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Care home alternatives

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5 ways to find peace and tranquillity in your Garden Annexe.

Annexe living is surging in demand as a desirable alternative to care homes or downsizing, with big advantages in the expense of such a move and, of course, the extra reassurance of having loved ones close by. The numbers of people searching for annexes as a care home alternative have risen more than 34% in the last year and are set to rise even further in the future.

 

But what is it about annexe living that is so attractive to so many people? We have interviewed a number of our customers who are comfortably settled in their new annexe homes to gain a picture of what motivated them to make the move, and how they have found settling into their new homes.

 

 

Warm and cosy

Something that is mentioned over and over again is just how warm and cosy annexe living is. Built with super-insulated SIP panel technology (structurally insulated panels) our annexes achieve one of the highest U-Values in the business.  This combined with fantastic quality double glazing means that our annexes are super warm in the winter, with very little costs required for heating. Often we find our customers are downsizing from a larger, older property, where heating was often costly and draught-proofing not up to modern standards. Anyone moving into an annexe is always struck by just how thermally efficient they are, great for when you just want to put your feet up and relax on a cold Autumn day!

 

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Close to family

Of course one of the main motivators for making the move is to be close to family. As mentioned in the interview above this might be to provide mutual support, either helping with grandchildren, or giving support to a grandparent as they reach old age and providing a support hub for the whole family. Sometimes it can get a bit too much if families need to provide support but live miles away from each other. This stress can be reduced in many cases by building an annexe, giving those concerned a more tranquil way of life, reducing the need to travel so often and bringing together the family when they need each other the most.

 

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Less stress, more settled

Feeling settled is the key to a low-stress way of life. Once you know that you have a home that is going to provide for your long term needs, then you know that you can truly relax. Our annexes allow you to design and build a home that is perfectly suited to your needs, whether that might mean improved access for mobility issues, having a large open plan living space, or feeling connected to your family, getting your home just right is what we specialise in.

 

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Own kitchen

They say the heart of the home is in the kitchen. That is certainly true of all the annexes we build, with the kitchen taking a central role. All of our annexes are built with a detailed eye for design and incorporate an open plan kitchen living space that is synonymous with modern living. Having your own kitchen is essential for creating a relaxed home and is at the top of most of our customers wish list. What is great about moving into your new annexe is that you will get to choose and specify your brand new kitchen. All our annexe come complete with appliances from AEG and high-quality cabinets and worktops from Howdens, a renowned name in kitchen design. Choosing your kitchen is an exciting part of the annexe process, helping to create a home you can truly relax in.

 

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Garden location

Almost all of the annexes we build are set in a peaceful and tranquil garden location. If you are moving from a busy street or town location, one of the first things people notice is how relaxing it is to live surrounded by nature in a garden setting. It can be a real joy to be able to swing open the French doors in summer and enjoy the garden, all from the comfort of your annexe home. Even in winter, it is possible to enjoy the garden environment, with large bi-fold or French doors giving excellent views and bringing in plenty of light.

 

 

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Care home alternatives.

There can come a time in everybody’s life when they need that extra bit of care and support, whether it is due to old age, economics, or disability. When we talk about old age there is a range of options that are available, with building a Granny Annexe an increasingly popular option.

 

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The care home alternative:

With the recent shock of COVID 19 and the huge impact it has had on all our lives we are finding that a lot of people are considering alternatives to care homes as a way of looking after our elderly loved ones.

Care homes can be an essential decision for a lot of people, where round-the-clock assistance is vital. But for other people who still would like a higher degree of independence, a granny annexe can be a fantastic option.

Granny Annexes bridge the gap, between providing that extra safety blanket of support, while still allowing for a greater degree of independent living. We have found with our customers that this mix is one of the main reasons that they chose annexe living over a traditional care home.

With our annexes, we are building you a home, with your own front door, kitchen, bathroom and all other modern facilities you would expect from a top of the range new build building. With individual access you will be able to invite friends over, have visits from the grand-children and cook your own meals, just as normal. But also have that extra reassurance that your family are nearby whenever necessary or for company. Care homes can be a great way to meet new people and to have that extra level of social support, but we feel with an annexe you will also benefit from similar advantages, especially from those closest to you.

 

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Carers and Disability:

All of our annexes are bespoke and built to the individual requirements of each individual customer. This means that we listen carefully to your needs before even starting the design process. All of the annexes we build can come with a host of equipment that will make movement and access easier. We can install ramps, handrails, wider doors, walk-in showers and almost all other disabled access equipment in order to make things as easy as possible and to ensure that the annexe is future proof.

 

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Staying connected:

In this day and age, we understand that staying connected is especially important. All the annexes we build have the possibility to have broadband internet, either shared with the main house or your own line. This way you can always stay connected with old friends, grand-children and other members of the family who might not be living so close. Of course, some of your family will be just next door.

 

Downsizing compared to a care home:

For many people, the reason to move is that their house is simply too big for them. A once-great family home can become very expensive to maintain, and a large garden difficult to keep on top of. Downsizing can be a very positive experience, decluttering and rearranging your life into a more manageable building can be quite therapeutic. Maybe it could be the opportunity to change your décor style, go shopping for some great new furniture, or a chance to keep the things that mean a lot while getting rid of the mess.  One problem with moving house is the great expenses that are occurred, with legal fees, stamp duty and real estate services. A granny annexe can be a great alternative, with annexes starting from £72,000, the cost of downsizing is greatly reduced.

 

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The Granny Annexe:

For some, a granny annexe may not have been a consideration, but increasingly people are seeing it as a brilliant way to live a new life, close to their family in a purpose build home. Our annexes are far removed from the old notion of a ‘prefab’, all our buildings are constructed to the tightest building control regulations and are checked and approved throughout the build process. Using structurally insulated panels, our annexe hosts some of the highest U-Values in the class, meaning that you are going to be saving money on heating as well as having a home that stays cool in summer and is warm and cosy in winter.

 

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Why now could be a great time to apply for your planning permission.

Planning permission might seem like a daunting prospect for many people, and it can certainly be a complex process, full of twists and turns.

However, with Granny Annexe’s bespoke planning service, we take care of it all for you, dealing with everything from the drawings to liaising with your case officer and making any adjustments needed in order to make sure your annexe gets approval; so that you can start your new life in your fantastic new home.

 

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Often we are asked if planning permission is required for an annexe. The short answer is definitely YES! An annexe is a permanent home that is to be lived in.

Some of our competitors suggest that an annexe might not need planning permission, or could be built under the ‘Caravan Act’, but we would strongly disagree with this as an annexe is a permanent structure, ancillary to the main home. It is important to go down the proper legal channels and have the proper documentation in place, otherwise, you might well experience legal issues down the line, especially if you were to eventually sell the home.

Hiring a professional company who specialise in annexe buildings is definitely advised. At Granny Annexe we have over 12 years experience in designing, planning, and building annexes. With this breadth of experience, we will be able to assess your property and environment in order to design an annexe that will sit perfectly in its surroundings. This then allows us to make an application with a design that has the best chance of being passed by your local planning authority.  As all the annexes we build are bespoke, this means we can take extra consideration of particular characteristics of your area, such as the type of tiling, the choice of cladding, and shape of the roof, to name a few.

 

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How is my annexe planning application decided?

The results of your application can change according to your local planning authority, and of course on your particular planning officer. With this in mind, no local authorities are the same, which can make the process more complex and confusing. Granny Annexe has built projects all over the country, we have built up an expertise in these planning matters, and understand the differences in particular areas. This gives us a head-start when it comes to designing your building and can help make the process as straight forward and stress-free as possible.

 

How to get professional help to build your annexe?

Getting started on building an annexe could not be easier. First, we would suggest that you book a free virtual site survey with our surveyors. This will give you the opportunity to discuss your project in detail and for us to give you our advice on the type of building that we think would be most suitable for your surroundings and needs.

We would then ask you to send us as many photos as possible of the garden and area on which the annexe will be built to give us a good idea of your building plot. We would then at a later stage be able to make a zero-contact visit of the site in order to measure and survey the area

After your free virtual site survey, the fun part starts. We will design your annexe building and create a CAD drawing using our architect software, create a plan of your garden with the annexe in situ, and demonstrate where all utilities will be joined, we will then send you an itemised quotation with your drawings. This is a totally no-obligation service, all free of charge.

 

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Why now could be great time to start your project and gain planning permission?

 

If you are thinking that an annexe could be an ideal investment for your family, then now might be the perfect time to get started. Regarding the planning process, you might be surprised to hear that the current lockdown offers a great opportunity to submit applications. Like many of us, councils are now fully set up to work efficiently from home. Due to this, more decision-making powers have been handed to case-officers in order to help make the process as smooth as possible, which means we have seen an improved success rate in general.

It also seems apparent that annexe type structures have an increased likely hood of acceptance, especially when considered as an alternative to care homes.

All of this means that your annexe application has a good chance of approval, meaning you can get the ball rolling on your annexe project.

One thing is also for certain, once restrictions are lifted there is going to be a surge in people wanting to make applications and to begin building projects. Getting started now in the lockdown means you will be at an advantage and can have everything in place to be able to start building as soon as possible.

 

Please contact us on 0800 334 5774 (Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00) in order to book a time and date for your free virtual site survey. Or please complete our virtual site survey website form :

While it’s fresh in your mind why not download a free brochure

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Can a granny annex save me money?

Building a granny annex in the garden is becoming an increasingly popular option for many people wanting to downsize or live closer to their family. An annex is a fantastic way to maintain your independence while also having the security of having family close by for extra support and security. There are also some great financial incentives for building an annex that can help make the move an easy one.

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Thermal efficiency

Our granny annex’s are designed and constructed to the same high standards as you would get in a typical new build. Each building is signed off by building regulations and meet strict controls regarding uValues, thermal efficiency and materials. What this means for our customers is that our buildings are very warm and cosy in the winter and therefore quite cheap to heat, especially when compared to a larger, older house that you might be moving from. Typically you might expect to pay no more than £250 per year at current prices for your heating bill.

 

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Our annex’s are constructed using SIPs (structurally insulated panels). SIPs consist of 100mm polystyrene insulation sandwiched between two sheets of OSB board to create a solid structural panel. The rigid integrity of these panels means that the buildings we produce are extremely thermally efficient and strong, with no cold bridging (gaps in the insulation) that is often associated with cheaper methods.

On top of this, we utilise uPVC or aluminium windows and doors with double glazing that provides a real barrier to the elements. Externally our buildings are finished in either red cedar cladding, cedral clading or a render finish, that will provide low maintenance protection for years to come.

 

Annex costs vs moving house

 

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Moving house can be very expensive. House prices have risen by an average of 14.8% in the last 5 years and many people have found it increasingly difficult to afford a new home. Despite a blip in price growth over Brexit uncertainty – prices in 2020 are set to rise a further predicted 2%. Other costs involved in moving house remain high in the UK, stamp duty, solicitor costs and removal firms all add to the expense, in fact, the average cost of moving home is now estimated to be £8,885.

If you are thinking of downsizing, then an annex could be a much more cost-effective way in which to find yourself in a new home. When moving to an annex there are not the same costs involved, such as stamp duty and solicitor costs. An annex can range in price from around £65,000 to £150,000 depending on the specification and size of the build. In fact, a 2 bedroom annex with 60 m2 can cost as little as £101,000. This is a fraction of the cost of many similar 2 bedroom bungalows in the UK and could represent a huge saving compared to properties in more expensive areas such as London or the South East.

 

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Care homes costs vs annex living

One of the most popular reasons why people choose to live in an annex is to have family closer together and to have that extra support, while still retaining a level of independence. This can be a great compromise between moving into a care home and staying in your own home. An annex allows you to have family close by if you need them, which can be a great comfort as you reach old age. For some people, a care home might be a necessity, but for others, you might prefer being closer to family.

Care home costs can be extremely high with fees running into the thousands each month, typical care homes cost from £900 per week.

According to, a report by healthcare specialists Laing & Buisson in 2018, care homes costs can range from:

  • £27,000 to £39,000 per year for a residential care home, or.
  • £35,000 to £55,000 per year if nursing is required.

 

With these types of costs involved, it makes sense that a lot of people are choosing an annexe as an alternative option. After the initial costs of building an annex it is likely you would in-fact see your bills and costs fall as you reap the benefits of downsizing into a brand new highly insulated home.

There are also some other great cost-saving advantages to annex living that arise through living in close proximity to your family. Spending more time with grandchildren is high up there as a reason many people enjoy annex living, and it could also give parents the option of an extra babysitter when required, a win-win for all concerned!

Another nice element of living so close to family is that mealtimes are sometimes shared. While it is delightful to have your own kitchen and have control over your own domain, the chance to pop over to each other homes to share a meal is also very tempting, bringing the family closer together and saving money on cooking and food bills.

 

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Extra costs associated with annex construction

As with all building projects, annex construction does require some extra costs that shouldn’t be overlooked. As an annexe is to be lived in as a home, planning permission is required for all of the annexes that we build. We can submit an application on your behalf for an additional cost of £1954.00 inc VAT. Within this fee we take of everything, this includes preparing your annexe design drawings and submitting these plans to your local planning authority and liaising with your case officer, utilising our breadth of experience in the annex industry. This gives you the best possible chance of success in getting you building through planning.

It is also possible for you to conduct your own planning application at your own expense with the drawings that we provide free of charge, this can be a good way of going about the process if you have some experience in this field.

We are also able to offer a host of services free of charge. Some of these include a free site survey, a free set of drawings that can be altered up to 4 times with no extra charge and up to 20 metres of service connections included in the price. We also offer some optional extras that incur extra charges, such as upgrading to a wetroom, having engineered oak flooring, aluminium windows, or extra service connections. For more details about the optional extras we provide, why not find out more by downloading our free brochure.

 

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Granny Annexe case study – See one of our completed projects built for a customer in Essex

At Granny Annexe we are always very proud to show off any new projects we have recently completed. This fabulous property, built for a customer in Essex is one we are delighted with and showcases some of the design options and fittings we can offer.

The customer contacted us as they were committed to building a home for their elderly mother. This was seen as the best alternative to a retirement village, allowing for care to be provided from home, while still offering independence and dignity.

This size of the building allows for a spacious and comfortable layout and is one of our most popular designs. With an L-shaped footprint and 8.00m x 4.75m there was plenty of space for a large double bedroom, open plan living room and bathroom with a capacious walk-in shower. Another priority of this building was to provide a  comfortable home that is all on one floor to help make moving between rooms as easy as possible. This is one reason why annexes are so perfect as accommodation for elderly relatives, who might have previously been struggling in a house with stairs, or who have relinquished the use of upstairs altogether.

 

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This new home benefited from a number of design options that have helped to create an airy and light building for its new owners. Large French doors allow for easy access to the main living area and also provide plenty of light and a great view of the garden. As mobility is an important consideration, it is possible at a later date to add a ramp to the steps leading up to the entrance.

 

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We can offer a number of exterior finishes to the homes that we build, giving our customers great control over how the building will look. Timber cladding is a practical and increasingly popular option and really suits the style of this type of building. Black cladding can be popular in many parts of England, with black-clad timber barns a common site in the east of England, so this helped to create a new building that sympathetically suited its local environment.

 

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Granny Annexe are also available to provide a range of optional landscaping services, including decking areas, patios and general landscaping. This all adds to the usability of your annexe allowing you to enjoy the garden and annexe from day one. We will be able to advise you on the best way to maximize the use of your annexe and garden and discuss how landscaping can help you to create the perfect annexe surroundings.

 

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However, we don’t just build the skin of your building and leave you to do the rest. We provide a complete turnkey service including all decorating, fittings and fixtures and of course, a beautiful kitchen. All of our kitchens come with quality appliances from AEG, including ceramic hob & splash back, multifunction oven and integrated fridge and dishwasher. It is possible to choose from a range of kitchen doors and worktops, sinks and lighting. We can help you every step of the way to design your perfect kitchen.

 

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Flooring options are also possible, here our customer chose laminate oak wood flooring which gives a modern and luxurious feel to the kitchen, white kitchen units add to the prestige feel, creating a kitchen space anyone would be proud of.

 

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Our buildings provide a great deal of convenience for our customers, en-suite bathrooms with walk-in showers are a popular option, providing great comfort, stylish design and easy access. Different tiling options are available, the above photo illustrates our standard white tiles adding a light and contemporary feel.

 

While it’s fresh in your mind why not download a free Granny Annexe brochure

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Are Granny Annexes an answer to the care crisis?

Can the answer to the elderly care crisis be a granny annexe in the garden? A growing number of people believe it is with the numbers being built surging in the last few years.

  • Increase in families choosing an annexe over more expensive care home options
  • The number of annexes built in UK has increased by 50% in last 4 years
  • Research shows life quality is much improved when families stay close together

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When we look back at many of our past projects one of the key requirements for building a granny annexe in the garden is to provide an independent living solution that also allows for the added security of having family close by. Families can provide help if necessary and can also benefit from the extra support from grandparents for babysitting etc. When we build a home in the garden, we always pay close attention to the requirements of the whole family and take great strides in order to get everything just right.

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David and Jen, who we built a property for in Perthshire, were kind enough to take part in a short interview to talk about the reasons they decided to move into their new home. Having moved from South Africa, they found that they were spending a lot of their time looking after their grandchildren at their daughter’s house, while still living at their flat. For them, it made a great deal of sense to pool together their resources and move into an annexe so they could be close to family and spend more time together.

For David and Jen, their new home is a dream come true, its light, airy,  clean and perfect for their needs. It has changed their lives in a number of ways. Being so close to their grandchildren means that they now see each other a lot more, their other children are also able to visit more often, and David and Jen no longer need to travel long distances each week. They chose a traditional white render for their building and large folding doors to provide ample light and to give them a great view of their garden to enjoy watching the grandchildren play.

Granny Annexe, Basildon

The desire to keep hold of an independent style of living and the ever-increasing cost of care homes means that annexes have become a very popular option for families. Many families have turned to them as an alternative to care home costs. Not only are they relatively low cost to construct, but they also add extra value to the home whose garden they are built in.  They are thought to add at least 10% to the value of the main house. Also, they needn’t just be for the elderly, many of our buildings are now being built for the younger generation who might not be able to afford their own place or built as extra accommodation, possibly for Airbnb rental, au-pairs, or just as a spare room. This variation of use indicates why they are a top-selling feature for many new homebuyers.

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How to care for a rapidly ageing population is one of the most pressing issues that our country faces and maximizing the use of people’s gardens to help support and care for elderly relatives is an idea that is really catching on. Of course in some circumstances moving to a care home might become a necessity, but the majority of elderly people wish to maintain their independence for as long as possible.

The cost of building an annexe is relatively lower than a lot of other building work. This is due, in part, to the fact that land is already obtained and the methods used for construction. We use SIP panels, which mean they are structurally very strong and insulated, while also being fast to erect and lower cost than brick building methods.

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At Granny Annexe we pride ourselves on the fact that we are able to create a bespoke solution for our customer’s needs. We build properties that are a number of sizes, looks and layouts, as all our customers have their own unique requirements. This recently constructed building in Surrey shows how our designs vary, with a more modern cedar cladding and grey framed windows, it provides a chic and comfortable home for its new owner. With an external area of 51.96m2 there is plenty of space and large folding doors bring in plenty of light.

Whatever your requirements we are always here to discuss your ideas and to help you with your decision. With over 10 years experience building for our customers are very happy to answer any questions you might have. We hope that we can help provide a solution to your families housing needs, and bring your family closer together.

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