There’s no doubt that a garage conversion can transform your home, giving you much needed extra space, right where it’s needed – on the ground floor. So what’s involved in turning a cold, underused garage into a comfortable, liveable space? It may be simpler than you think. Abbey can help you at every step.
Find out if your garage is suitable for conversion
The first step towards converting you garage is to find out whether or not the space is suitable for conversion. That includes checking that there aren’t any restrictions which rule this out. It’s also important to assess what might be involved by checking the structure can be converted into liveable space, for example that the foundations can support the additional load of lined walls, ceilings and partitions.
Set out your vision with design drawings
Make sure that you’re clear about the finished outcome before you begin, with design drawings that show how the garage will be transformed into a seamless part of your home.
At this planning stage remember that externally, brickwork, materials and windows must be a good match to the rest of the house. Internally you’ll want to ensure the spaces flow well so that using the new space will become a real pleasure.
Check whether Planning Permission is needed for your garage conversion
The majority of garages, that sit within the footprint of the house, can be converted into living space under the rules for Permitted Development. This makes garage conversions one of the most straightforward ways to improve your home.
The exceptions to this include listed buildings and buildings in designated areas such as conservation zones. Some homes are also subject to restrictive covenants detailed in the deeds of the property or previous planning permission rulings which mean that a garage conversion does not fall within permitted development rights. For these situations, Planning Permission is necessary to ensure the conversion can proceed and that any work is appropriate for the property.
Confirm the fine details and notify Building Control
Scaled drawings and a scope of works document will confirm what the finished project will be like, right down to the position of lighting, radiators and power sockets.
Converting a garage into living space is a ‘change of use’. This means that any building work must comply with Building Regulations (which ensure buildings meet required standards). This entails submitting a Building Notice before work proceeds. Building Control will inspect the works to make sure that everything is satisfactory. That normally means a visit at the outset, and a further visit at the end to confirm that building works have met the required standards.
Watch the conversion project take shape
With your design agreed and any consents in place, the conversion project can get underway. The garage will be stripped back to its core structure. Structural alterations can then go ahead including knocking through to the house. Often garage floors are lower than the rest of the house so where possible this should be brought level. Insulation must be installed for the walls, new floor and roof if’s single storey. Extra windows will bring in natural daylight.
As the project nears completion, first fix joinery, wiring and plumbing take place. The room and ceiling will be plastered for a smart, clean look. The transformation into a liveable space is completed with light fittings, architrave, skirting boards, doors, floor finishes and decoration.
When the building project has been completed the standard of work will be confirmed by Building Control. You can then furnish your new room and enjoy using all that extra space.
Abbey Building Services and Maintenance can provide practical advice and design ideas for garage conversions. We will support you with any consents and notifications. Then our local craftspeople can take your underused garage and transform it into a new space that’s an integral part of your home.
To make your home function more effectively, chat to Richard Bamforth at Abbey on 07818 061505 or send an email.