How to plan a garage conversion
A garage conversion will add space and value to your home, but do you need planning permission? And what about building regulations approval? Read on to find the answers to these questions and many more!
Why should I convert my garage?
If your garage is more of a dumping ground than a place to park your car, why not clear it out and convert it into an additional living space? You’ll add square inches and value to your home and, unlike adding a side or rear extension, you won’t have to sacrifice precious garden space. Plus, much of the work is done inside the garage so disruption will be kept to a minimum.
What’s the first step to converting my garage?
First, decide how you’re going to use your garage conversion. For example, if your garage is adjacent to your living room, consider converting it into a home office, a cinema room or a playroom. If it’s attached to your kitchen, why not knock through to create a larger, open-plan space? Alternatively, convert it into a utility room complete with space for laundry appliances and extra storage.
Do I need to apply for planning permission to convert my garage into a living space?
You don’t usually need planning permission – providing that the work is all internal and doesn’t involve enlarging the building. That said, it’s wise to check with your local building authority if you live in a conservation area or in a listed building. And if you plan to convert your garage into a separate house, then it’s likely you will need planning permission.
Do I need building regulations approval for a garage conversion?
Building regulations approval is different from planning permission. It’s about making sure proposed home improvements (including garage conversions) comply with safety laws. Typically, these apply to quite a few aspects of the construction, including doors and windows, drainage, electrics, walls (internal and external) and roofs. Check out Planning Portal for further details.
How do I get building regulations approval?
There are two possible routes: a building notice or a full plans application. If the work you’re planning is uncomplicated, you can submit a building notice to your local authority. The advantage of this is that you won’t need to supply detailed drawings for approval and work can start almost immediately.
If you need to check whether your plans meet building regulations before work begins, submit a full plans application to your local authority. You’ll need to do this well in advance of when work is due to start on site. The benefit is that potential problems are addressed before work begins, avoiding any costly mistakes.
I need help with my garage conversion. Who can I ask?
The answer depends on several factors. Namely, the complexity of the project, your understanding of the rules and regulations, your DIY skills and your availability. For example, if your budget is limited but your time isn’t, you may wish to put your planning and DIY skills to the test. However, if you need help visualising your new space and carrying out the work, then a builder will be able to guide you.
Alternatively, you could contact a garage conversion specialist who will take care of every aspect of the project from concept to completion. If you decide to call on a professional, be sure to view completed projects and speak to past clients before committing yourself.
Featured image: A kitchen created from the garage of a mews house by Cue.
Want more? Recently we’ve put together a whole series of blogs on home renovation. Make sure you check out the others here to help you plan your project.