian Sheds although I should be careful here as Olympian sheds are a sort of competitor. Which brings me to my first point.

Competition in the UK Garden Studio and Garden Office market 2012.

Probably driven by the continued doldrums in the building market overall the competition here remains fierce. This of course drives costs down and benefits clients, it keeps us all on our toes and maintains high quality service.

Web remains the main marketing tool for most companies. PPC costs have remained high although adwords a great tool for instant traffic. Traditional media advertising has remained cheap, as competition in that field too is fierce.

Unfortunately the combined effect of increasing competition and cost pressures stresses some companies to breaking point and recently we have seen some competitors fail to make it through.

Social Media and Garden Offices

I am learning more about "social media". Personally I have not been a big facebook fan, as I don’t like turning down friend requests. I notice that following introduction of Google+, “which by the way I do like” this problem is, being addressed by facebook, a family button has appeared (maybe I just didn’t see it before).

Social media effect is proliferate and chaotic. We are all involved in some way – right now I am nervous about touching my phone screen in case it sends a private message across the planet by mistake and I guess I am not alone.

Almost everywhere people are trying to work out if finding family detail first on facebook is “how things should be”! Well its great to keep in touch with cousins on the other side of the planet but not for learning that one of the grandchildren is ill.

What has changed a lot?

 When we started in this business as one of the early entrants in 2001 a few things have changed quite dramatically.

  1. Clients have more choice of supplier and product design
  2. Suppliers have more competition
  3. Designs and building material preferences have proliferated
In ending my review of this topic it would not be like me to avoid saying something controversial.

Whilst our market remains in steep growth overall the visibility of competition over the web has led to some companies using desperate negative marketing. i.e. instead of explaining why they are the best they tend to imply the competition is not good.

Here are a few examples: (Decided to delete this so as not to be guilty myself)

From my own standpoint the customer remains king and client satisfaction is the key.

“Live and let live is not a bad business attitude and never has been”.

Anything new in materials or design?

There are always new designs, last year saw a proliferation of “pods” a sort of space-age capsule instead of a traditional building. A good thing unless you are a traditional neighbour next to a fairground cast-off or a Google pod with logos still in tact.

On the materials side I am quite excited about a bit of a trend in roofing material, which looks like a traditional zinc roof. We are introducing this as an option and have our first order right now.

Trends in our Market overall.

 The cost of commuting and the development of IT or should I say the proliferation of connectivity between web, phone, tablet and the so called cloud itself continue to be big drivers for us.

The option of working from home and remaining fully connected with the world of work is definitely here. It is accepted and here to stay. The embarrassment of working from “a shed in the garden” has gone.

Sleeping in a shed in the garden is next on the list. Why not? Many Garden Studios are now better insulated and of a higher fire safety specification than the main dwelling. Families prevented from moving due to the continued credit crunch need additional accommodation and at least for us this is a growing area of business.

More and more I am coming across clients with what I call a “Grand Designs” concept. The Garden building project has become a “passion” and competitive between owners.

Our Market has “come of age”

I have noticed a marked change in attitude of clients and other business associates, as they are now aware of our market coming of age. It is differentiated from the traditional shed market because they now know someone who has a supershed, garden studio or a workroom at home.

Oh and regarding the weather. The autumn and early winter was good and today it is good but COLD! So must get back to a bit of physical work.


About Me

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Richard is an experienced business consultant specialising in garden structures design and planning + The UK's leading expert in using Pinterest for business marketing web traffic generation at lowest cost.