Garage Conversion

1. Why convert your garage?

The most common reasons for garage conversions are:

  • To create extra living space
  • To add value to your property
There are several different options that are commonly available. If you continue to need storage space, it is usually possible to convert just part of the garage in order to leave storage space for bicycles, lawnmowers, etc. Double garages can be partially converted to leave room for one car. Numerous options are available for the conversion of detached garages as well.

2. Getting Planning Permission for your garage conversion

Local Authorities are concerned with the visual aspect of any development, and how appropriate its intended use is. Any person can make the planning application even if they do not own the land or have any interest in the land. A notice of the application will be published in the local Press and notices displayed at the property. Neighbours and anybody with an opinion are able to view the plans and make comments which the Local Authority will have to take into account.

3. Building Regulations for your Garage Conversion

Building regulations define how a new building or alteration is to be built so that the building is structurally safe, protected from risk of fire, energy efficient and has adequate ventilation for its purpose. An application for Building Regulations approval is not advertised and only the person applying and the Local Authority are involved. Building Regulations approval may be required even if Planning Permission is not. Building Regulations approval is granted by the building control officers of local authorities, they are generally separate from the planning officials.

Once approval has been given and work started, the local building Inspector will attend the site at specific stages to inspect the work, and they may change the requirements as the work progresses. The most common change is probably at the foundation stage when the Inspector will see the subsoil before the concrete is poured. If the inspector deems that the planned depth is insufficient, they can demand that the foundations be deepened before the concrete is laid (and you have to pay for the extra concrete).

4. Attached or integral garages

Often this type of conversion requires little more than the infilling of the existing garage doorway with suitable construction, often largely made up by a window. The infill will need to be supported by either foundations or suitable lintels. Care will need to be taken to ensure that suitable damp proof courses are incorporated to prevent water ingress at the new window reveals and where the new infill abuts the existing walls. In some cases the garage already has cavity walling and the works are therefore substantially reduced. If however the existing garage has single leaf masonry walls with piers there will be additional work to try to improve both thermal insulation and weather resistance. This can be achieved by building new internal blockwork walls, but these will need support and it cannot be assumed that the existing floor will be adequate to support the extra load. If this is the case it may be necessary to excavate new foundations, or expose the existing ones, to ensure proper support to the blockwork. To avoid problems it is common to provide an internal insulated stud wall. If this is to be adopted it is worth considering prefabricating the stud walls in panels to enable a breather membrane and vapour barrier to be incorporated. In addition the piers can be weathered and insulated to reduce cold spots being formed.

4. Finding Tradesmen for your garage conversion

We can help. See our homepage for more details.