Garage Conversions

Recent problems with getting mortgage approvals have meant that people are much more likely to stay in their homes than they may have done in the past. For those who are wanting more room, a garage conversion might be the perfect answer. Many newer homes have to be built with a garage for planning reasons, however these garages are often very small and are not really good for anything other than storage. What better way to get good use out of this space than to change it into part of your living space.

A converted garage could be used as a new office space, a playroom, a downstairs bedroom or simply an extension of your usual downstairs living space. All types of garages can be converted including detached garages; however these will need more extensive structural changes. In some cases people may decide to convert just half of their garage giving them both a place for their car and a new room. In this case the wall between the garage and the new room will need to have at least 30 minutes of fire separation.

Planning Permission and Building Regulations

While planning permission may not be required; building regulations certainly will be. The structure will need to be checked to ensure it is both capable of supporting a new window and that it meets environmental regulations. Insulation is likely to be required to bring up the standard to those required inside the home. A means of escape will also be required as will good ventilation, particularly if a bathroom or kitchen is to be installed.

Because converting a garage does not change its use and does not add to the volume of the building, planning permission is rarely required. Despite this, it is always a good idea to check with the local planning department in case special restrictions have been put in place for your home. Some homes require a certain amount of parking for vehicles and your garage may form part of that and cannot be removed.

Things to be aware of

  • If you decide to employ a contractor to do your garage conversion for you (and this is recommended), you should to get at least three quotes and go with the person who you feel you will get on with and trust the most.
  • The conversion should be done is such a way that you will find it hard to know that a garage was ever there at all. The best way to achieve this is to ensure that the front of the building matches perfectly with the rest of the house in terms of the style of window and type of brick.
  • The converted room should have the same floor level and ceiling heights as the rest of the house. You need to ensure that the central heating and electricity supplies are continued from the main house. An electrician and gas engineer will need to complete this work.
  • Make sure the insulation is to the same level as the rest of the house.
  • Keep all of your receipts and documentation for when you sell your home. You will need to show that it has been carried out correctly.

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