Step 1 Getting permission

No matter what country you are in there will be laws about what you can build and where.

Because I am building this in the UK on part of the same plot as an existing house I can use certain building rights called permitted development. Please note that this post is just my take on the rules and that if you are in doubt you should go to your local planning office and ask for their advice, my experience was that they were very helpful.

There are 2 ‘impediments’ to just building what you like in the UK: Planning permission and Building Regulations. Permitted development takes care of the planning permission aspect for quite a few extensions and outbuildings.

The government planning portal site provides some quite useful interactive graphics on what is allowed for extensions and outbuildings.

I doubt when this was debated in the house of commons the MPs were thinking about music studios, so the precise rules I am using generally refer to outbuildings like sheds and summerhouses.

More details for outbuildings are available here. However the basics are that, since I’ve not covered 50% of my garden even with the studio, I am free to build an outbuilding. Further I am not subject to building regulations providing it is either less than 15 sq m  or between 15 and 30 sq m and made out of ‘substantially non-combustible materials’. The only exception to this is the electrics which I will have to get signed off.

I figure that bricks and concrete count as non-combustible, and my studio works out to be a tad under 28 sq m.

As it happens, the chap doing most of the structural work for me is helping me keep it to regulations anyway. There have been a few times that this has lead to less than ideal acoustics (the damn wood beam floor is basically a big resonant cavity) , but I think keeping the building inspectors happy is probably better than to risk having to tear it down. TBH, the building inspectors have been very approachable even offering some advice on the studio when they had come round to review some work I’d done extending the house.

I should add that there was a 3rd even more important party that needed to approve of what I was doing – Kate, my very patient wife.

I also get the feeling that the bass drum should get a mention as an inanimate ambassador in all of this. By not fitting through the loft hatch, he resolutely took up storage in what is going to be the downstairs bathroom, thus re-prioritising the studio.

High five, Ambassador Bass drum.