Frequently asked questions
When can you start?
It usually takes a week to prepare a quote, following a client's enquiry and follow-up visit to take measurements and a full brief. Once the quote has been accepted, we allow four to six weeks for timber orders to be delivered to site and accessories to be produced to specification.
Should planning consent be required, then we're at the mercy of the local authority!
How long will it take?
Depending on what is to be built, our commissions usually take between one and three weeks to create. We will give an estimate at the time of the quote.
How far will you travel?
We build tree houses, cabins, adventure areas and other structures from Scotland to the Mediterranean.
If you want a rope bridge to be made to measure so you can put it up yourself we will have it delivered to your site.
Do I need planning permission?
This is a grey area! The simple rule of thumb is that if the apex of the roof is over 4 metres high, then technically you need planning consent. However, this is a temporary structure and as such, if it's for private use, hidden from view and not overlooking neighbours, planning is not usually required. If someone takes exception to the structure for whatever reason, once built, and informs the Council, you will almost certainly have to apply for retrospective planning.
If you are enquiring about a structure that will be used by the public or for holiday lets, you will definitely need to apply for planning consent. We can provide plans for your application.
If we decide to apply for planning permission will you do the application?
Yes. We are happy to be involved in the process from start to finish. There will be specific costs involved:
Planning application fee
Cost of the elevation drawings
What maintainance is needed?
All the timber we use is pressure-treated and will last many years, but like any building, particularly wooden, the more you look after it the longer it will last. We suggest a thorough clean of the deck every year to remove dead leaves, etc, and then a complete coating with a clear wood preservative over the whole structure, making sure all the nooks and crannies are well and truly soaked. The advantage of using a colourless preservative is that you can be very generous in your application. Wood rot mainly happens in joints where the timber remains wet. If you have gutter on a treehouse, it's important to clear these regularly in the Autumn.
Do I need a tree?
The simple answer is ‘no, it is not essential’. We have built some wonderful free standing structures.
We don't recommend building a treehouse with the trunk rising through the middle as it takes up so much space that the dimensions will need to be large enough to allow room for manoeuvre. Trees are usually incorporated into the deck.
Do you attach the tree house deck to the tree?
Yes, we do attach the deck to the tree/s. We use zinc coated screws, which do not react with the sap and do not harm the tree. We have had many site meetings with Council tree preservation officers and all have been content with our methods. To avoid damage to tree roots, we use ground screws for the supporting legs.
What is the tree house made from?
We use Douglas fir for all structural timbers except for legs, where necessary, when we use oak. Pine is suitable for joists, etc, waney edge and feather board is made from larch and cedar (surprisingly!) for cedar shakes for the roof.
Will you design my tree house, even though we have ideas of our own?
Many people have already thought about what they want before we make our initial visit. Almost always the end result is a mixture of your ideas and suggestions. If you would like us to design everything and help you from the first step, that would be our pleasure.
How high do you normally build a tree house?
We normally build between three and five metres off the ground. This is high enough to make everything fun and challenging, but it depends on the age of the users. We have to think not only about our own children but about friends’ children as well. We build many structures lower than three metres and are happy to build them higher if that is what you wish.
Are they safe for children?
We create structures with the ages of your children in mind. If you are totally averse to risk then we suggest keeping it low! The challenge is designing for older children when they have younger siblings. It is impossible to completely satisfy all ages, but bear in mind that young children grow up very quickly and if the structure is too child-orientated, its appeal will be limited. We think it’s better to restrict or supervise the use by younger children and have a ‘set up’ that they will want to use well into their teens.
Can it be insulated, have electrics, log burning stove, water and hot tub, etc?
There is no limit to what we can do in your tree house. It depends on your budget!
Will it be damp?
Any wooden building, from a house to a garden shed, will be damp if it is unused and wihtout heating in the winter.
What will we need to provide for you?
If building in your garden, the team will require three things:
• Access to a loo
We can also bring our own generator if the site is far from amenities.
What if I don’t have a large garden?
We can design something for any situation. The biggest constraint in a small garden is access and height – invading your neighbour’s privacy.
What are the most popular activities?
The most popular are the fireman’s pole and the Burma rope bridge. Swings, monkey bars, zip-wires, ropes, rope ladders and climbing nets are also popular. A tree house tends to be used more by girls than boys.
Are they safe for children?
We create structures with the ages of your children in mind and will happily advise on the suitability of activities. For example, a rope bridge to be used by under 10s can have safety netting to prevent feet coming through the sides. The challenge is to create it for older children when they have younger siblings. It is hard to completely satisfy all ages at the same time, so bear in mind that young children grow up very quickly and if the structure is too child-orientated, its appeal will be limited. We think it’s better to restrict or supervise the use by younger children and have a ‘set up’ that they will want to use well into their teens. Accessories can always be added at a later date.
Most clients with private gardens do not put a safety surface on the ground. Accessories can be where accidents happen. In public situations we add a ‘bark box’ and for a structure 9ft (2.74 meters) off the ground these need to be 8ft 6inches (2.5 meters) away from the base of the activities. This means that in reality you need a generous bark box for even a small adventure area. We would be happy to give you a quote.
All our school adventure areas are built in compliance with