Log Cabins / Timber Framed Building specialists - what you need to know
Log cabins are going through a renaissance, becoming increasingly popular as outdoor living spaces. They can be used for everything from storing garden tools, to providing a summerhouse to escape to, and even providing additional bedrooms.
Log cabins can be a more cost-effective and easily-customised option than a traditional extension. While original lob cabins were literally (as their name suggests) stacked logs or timbers, today’s modern iterations are hugely varied, with different structural designs to suit specific purposes.
Whether you opt for something more rugged and traditional, or a plush decorated space, a specialist timber-frame builder can help turn your concept into reality. Log cabins are typically supplied with all the parts required, so your expert will just need to assemble and fix the frame and timber panelling correctly. From there, you have a blank canvas, and you can arrange or design your cabin to suit your needs.
Cost of building a log cabin
The cost of a log cabin can range from £1,500 for a basic unit to nearly £10,000 for more complex and spacious models. The labour costs for installation are usually based on a day rate per tradesperson. So, you can expect to pay:
- Small tool shed (1 day, 2 tradespeople) £500+
- Medium summerhouse (2-3 days, 2 tradespeople) £1,000+
- Multi-room living space (5 days+, 2 tradespeople) £2,500+
Aside from the build itself, there’s a long list of additional factors and optional extras that will affect the final cost of your log cabin. You’ll need to consider:
- Site preparations and foundations for the build
- Set up of utilities such as drainage, water and electricity
- Interior items, doors, windows and fixings
- Insulation (if required)
- Additional services, such as a decorator
Buying a log cabin – what to consider
Shop around for your log cabin and you’ll find there are any number of options available. From the modest shed through to large single or even multi-room systems, there’s likely to be something to fit your requirements.
Here’s what to consider when choosing a pre-designed, ready-to-assemble unit:
- Number of rooms – if you’re essentially looking for a shed, a modest space will suffice. But if you’re seeking a home office in the garden, or even additional accommodation, you may need to opt for a multi-room design.
- Glazing and insulation – some units will be pre-glazed and also insulated, making assembly quicker (and life easier) for your tradesperson. This comes at an additional cost though.
- Roofing – typically log cabins are clad in felt for waterproofing, but this won’t always be included as standard, so check what you’re paying for.
- Design – as well as the traditional rectangular or square design, some log cabins are designed to fit neatly into the corner of your garden. You can also opt for a pentagonal or hexagonal rounded structure, for something a bit less “blocky”.
Custom or pre-designed log cabins
A pre-designed or “off the shelf” log cabin can save time during assembly. It can also be cost effective, especially if you’re able to find a supplier offering a discount on a supply and fit combined service. Pre-designed log cabin kits are available from a large number of suppliers, and some can be further customised to suit your requirements too.
Some professionals or specialists will supply and fit log cabins, while others will leave it up to you to purchase the cabin and will simply offer an assembly and installation service.
If you have particular requirements or can’t quite find what you’re looking for, you can opt to have a fully custom-built cabin designed and produced by a carpenter or joiner. This will usually cost more than purchasing a pre-designed and supplied kit, though.
The qualifications your tradesperson needs
Reputable builders should belong to a trade association, such as the National Federation of Builders or Federation of Master Builders. This is a good indicator of their professionalism and qualifications, and (if necessary) it means they can sign off their work as Building Regulation compliant. A builder will not require a dedicated qualification to be able to construct a log cabin, but it’s important that they have plenty of relevant experience in this area.
Planning permission for building a log cabin
If your log cabin is intended to be a small tool shed in your garden, then chances are it will be classed as a permitted development. However, if your log cabin has an internal floor area of more than 30 per m2, or is designed to provide accommodation, then you’ll almost certainly require approval under building regulations.
As you move towards larger scale builds, each case will be reviewed in light of its circumstances. Factors such as the cabin’s proximity to a road or neighbouring property will come into play.
Insurance your tradesperson needs
Your builder should have public liability insurance to protect individuals and neighbouring properties while carrying out construction work.
Questions you should ask your tradesperson
- Are they experienced in building log cabins?
- Are they happy to work with any pre-designed and supplied log cabin kit?
- Do they offer a bespoke option?
- What materials do they suggest using?
- Can they advise on planning restrictions?
- Can they offer a guarantee or warranty on their work?