Garage conversions have grown in popularity over the last few years, mainly because of the expensive property market and the benefits associated with staying put and improving your home.
What’s essential though is to find out if your garage would be suitable for the plans you’re considering. Without gaining permissions and ensuring the legalities are correct, you could be forced into spending later down the line and be asked to reverse the work completed.
When considering a garage conversion, there are three crucial things to check first off:
- Any restrictive covenants or clauses: Before any work begins on a garage conversion it’s important to go over the property deeds with a fine toothcomb. In fact, it’s not uncommon for regulations to be put in place concerning the external appearance of a property. These regulations can often be removed for a fee, so if they apply to you, contact the developers for more information.
Of course, another way to tackle this problem would be to simply convert the garage without altering the exterior. This can be achieved by converting the front of the garage for storage and using the rear part for more living space.
- Planning permission approval: If there are any plans afoot to extend your garage or if you’re planning to carry out work on a garage separate from the property, you may need to apply for planning permission approval. What is and isn’t allowed will depend on where you live and the type of property, so be sure to contact your local council or planning officer before work commences.
- Building Regulations: No matter where in your home you plan on a conversion, if you’re planning to use the new space for an extra living area you’ll need to meet Government Building Regulations guidelines. Without this you could be forced to restore the conversion back to its original look. On most occasions a building control officer will visit the premises at regular intervals to ensure everything is meeting regulations whilst checking on the progress.The legalities surrounding Building Regulations will change from property to property so it’s best to contact the local council and discuss your plans with a specialist. Otherwise you could hire a reputable contractor, specifically knowledgeable on the subject who can take this task on for you.
Some of the more common Building Regulation pitfalls include:
- If you live in a listed building or within a conservation area. in most instances you’ll be unable to change the exterior look of the property
- If converting your garage will result in drainage complications, such as concreting an area and putting extra strain on existing drainage measures
- When there will be a need for more insulation. Many councils will permit the installation of additional insulation to your existing structure, but others could ask you to dig up the floor and improve insulation measures
- If there are parking restrictions. Throughout the UK there are a number of towns and cities with restrictions placed on parking – London is an obvious example. When this is the case your local council may block attempts to take away the car storage area for extra living space.
Facts & Figures You’ll Love To Share
- A garage conversion will add thousands of pounds to your home’s value and bring much needed space to the property.
- Unless the exterior is altered, on most occasions you won’t need planning permission to convert your garage.
- Garage conversions are a cheaper alternative to moving home which could set you back thousands of pounds in fees and charges.
- A garage conversion can be used for whatever your home needs, including an extra bedroom or bathroom, or an extension to the kitchen.