Property & Business - Winter 2020

PROPERTY | BUSINESS | PLANNING | ENERGY 17 Creating a Home Off ice Covid-19 has created an environment where we have been forced to review how we live and work. Many office based workers now see themselves working from home and using technology to communicate with colleagues and clients often using their dining tables, sofa’s, conservatories, bedrooms, etc to carry out their work. This is not ideal, but given that we had no time to prepare ourselves it’s amazing how we have coped and it’s interesting how many of companies now see home working as normal. The need therefore for a permanent home office or study has now become a necessity for many, but what options are available to us for creating a home office? The first thing you need to consider is, can you adapt an existing room? If you do have a spare room, is it big enough? Would it provide a comfor table space to work in for the amount of time you will spend in it? Will it allow you to conduct your work without being distracted by other activity within the house? If you cannot answer yes to these questions then you may need to consider creating additional space. This can be achieved in a number of ways and these are explained below. In most cases making changes to your home can be done under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development Order) (England) Order 2015 amended 2018 - the GPDO. Loft Conversion & Basements One of the main issues with loft and basement conversions is the amount of available headroom once insulation requirements have been taken in to account. However, if you are only creating a home office you may not need much circulation space, you just need sufficient headroom to allow you to access your work space where you will most likely be seated. You will need to access your home office several times a day so a staircase that complies with Building Regulations is essential. Providing a permanent staircase could take up a significant amount of space and you may end up losing significant bedroom space, especially with loft conversions. When considering natural light this can be done is a number of ways. Roof lights are one of the most popular options and are recommended. Dormer windows are a more expensive option, but they can provide more space, additional headroom and in some cases provide better views from your office. However, there are limitations under the GPDO that restricts the size of dormer that can fitted. Installing windows in gable ends also comes under the GPDO but again cer tain restrictions apply. Building Regulations regarding escape in the event of a fire will also need to be taken into consideration as it could mean upgrading all your existing internal doors to fire doors. Every proper ty is unique and our individual needs vary enormously so you will need to consider the pros and cons of conver ting the loft or basement. Even if the loft has sufficient space, a loft conversion can be costly and may not provide the best option.