GARAGE CONVERSIONS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
A garage conversion can be one of the most cost-effective ways of adding extra space to your home as well as adding value to your property. A well-planned conversion typically takes less time and money to complete than a similar sized extension. If your garage rarely houses a car and is just a store for little used items you can’t bear to throw away, then converting the space could be a far better solution.
Added advantages over an extension are that you won’t lose any garden space, all the work will be contained within one area and disruption to home life should be kept to a minimum as 95% of the work will be carried out inside the garage. The ‘knock through’ to the existing house usually being one of the last stages of the conversion.
There are typically three types of garage; attached, integrated and detached. Attached or integrated garages are connected to the main house, sometimes to the side, or projecting out from the front with a bedroom above. An attached garage can usually be accessed from inside the house so makes conversion simpler.
A detached garage can still be suitable for conversion however as you would be changing its use you would need to check with your local council planning department whether a conversion would be outside permitted development rights.
Rights to convert
Occasionally you may find you don’t have the right to convert your garage. This might be because the council wants to retain parking areas to prevent street parking or because of the aesthetics of the street frontage. If you live in a conservation area you may also find restrictions on making adaptions to your property. Take a look at the planning portal interactive house for more guidance.
A typical single garage provides around 14m2 of space. This is enough to create a large home office, downstairs shower and utility rooms or playroom. If you are fortunate enough to have a double garage - around 28m2 of space, you have the option to retain enough room for a single garage as well as converting some to living accommodation.
All garage conversions need building regulations approval and before work begins, you will need to submit a building regulations application.
Once your application is approved you will need to contact your building control surveyor so that they can make regular site visits as work progresses. They will need to check the correct doors and windows have been used, that the right drainage is in place and that all the structural elements are suitable for your new room.
One of the main areas that will concern your building control surveyor is the type and depth of foundation of your current garage. Often, they are too shallow to support the additional weight of a new wall, window or door where the garage door used to be. If the conversion is to be double height the foundations need to be even deeper. Your builder will need to dig out new foundations and perhaps talk to a structural engineer to ensure the new foundations are sufficient to take the new load.
A garage isn’t built to be warm and cosy and needs ventilation and airflow so at the moment it’s probably draughty too. As you don’t want your new room to be like this the floors, walls and roof of your garage will need to be insulated and improved to meet the minimum requirements for thermal energy efficiency. These rules also apply to the windows and doors you use.
If you are going to change the roofline, install new windows, doors, entrances or walls - both inside and out these affect the overall structure of the space and will need to be looked at by building control too.
If your garage conversion is going to include a bathroom or toilet you will need to have good access to drainage and ensure that sewers are correctly used. You should also check whether your garage has been built over existing drains - if you don’t have household plans, you can try contacting your water authority who should hold this information.
A garage conversion is a great way to increase your living space and if you’d like to discuss your project with our team please get in touch. You’ll just need to find a new place to hide all your junk!