Since 2020, we’ve been spending a lot more time working from home, and many of us have adapted our homes to facilitate this new lifestyle. But for those of us who want to work at home but don’t have a home interior that offers the ideal workspace, is there another solution that doesn’t involve spending all our working hours in the office? Could you utilise a shed, garage or outhouse as an office space?
Here are some tips on how to install utilities in an outdoor building and make the most of its capabilities.
It goes without saying that electricity is going to be fundamental for your outdoor workspace. You’re going to need your out-building to be fully weather-resistant, so that it’s a safe place to install electricity.
Consulting a trustworthy electrician on this and letting them know where you’d like your sockets to be positioned will be the first step.
They will check to see if there is a spare circuit in your house’s fuse board and it might be that you need to install a bigger one or bring your current one up-to-speed with current safety regulations.
There are two options for how you connect the electricity between your out-building and the house: an underground cable or an overhead one. Underground cables must be steel-wire armoured cables that run at least 300mm underneath your garden, to ensure you can’t knock them when gardening.
If you’re wanting kitchen or bathroom facilities in your outdoor workspace, this is where plumbing comes into play.
You will need to plan how the connection is going to work, looking at which part of your house’s plumbing is closest to your outhouse, so that you can start it from here. Drainage pipes require a bit of a slope to function properly, so you will need to take this into consideration. Proper maintenance should be done by an expert drain line cleaning company in Austin so that you won’t have future clogging problems.
To install plumbing, you will need to ensure you have the correct specialist drill bits required for drilling work.
It would take around three days to install a cold-water source and plumbing in a sink or other appliance and you could expect this to cost at least £500 if the outhouse is attached to the main building. If it’s not attached to your house, then a trench would need to be dug for the pipework, so the work could take about a week and cost at least £1,500.
Adding in a toilet would raise this to at least £2,000 because of the work required to connect it to the sewer or fit a pump station, among other things.
Ventilation & Insulation
To keep your outdoor space smelling clean and fresh, with no signs of damp, you’re going to require good ventilation. Check which direction the prevailing wind drifts in and install vents in the gables (with mesh so that only air can get in). Alternatively, add skylights, a whirlgig (for drawing air out), or an electric fan.
You’re also going to need to insulate the pipes, so your plumbing doesn’t freeze up and become ineffective in winter. Thick pipe insulation foam that comes in tape form is a good solution for this.
If you’re looking to insulate the shed itself and you’re creating a completely new building, consider the framing you choose for the main material of the shed itself first. Thicker frames are much better at carrying the extra weight of insulation and they can better withstand any nails you hammer in.
There are many insulation options you can consider, including rockwool insulation and PIR insulation boards. Rockwool is also great for sound insulation, meaning you can take work calls in private or listen to your work playlist as loudly as you like.
If you see yourself working from home for years to come in the same home, building or converting an outbuilding for this purpose could be a great investment. It’s also an excellent way to keep your work life separate from your home life, without actually leaving your property.