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Garage Conversion

With the costs related to house moving these days, stamp duty, estate agent’s fees, solicitor’s fees, removal fees etc, not forgetting having to relocate the family it will not come as a shock that an increasing number of Consumers who require more living space are staying put and increasing the size of their existing property.

There are options to do this, Loft Conversion, Basement Conversion, Single or Double Home Extension, Orangery or even a Conservatory.

Many Consumers forget to look at the obvious the Garage. How many of us these days use the Garage to put the car in?

In today’s day and age, the Garage is used as a dumping ground or a shed or workshop this however can gain you that extra room which you may desperately need? There is no sacrifice in losing an unused enclosed parking space. Are you using the garage to its full potential?

Some of us have a double garage this has the opportunity for a conversion still giving you the potential of an extra room and storage space.

Let’s face it! The main reason for converting your garage into additional living space is to improve the quality of family life. You also have the bonus that the garage conversion will in time add thousands of pounds to the value of the property and further down the line when the children have flown the nest and it’s time to downsize or even relocate your garage conversion investment having been constructed with the highest quality of materials and the craftmanship of our accredited contractors will ensure you are able to demand the highest market value for the property. Therefore, it is very important to remember the garage conversion must be built to the highest quality you can afford, this is not the time cut corners.

Any types of garages can be converted you may have a single garage, a double garage, integral or even a flat roof constructed garage all can be converted.

If the garage is standalone then usually you will require local authority permission for change of use.

Please remember also, that if you add a second floor this will create even more space, your finances may not stretch to this now but constructing the new garage conversion with the required foundations and load bearing walls does not stop you in extending in the future.

Presumably you are all already considering a garage conversion so you may have decided how the additional space is to be used. However, it’s worth considering all the options before making a final decision.

Some of the most popular choices are:

  • Dining room.
  • Family room.
  • Playroom.
  • Home office/study.
  • Kitchen/utility room.
  • Bedroom with or without en suite facilities.
  • Ground floor accommodation for an elderly relative.
  • Home cinema.
  • Business premises.
  • Music room.
  • Gym.
  • Games room.

You also need to think what services the garage conversion will require together with possible future usage plans. Obviously, there will be a requirement for electricity and heating, but the more flexible the garage conversion is built the more useful the room will become in the future. So, provisions at construction stage for telephone, broadband, sufficient electrical sockets as well as pipework for plumbing and drainage are important issues to think about. The garage conversion may start off as a study but in the future the room may become a self-contained granny annex? Therefore, initial service installation and forward planning is the key to a flexible room.

You may think that using an architect on a straightforward conversion job is unnecessary and extravagant. It certainly isn’t essential, particularly if the conversion is uncomplicated. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that no building job is as simple as it first appears and using an expert can often save you time and money in the long run.

It’s worth bearing in mind that no building job is as simple as it first appears and using an expert can often save you time and money in the long run.

Remember, that you can use the architect as much or as little as you want to, you may wish to just call someone in to talk through your design ideas, or you might prefer to hand over the reins of project entirely, that’s the choice you must make?

Therefore, our service can help you with the following:

  • Define your objectives and interpret your ideas.
  • Develop a design for the conversion.
  • Secure all relevant legislative approvals and certifications.
  • Help you select suitable builders.
  • Obtain competitive like with like quotations.
  • Monitor progress, standards and on-site safety.
  • Arrange any input needed from other design specialists.
  • Oversee the project to completion.

As far as fees are concerned, methods of charging vary. Please discuss this with us and we will go through your options.

The best garage conversion is one that doesn’t look as though it was anything other than a room in the original building. This may sound obvious but if you look around you’ll see plenty of examples where the conversion sticks out like a sore thumb.

In practice, if the conversion is to blend in with the existing house, any windows or doors must be in the same style. Also, any architectural features that have been picked out in the main property should be incorporated in the conversion. The new conversion should be accessed off the main hallway of the house ideally and the floor levels should all run level throughout. We have all seen conversions that run on different levels and this should be avoided whenever possible.

Likewise, the conversion should have similar ceiling height as the rest of the property thus making it part of the property rather than an obvious add on.

The conversion should also:

  • Be centrally heated.
  • Have floor, walls and ceilings thermally upgraded together with a quality infill construction for the garage door opening.
  • Have a floor, external walls and roof that are resistant to weather and ground moisture.
  • Resistant to weather and ground moisture.
  • Have a safe and easy exit route in the event of a fire with an escape window in certain situations.
  • Incorporate ventilation measures to cater for condensation
  • Include additional measures such as mechanical ventilation to prevent excessive condensation if the room is to be converted into a bathroom, shower room, kitchen or utility room
  • Have any gas and electricity services relocated to outside meter boxes.

 If a large garage is to be only partly converted into living accommodation, the new separating wall will be required to achieve thermal insulation equal to a new external wall.

In addition, the conversion will also need to achieve 30 minutes of fire separation.

Most of the information above is covered by building regulations.

As a rule of thumb please remember the main priorities, Windows should match those already in the existing property. The new conversion ideally needs to be accessed off your existing properties hallway. Floor and ceiling levels and heights should reflect those of the existing property.

Planning permission is not usually required for garage conversions, but it is always wise to consult your local planning authority to ensure things are compliant as not all local authorities interpret the regulations in the same way.

There are cases, too, where the local authority or even in the developer covenants permitted development rights have been removed. These situations are very regular with newer housing developments together with conservation areas and barn conversions.

This means it becomes necessary to submit a planning application for developments which would not normally require permissions.

Occasionally, too, planning departments reject a garage conversion because of local pressure on parking, this currently mostly applies to London boroughs but is a trend that is likely to spread to other cities even now or in the future so it is worthwhile exploring all the hurdles that may be in your way.

In fact, local authorities can object to a conversion if they feel that it may add to local drainage problems. Another rejection for planning could be that your property is a listed building.

If you are converting a garage that is separate to the property then permission will be required for change of use.

Building regulations define how alterations are made so that the conversion will be structurally safe, meet legislative energy efficiency standards, be protected from risk of fire and be adequately ventilated. Therefore, in all garage conversions building regulations are required. Without building regulations the conversion will be deemed as technically illegal and you could be faced with significant fines and required by the local authority to turn the garage back to its formal state.

You would have problems if you decided to sell your home since your buyer’s solicitor would require any formal planning approvals together with confirmation that the garage conversion was carried out under building control and the regulations were fully met. 

We have produced a checklist to assist in ensuring all aspects of your project have been covered.

  • Planning permission is not usually required but it makes sense to check as local authorities, vary in their interpretation of regulations.
  • Permission for ‘change of use’ is necessary for garages that do not adjoin the property.
  • Building regulations approval is essential.
  • The finished conversion should look like an integral part of the property and therefore in keeping.
  • Treat our accredited contractors well for best results.
  • Always have a 15% contingency to cover unexpected problems.
  • Be courteous, inform neighbours of your plans so they will know to expect some disruption while the work is carried out.
  • Reassure your neighbours that they won’t experience noise problems from the finished conversion.
  • Using our accredited architects and accredited contractors ensures you are dealing with the professionals. It is advised that you use the services of our accredited Project managers who will ensure you are not in direct dialogue with the contractors and this also ensures our accredited project managers have your interest at heart and will project manage the works from start to finish allowing you to get on with your busy schedules and not have to worry about things.
  • Make sure that the specification is identical on all 3 quotations from our accredited contractors so you can compare like with like and if you are using the services of our accredited project managers, ask them for advice before making the committed decision who to use for the garage conversion project.
  • Check your chosen accredited contractor’s warranties, guarantees, insurance and terms & conditions before giving the go ahead.

 

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