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Log Cabin Buyers Guide Help and Advice

Beaver Log Cabins strive to offer the very best timber buildings at the most affordable prices. We have been constructing cabins and other buildings for domestic and business customers for over twelve years. We pride ourselves on the highest standard of customer service and a friendly team of dedicated, fully qualified and professional staff.  

We provide a variety of cabin ranges, but we can also provide and design custom builds for both domestic and commercial customers.

In fact, we can go above and beyond the log cabin. Some of our larger projects have included a health complex, an archery centre and we have also built dozens of holiday homes.

Here is our quick guide on everything you need to know about Beaver Log Cabins.

 

Planning Permission

Planning permission is often a source of confusion for our customers. There are so many planning rules and regulations governing the size and positioning of cabins.

So, we have put together a guide for you, but it is still essential that you consult your own local planning department as everyone’s personal circumstances vary and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to planning. You will definitely need to check whether you will have to obtain any planning consent.

However, as a general rule of thumb, you are entitled to have a log cabin in your garden measuring up to 4m (13.4ft) in height. Furthermore, if that cabin is over 2.5m (8.25ft) in height and less than 2m (6.6ft) away from any boundary, you will most likely need permission.

Nevertheless, It’s highly likely that the permission will be granted, because the law states you are entitled to go up to 4m in height.

Now, there is a grey area and this is because planning officers must examine the personal circumstances of each applicant before granting permission.

Let’s use an example of someone who wants to build a 4m high cabin adjacent to their neighbour’s fence.

Now, the first thing the planning officer will consider, will be whether your cabin would adversely affect the neighbour’s use of his/her garden. It might block out the sun or even come across as a little intimidating. If the planning officer decides that your 4m high cabin would adversely affect your neighbour, they probably wouldn’t grant planning permission.

However, if this was the case, you would still have the option of having a log cabin with a height of 2.5m or less. These are actually exempt from planning permission are considered permitted development regardless of whether they are right next to your neighbour’s boundary/

If the log cabin is 2.5m or less in height, it is exempt from planning conditions and is therefore permitted development, even if it is close to the boundary.

So, we advise checking out our range of cabins that are under 2.5m high if you think planning may be an issue and you want it situated next to a boundary.

In fact, we have found that many customers who have been given permission by the local council to have their cabins placed so close to their boundaries have been granted permission because the height of the structure was under 2.5m. So, it wouldn’t have caused an issue for their neighbor.

If you want your cabin 2m or more, away from the boundary, you can still have a cabin with a height of 4m or less. Planning permission is not usually required for this (although we always recommend checking with your local council).

People who own properties that are in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Listed areas or protected areas have additional rules. You must contact your local planning department to see how this will affect you.

At beaver, we are adept at helping our customers get around some of the little niggles of the planning process in a number of ways. These include our range of cabins under 2.5m in height and we can also do our best to change the angle on the roof of certain models to make them conform to planning rules where this is possible.

 

 

Planning Measure Up

Naturally, part of the planning permission process is measuring up. We have already seen how you may be denied planning permission for a 4m high cabin right next to your neighbour’s fence. However, there are other factors to consider too, such as the size of your garden and the footprint of your log cabin.

Under  regulations that came into effect on 1 October 2008 outbuildings are considered to be permitted development, not needing planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions:

  • No outbuilding forward of the principal elevation fronting a highway. 
  • Maximum height 4 metres when two metres of a boundary.
  • No more than half the area of land around the "original house"* would be covered by additions or other buildings.
  • In National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites the maximum area to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers and pools more than 20 metres from house to be limited to 10 square metres.
  • On designated land* buildings, enclosures, containers and pools at the side of properties will require planning permission.
  • Within the curtilage of listed buildings any outbuilding will require planning permission.
  • Ensure that there are no trees with Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) will be affected by the building of a log cabin.

*The term "original house" means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if it was built before that date). Although you may not have built an extension to the house, a previous owner may have done so.

*Designated land includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.

Other rules on small detached buildings

If you want to put up small detached buildings such as a garden shed or summerhouse in your garden, building regulations will not normally apply if the floor area of the building is less than 15 square metres.

If the floor area of the building is between 15 square metres and 30 square metres, you will not normally be required to apply for building regulations approval providing that the building is either at least one metre from any boundary or it is constructed of substantially non-combustible materials.

In both cases, building regulations do not apply ONLY if the building does not contain any sleeping accommodation.

Please Note these are guidelines only and can vary around the UK. You can find out more information here:

http://www.planningportal.gov.uk

 

 

Foundations

When it comes to foundations for your log cabin, it is the customers’ responsibility to prepare a level, square and suitable base for any of our timber buildings. So, you will need to know the exact dimensions of the footprint of your cabin and where you want it to be built!

There are several options. However, at Beaver we now offer a Beaver Timber Frame Base.

The Beaver Timber Frame Base

We pride ourselves in timber construction, so we are now offering a complete solution to your foundation needs.

Our Timber frame Bases can be constructed almost anywhere, including gardens with a slope or even water logged gardens, and prevent the need to carry out expensive groundwork.

To protect the base against rot all our timber bases are pressure treated with tanalalith-e, this process has a life of 15 years without any maintenance, we have found that most companies will use timber posts to secure the base to the ground, we found this to be bad practice as the timber that is in contact with the ground will constantly be soaking up water which could soak up into the main structure.

We have found the perfect solution to this problem, we can offer recycled plastic post which is 100mm x 100mm, therefore no timber is in contact with the ground at any time.   

Other foundation solutions

However, unless you’re planning an absolutely huge timber build, most of our log cabins don’t exert a tremendous load, due to them being constructed out of lightweight timber. In fact, if you are building on good, solid, level ground, a concrete base is a great option.

Concrete slabs

To obtain this concrete slab, you’ll need to pour concrete onto good, level ground or compacted hardcore. Make sure your base slab is larger than the size of your cabin! It should exceed the size of the footprint by 100mm on all sides of the structure. The concrete should also be laid 100 thick for level ground, but 150mm for uneven and undulating ground. You won’t generally need to use a reinforcing mesh unless you are making a slab for a large cabin. In which case, a reinforcing mesh will help prevent cracking.

Paving slabs

Some people have quite happily used concrete paving slabs as a foundation. As long as the ground is level and very solid or supported with hardcore. This is not too much trouble to go to for a smaller size cabin, but it can quickly turn into an expensive and laborious project when creating a foundation for a larger cabin.

Consulting a builder

Naturally, your log cabin is an investment, and if you‘re at all unsure about the right kind of foundation, we suggest that you consult a professional builder. Someone like this will have the expertise and experience to advise you on how deep, how long and how wide to dig. This could be particularly important if you are considering building your cabin on a serious slope.

Back to the Beaver timber frame base

Of course, why make life harder for yourself when you can just opt in for out timber frame base as part of the package?

 

 

 Installations

We have a team of vastly experienced specialist log cabin fitters that will take away the hassle of erecting your cabin for you.

Reasonable access and use of water, electricity and toilet facilities is to be provided for our staff whilst on site. Storage of materials and equipment may be required during the installation process. It is the customers’ responsibility to prepare a level, square and suitable base for any building. Should this not be the case reasonable costs for a delay or return visit will be levied by Beaver Log Cabins.

On completion of the installation the building will be inspected with our Senior Installer and the customer or customers’ representative. A Completion Certificate will be prepared for each building, once this has been signed by the customer or customers’ representative it is considered that the job is complete and has been finished to a satisfactory standard.

As timber is a natural product minor adjustments, when the building settles, may have to be carried out by the customer, this may include adjustments to the doors and windows as they may expand and contract and move etc. Alternatively adjustments can be carried out on a chargeable basis by Beaver Log Cabins. You will need to maintain any exposed timbers with timber preservatives and finishes soon after installation.

Due to the nature of Cabin construction we are unable to guarantee any specific start or completion dates. Various delays can be caused by such things as road congestion, the impact of weather or even strikes by third party facilitators, transport or shipping.
All reasonable care will be exercised in carrying out the delivery and installation, should you believe that damage to your property or grounds may be caused as a result of access to the installation site it is your responsibility to risk assess and protect those areas affected. We do not carry out a pre-survey of your installation site and request that you are insured for any potential damage that may be caused as a result of unreasonable difficulties experienced by our staff or vehicles whilst on your premises. Should you request an inspection for alleged defects and these fall outside of our published descriptions and reasonable actions then we reserve the right to make reasonable charges for that service.

 

Maintenance

Once your log cabin or timber building has been installed, very little maintenance will actually need to be done. When it is first built, you should treat the inside and the outside with a high quality woodstain, and usually only the area’s most affected by the weather should need retouching – fascia boards or overhangs where the rain runs off, for example. If the stain begins to look faded, this is a good indication that another coat is required.

Natural Shrinkage

Log cabins are usually built from kiln-dried logs, this is because mature trees have moisture in them, and once they have been chopped their moisture level will drop to equate to the surrounding environment. This can take many years if left to occur naturally, but kiln-drying the logs speeds up this process. As they dry, the logs shrink slightly – most of the shrinkage actually happens before manufacture, but once the cabin has been installed, a further amount of shrinkage is likely to occur as the logs acclimatise to their location. As wood is a natural product, it is natural you may notice small splits and cracks in some of the logs, this is due to the thickness of the wood, this will not harm your log cabins structure.


Cabin Settlement

As the logs shrink a little, settlement will occur in your log cabin, which will cause the walls to lower, sometimes as much as a couple of inches. This is a natural occurrence, and log cabins are designed with this in mind, allowing individual logs to settle without affecting the finished result.

Wood Preservative

It is universally recommended to treat your log cabin with a good quality wood preservative, to help prevent decay and rot. As an additional suggestion, you should retreat your cabin yearly with an exterior varnish or wood stain, as UV rays are deceptively damaging.

Some Maintenance Tips:

• It’s a good idea to keep plants and trees away from the perimeter edges of your log cabin – they can prevent the sun and air circulation from drying out any moisture; a foot of space between the cabin and foliage is a good benchmark. You should either trim these plants back, or consider replanting them elsewhere.

• To check whether your logs need retreating, spray a bit of water on a section of your log cabin; if the water beads and rolls down, this is an indication you’re ok for another year. If the water starts to soak in, it’s a good time to consider a new coat of treatment. Be sure to check any log ends, as the cut end grain will be where most moisture is absorbed.

• Moisture control and damp management are key factors in increasing the longevity of your log cabin. Guttering is a great investment, if you have guttering already, be sure to check it regularly for any obstructions, such as leaves.

• It’s a good idea to make sure any soil or earth around the log cabin isn’t too close to the base – a minimum of 2” from the base will reduce rain splashing back onto the logs.

• Minor adjustments may need to be made to the doors from time to time – due to the ‘swelling’ nature of the wood – this will most likely need to be done near the changing of the seasons, because there is more moisture in the air during the colder months, and less during the summer months.   The chances are the company that supplies your cabin will install adjustable hinges, making this a simple task
.
With a small amount of effort, and regular checking and maintenance, you can ensure that your log cabin will last a lifetime – and longer.

 

 

Insurance

There are a few options when it comes to insuring your log cabin, but there is one golden rule:

If you already have household/buildings/content insurance, you must tell them about your log cabin!

If your house caught fire and your insurance provider discovered you had a new log cabin that you hadn’t told them about, this could void your policy and you might not see a penny!

So, it’s worth talking to your insurance company and seeing if your policy already covers sheds and outbuildings, as your cabin my come under this classification. You may also have the option to extend you policy for a reasonable price.

However, if you look on sites like Direct line, you will see that there are already companies which specialise in insuring sheds, outbuildings and even log cabins.

The main thing to consider is whether the cover is reasonable, the price affordable, and whether you would be better off negotiating an extension of the policy with your existing insurer. Naturally, you can always consult an independent advisor on this matter.

If you don’t currently have any insurance, we strongly advise you to shop around for a deal with the best cover for the most affordable price.

 

So, now you have the some basic information to help you buy a log cabin. Why not check out our fantastic ranges of timber builds or even contact us today to discuss your very own bespoke build?

We have over twelve years of experience in building superb quality log cabins and timber buildings. From a cabin with a roof height of under 2.5 metres to an Archery centre – no project is too big or too small.

Call or email our friendly team today to see how we can help you create your own space to live , work and relax .