Last updated 27th October 2019
All you need to know about building a summer house, including costs of summer house construction and installation, cost of suitable foundations, labour and time frames for completion.
If you work from home and are considering getting a garden office instead of working from the kitchen table, or you are looking for somewhere for the kids during the summer holidays, so you can get some peace and quiet - then there are a wide range of outbuildings, including prefabricated buildings in kit form, which could be just what you are looking for.
A garden summer house or log cabin can be constructed on any solid base such as paving slabs, concrete or even an existing patio. But you need to check with the manufacturer before ordering to ensure you have the correct base before you start building the structure. It usually takes at least two people to build a summer house, even the simpler prefabricated kits, so don't be tempted to try building it alone. Laying the summer house base is fairly straightforward and any local builder should be able to help you, or you have fairly good DIY skills then you can lay the foundation yourself. Whatever type of summer house you buy, you should consider insulating it so you can spend more time in it even during the winter months to get the most out of your investment. If buying a timber summer house or a log cabin, then it is recommended that you treat the timber once the cabin has been erected for a long-lasting build. The most important part of any building is the foundation which must be strong and level, a summer house is no different as an uneven base means the shed will buckle and twist, cracking windows and jamming doors tight against the frame.
When planning a summer house make sure it isn't built too near to any fence or walls, always leave enough space for easy access to paint or treat the timber otherwise the wood will rot and fail much sooner than it should. You should also consider whether or not you will need mains power. If you decide not to install electrics, then it is especially important that you consider how much natural light you will have given the chosen location.
Basic outbuildings can be constructed on a DIY basis, especially as prefabricated building kits which are readily available and require no specialist tools or equipment, though you will definitely need some assistance in the form of at least one other person. Building a concrete foundation is probably the most difficult part of this project for a DIY enthusiast, but a decent foundation is essential for the durability of the building. It is quite common (and recommended) to get someone in to lay concrete foundations, then tackle the actual building of the summer house as a DIY project. If you do decide to do the foundations yourself, be very careful that you avoid rupturing any water/gas pipes or dig up your electricity cables. These mistakes can be very expensive indeed as well as being dangerous.
Summer Houses can be bought at various prices, from as little as £600, or as much as £5000 - but these will have a large variance in terms of quality and size. Most will opt for larger sizes, often to provide enough space for the furniture/equipment it will contain. Similarly, it is recommended to typically pay more for a higher quality summer house - reducing the likelihood of unexpected faults and (usually) easier maintenance.
Before purchasing the summer house itself, there first needs to be foundations for the summer house to be rested on. Don't be tempted to try and skimp on the foundations due to the extra cost, an outbuilding without a proper concrete base will not last well in the UK. The majority of the problems seen with outbuildings are usually caused by trying to cut costs and corners. Always use a proper concrete foundation and if you are not confident in your DIY skills get a builder in to erect the structure. Finally, if you choose a timber building, make sure you have it treated/painted at regular intervals for a long life - trying to save money by avoiding wood treatment will likely cost you more in the long term. When buying a prefabricated kit always check the delivery sizes and make sure the sections will fit through the gate as they may be too heavy to lift over the fence! Avoid cheaper low-quality timber when buying a summer house as this is often a false economy.
This is a large project for a tradesperson, including providing proper foundations and the correct fabrication of the summer house itself. Due to the scale, this can take a few weeks to be completed, which can make any tradesperson's time quite an expense on the project. If a typical tradesperson costs roughly £200 per day, over 2 weeks (10 working days) this would cost around £2000. It would be best to be clear with the tradesperson about their daily rate and expected time frame of completion of the project beforehand. Depending on the scale, there may be a need for an additional tradesperson to assist with the project, particularly for any heavy lifting involved - which could effectively double the labour cost, but will likely halve the labour time as a result. This type of work is best to be completed correctly, rather than having the soonest work which could risk additional problems later, which would incur further costs.
Below are some estimated costs of building a summer house.
|Job Description||Avg. Cost||Duration|
|Prefabricated Timber Summer House (Labour-Only)||£2500||1-2 weeks|
|Log Cabin Style Summer House 6m x 3m (Supply And Build)||£5000||1-2 weeks|
|8m x 5m Luxury Summer House (Supply And Build)||£10,500||2 weeks|
Individual costs of building a summer house - Total Cost: £9000