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More often than not, a home garage is a redundant space used for one of two things:
Garage conversions allow you to put the area to much better use and will enable you to make the most of every penny that you spent on your home. With a bit of rejuvenation, a garage remodel transforms the empty shell into a living space that can be loved and used for many years to come.
If you can’t, or don’t want to move homes for whatever reasons, but you need extra living space, renovating or extending will add space and value to your home, but they can also make your home feel ‘like new,’ without the slog of relocating.
Loft conversions are usually a first-thought for adding extra space when an extension is not feasible, but they aren’t always ideal. If the loft space isn’t adequate, planning permission isn’t approved, or just because the homeowner needs extra living space on the ground floor, loft conversions don’t always make the cut – welcome, garage renovations.
To convert your garage would cause a lot less disruption than an attic conversion, but don’t underestimate the level of planning, tweaking and modification that is required before you can deem your garage as a suitable living space. Garages are not designed with habitable purposes in mind, so there will be endless considerations to assess before it is of a liveable standard.
As with any major home improvements, you should have a professional, or team of, to head the project to ensure you achieve the most comfortable garage room at the end of your renovation.
So, you like the idea of a garage makeover, but how do you execute your garage conversion plans? We’ve answered some of your burning questions below…
Generally speaking, converting your garage will fall under permitted development. Permitted development allows you to make alterations to your home without the need to apply for planning permission, so long as the construction work satisfies a number of specified criteria.
Permitted Development Rights are usually applied when there are no structural changes being made to the exterior of the property, but it is ALWAYS worth having a qualified surveyor or member of your local authority come and assess your home and the proposed project before you commence any work – this can be costly to undo!
If you are undergoing a basic garage makeover and staying within the confines of the current skeleton, it is highly likely Permitted Development Rights will stand. However, the main exception to permitted development rights are those who live in a Conservation Area – regardless of the severity of your work, it is highly likely you will need to apply for planning permission, this sometimes even applies for interior cosmetic modifications.
Irrespective of whether your garage renovation requires planning permission, this type of project falls into the ‘change of use’ category. When your garage was initially designed and built, it wasn’t done so with habitable purposes in mind, which is why there will be a list of building regulations and criteria that your garage remodel must comply to before it can be deemed a living space.
Your architect or surveyor will be able to provide you with an extensive and detailed list of any required building regulations and the reasons why they are required, but as the basics, building regulations to convert a garage to a living space will generally consider:
One of the biggest appeals of opting for a garage renovation over a loft conversion is the MUCH cheaper price tag when assessing garage conversion costs. Where a loft conversion generally costs somewhere in the region of £20,000, you can often complete a full garage renovation for anywhere between £5,000 and £8,000 whilst still having the same desired effect and adding extra living space to your home.
When creating a garage with living space, you want to utilise every possible inch of the garage and make the most of the space available to you. The surest way of achieving maximum space utilisation is through working with an architect.
An architect transforms spaces for a living, both large and small spaces, and they will have many insider hacks to maximise space that us regular folk probably wouldn’t think of. Your architect will work on some fully annotated garage conversion floor plans so you can see your vision start to come alive before the work even begins and you will have the opportunity to make any suggestions that you see fit.
What are The Main Considerations When I Convert a Garage to a Living Space?
When converting your garage into a habitable space, it is highly unlikely that you will need to obtain garage conversion planning permission, especially if the shell of the garage has already been built. However, you will need to comply with a number of building regulations.
A small handful of the main considerations that must be factored into garage conversion plans include ventilation, heating and insulation; this is where working alongside a professional architect for your garage renovation will also be beneficial.