What you need to know before converting your garage
Many homes benefit from having a garage, many are integral, but more often than not modern cars are too large to sensibly park in the garage. This typically leaves the garage as a bit of a dumping ground and wasted space.
A good option is to convert the garage and make it an extension of your home. This could be a more cost-effective way of gaining more living space than a traditional extension so worth considering. A garage conversion can also add value to your home and shouldn’t affect your council tax banding. Do bear in mind here, though, that if parking is at a premium in your street, converting the garage might be detrimental to the saleability of the house.
As you’d expect, however, it isn’t always a straightforward process and there are things you will need to take into account before starting to convert your garage.
The first thing you need to understand is whether you need planning permission for your conversion. Typically the conversion would be considered a permitted development but if your garage is stand alone you might need to apply for a change of use or if you live in a listed building you will almost certainly need planning permission. Make sure you fully understand any planning conditions or restrictive covenants attached to your garage which might prevent you from being able to convert it. It is not advisable to start your conversion project before you understand the planning implications so please check with your local planning authority
Building Regulations Approval
Even if you don't need planning permission you will need to satisfy building regulations. You will need to notify the local council of your project by submitting a building notice or full plans application and have the final conversion inspected and certified by a building inspector. Aspects that will be inspected and will need approval include:
· moisture proofing
· escape routes
· structural soundness
DIY or professional
If your budget is limited you might want to consider planning and carrying out the conversion yourself. Before you go down this route, though you need to be confident you have the rights skills and knowledge to do the job properly. Another option is to employ a builder or even bring in a garage conversion specialist company. The use of a reputable builder or company should make the process a lot easier for you. Certainly, a professional will be able to advise you on the following important aspects:
· suitability of current foundations
· Electrical installation regulations
· Insulation requirements
· Fire safety
· Structural requirements
Undertaking the conversion yourself is not a matter to take lightly so please ensure that you have the budget should you need to use a professional. Typical costs for a basic garage conversion are around £6,500 to £13,500
Any professional that you use should have their own insurance to cover the building work but make sure you check that they have professional indemnity insurance before you employ them.
You will also need to check with your own home insurance before you start the work as building works can invalidate your insurance, it’s best to check you are covered. You might need to take out specialist additional insurance if your home insurer won’t cover you.
As you can see, there are real benefits to converting your garage but it isn’t always a straightforward process. By making sure you understand your obligations and the relevant regulations you will be able to ensure that your conversion goes without a hitch and you can enjoy your new home space without any problems.
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