How To Make a Home Office
A large number of us have had to adapt to new and changing work situations this year due to the UK lockdown.
This has resulted in many employees and business owners switching to working from home instead of the office, with some companies even deciding to keep their staff working from home as restrictions ease.
On top of this around 85,000 new online businesses have started since the start of the pandemic.
If you are one of those working from home you may be looking for a more permanent area to get work done, rather than at the dining room table or under the stairs.
If you have the space a cabin could make the perfect workspace; here are points to consider to allow you to use it all year round.
Double Glazed or Polycarbonate Windows/Doors?
A number of the cheaper cabins on the market may include single glazed or polycarbonate windows. Whilst helping to keep the initial cost of the purchase down, they don’t make for the greatest material during those colder, winter months as they don’t retain heat.
Look to replace these cheaper windows with double glazing to help keep your cabin warmer, and to help retain the warmth from any heaters you have installed to keep you cosy when the temperature drops.
In the same manner, check the materials used for the door for your cabin. If required consider replacing this with a composite double glazed door, or potentially look to insulate the current door, again to help keep any heat within your workspace.
Does The Thickness of The Cabin Walls Matter?
When shopping or building your own cabin it is important to look at the thickness of the timber that is being used to make the walls for the structure. The thicker the wood, the better the heat will be retained.
Cabin walls should be around 70mm thick, whereas a shed is around 12mm thick, and are less efficient at retaining heat
How Do You Insulate A Cabin?
It is worth considering the extra outlay when you come to build your cabin to have the right insulation installed at the same time.
Look to pad all sides of the building with 75mm Celotex (which is a foam foil insulation). These can be cut to size so you can leave trunking/area for cabling for electric wires.
Once your Celotex is in position, add another layer of wood on top of the Celotex (so from the outside it’d be ‘Cabin Wall > Celotex > Internal Wood’). This is to hold the Celotex in place and would give you an inner wall of the cabin so that the interior can be painted.
Something else to consider is ensuring your entire building is lined with 1mm Thick Vapour Control Membrane. This is a water tight material which again will help ensure your building is suitable during the colder and wetter months, and will help to prevent damp from affecting your structure.
Can My Cabin Be Built On A Flat Suitable Surface?
You’ll want to ensure your cabin is built so that is ‘off the ground’, ideally using pressure treated bearers, and include a thick layer of Celotex beneath the floor.
The reason for this is to help air circulate under the building to prevent rot and a build-up of condensation. Pressure treated timber makes for fantastic floor bearers as these are pre-treated with a premium injected wood preserve to help protect the wood from rotting. This is important as once the building is erected it will be incredibly difficult to treat further down the line.
Can I Prevent Draughts and Leaks in My Cabin?
As you’re assembling your cabin ensure any gaps in the panels are suitably filled with a weatherproof sealant. This is an easier task to complete as can be done once assembly has been completed.
Look to include draught protectors of excluders on your doors, to further keep the heat contained and to help prevent wind/gusts from penetrating your home office.
Can I Fit Electrics Into A Cabin?
Installing electrics allows somewhere for your work equipment to be plugged in and also allows the opportunity to safely fix an electric heater.
Planning permission must first be obtained from your Local Authority Building Control.
Any completed electrical works must comply with Part P of the current Building Regulations. Proof of this would need to be submitted to your Local Authority once completed. The work would need to be completed by a certified electrician.
You would need waterproof trunking to hold any cables, whilst the wiring would need to run all the way back to the house to fit into mains/fuse box, and IP66 rated plugs are recommended.
Can My Cabin Run Off Solar Power?
For those who are looking to be more self-sufficient, wish to reduce energy bills, or have a close eye on the current environmental conditions, solar energy can be considered.
Solar Generators are becoming increasingly popular. These tend to include the generator as well as panels. These can be attached to your roof so that the sunlight can be captured and turned into electricity.
Whilst they can be expensive to purchase, they can save you money on your energy bills. Another consideration is that mains electricity would currently offer a more consistent and reliable source of power, which may be important for those relying on the building for working.
Should I Consider Anything Else When Insulating A Cabin?
With the layer of Celotex, additional timber and trunking for cables, you will find that your interior footprint of the cabin may shrink by a minimum of 10cm across all sides.
This is important to consider when insulating as you’ll have less interior space for furnishing, desks, etc. If you want to insulate, and you have the space, you may wish to look at the next cabin size up to accommodate your home office equipment and furniture.