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Garage Conversions Buyers Guide

Garages are often full of unwanted items that you believe may come in useful in the future. It may start off with an old TV or sofa that you aren’t quite ready to throw away, but a garage can soon become a dumping ground for old clothes, toys and gadgets. Converting your garage will provide extra space in an area that isn’t being fully utilised. Converting an existing garage makes perfect sense as the foundations are already in place, which means that building work can be fairly straight forward and will not require new walls or a new roof to be built.

We have provided a guide to converting your garage so you can successfully plan your building works.

The good news is that garage conversions do not usually need planning permission if the work is carried out internally as this is considered a permitted development. There are always exceptions to the rule, so if your garage is a listed building, in a conservation area or you are extending the existing building in anyway planning permission will be required. Sometimes permitted development rights have been removed from some properties with regard to garage conversions, particularly if you live in a new housing development. There may be other circumstances when planning permission is necessary, so it is always best to contact your local authority to check.

Building regulations do apply for garage conversations. Building regulations make sure that your building work is safe, healthy, accessible and energy efficient. Depending on the amount of work that is required will depend on the regulations that will need to be met.

If you are converting your garage into a liveable area you will need to make sure that the appropriate insulation has been installed. The ceilings, walls and floor need to have a certain ‘U’ standard in order to meet building regulations. The U value will measure how much heat is lost through the bricks, timbre, and construction etc, in one hour over a square metre. It is measured in watts. The lower the U value, the better the level of insulation. Windows have to achieve a particular thermal performance U value as well and have vents fitted.

The foundations of your garage will need to support a certain weight so new foundations may need to be laid or work carried out on existing walls. When designing these foundations you will need to consider nearby trees, the type of soil you have and whether drain and sewer pipes will need to be installed or extended. Flooring may need to be damp proofed, appropriate ventilation must be installed and electrics must be fitted safely by a qualified electrician. 

These requirements can be confusing but they need to be followed. Qualified tradesmen will make sure that all building regulations are met and ensure all requirements are adhered to. 

Building regulations are in place to ensure your conversion is safe and liveable; they are not there to trick you or make life more difficult. If building regulations are followed they will make your garage conversion straight forward and cut down the likelihood of additional work needing to be carried out during the building work or in the future. You want your conversion to last!

Remember that your new room will need decorating and new furniture fitted, so leave enough money in order to do this.

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