Can I Convert My Garage?

Garage conversion, General

If you are interested in adding some value to your property, or you’re just looking to create some more usable space in your home, you might be thinking about converting your garage. According to property experts, converting a garage into additional living space can add as much as 10% to the value of your home. Even when you ignore the numbers, garages are more than often just burial grounds for all those items in your life you can’t bring yourself to throw away and very rarely house cars at all. These sorts of garages would be far better off as a conversion.

Using a garage to add to your floorspace avoids using up garden space for an extension and allows you to keep building work relatively separate and so any associated disruption is kept to a minimum too.

“In terms of disruption, 95 per cent of the work is done within the garage,” advises Stuart Letts of Garage Conversion Specialists. “Creating the opening from the house to the conversion is one of the last things which we do to minimise noise and dust, etc.”

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Types of garage

The most common kinds of garage fall into 3 categories – attached, integrated and detached.

In terms of converting the different sorts of garage, each has its own characteristics:

  • Attached or Integrated: Connected to the main structure of the house, sometimes to one side, but also often projecting out from the front of the house with a room above, commonly a bedroom. Attached garages can usually be accessed from inside the house, making the conversion even easier.
  • Detached: Just because a garage is detached does not mean it is not suitable for conversion into living space. However, you are more likely to have to apply for planning permission to change its intended use if it is a separate building.

Sizes of garage

A standard single car garage can give you around 14m² of extra space, so is ideal if you are looking for a large home office, guest bedroom or a downstairs shower room and utility. Depending on the layout of your home it might also offer the potential to extend an existing space, such as your kitchen.

A double garage can add around 28m² and gives you the option of using part of the space for storage or still as a garage and the rest as living space. The same goes for ‘tandem’ garages.

The legal side

  • Check permissions. Check for any restrictive covenants or clauses that may prevent you from making changes that alter the external appearance of your home. Even if you find you are subject to such restrictions, you may still be able to convert the space, retaining the front section for storage and converting the rear area. To find out if there may be an issue, ring your local planning department and give them your address. They can usually tell you over the phone there and then if you are in a Conservation Area or if there are any restrictive covenants that will mean you need planning permission.
  • Before work begins, you must also submit a Building Notice to your local authority or private building control company. They will visit and issue a final certificate to sign the work off at the end. The building inspector will be looking at:
  • ventilation
  • damp-proofing
  • insulation
  • fireproofing
  • fire escape routes
  • structural soundness

 

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