NEWS & EVENTS

26/02/2016

Viewpoint: Demand for leisure sheds shows no sign of slowing

Leisure sheds article header

"Sheds are a great blank canvas and can, in theory, be used for just about anything with some tweaks. They're usually well connected, especially if originally intended for distribution, and surrounded by yards which make for great parking spaces. They offer huge potential for large scale activities, are not usually surrounded by residential properties which can put restrictions on use, and they're cheap, so it's easy to see why they're an attractive option.

"A lot of these operations are small-scale or independent businesses, with many owners acting upon a great idea, but having little commercial property experience, so professional advisors can add genuine value to their business plan. Alongside an application for change of use and securing funding, the operator must look at the adaptations that will need to be made when it comes to services and the building fabric.

"Most are housing activities which produce heat - either from the participants themselves or the equipment being used. The heating, insulation, ventilation and climate control in place for a storage and distribution warehouse is not likely to be adequate for a consumer use, and installation of insulation, air conditioning or natural ventilation may be advised.

"The power usage of the new operation may exceed that of the building's original use and could require boosting. This is something which can be done in negotiation with the electricity supplier, with a view to both current and potential future requirements. If there is the chance they could expand their range of activities, putting the services in place at the very start is going to be more cost-effective.

"Office or café space could be created with the installation of a mezzanine floor, and the bathroom or changing facilities will need to be improved and extended to meet the demands of the increased number of visitors the building will receive.

"The entrance to a warehouse is usually fairly non-descript, so the creation of a customer-friendly reception area is an investment many will make. A comprehensive design would involve using lighting, heating, decoration, floor covering and furniture to create the welcoming space, often distinct from the activity floor beyond.

"Such adaptations are not going to cost the earth but they will make the snowdome, race track, jump park or football pitch less of a 'shed' and more a place people will want to come regularly and spend their time and money."

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