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Garage Conversion for Beginners: How to Plan One and Where to Start

With per square meter prices at a premium across the UK, many homeowners are looking at the possibility of maximizing their living area without switching houses.

Lots of people are searching to find those extra inches of space within their homes. From loft conversions to rear extensions, all kinds of home conversions are a terrific way of enlarging your living space.

Garage conversions are another great way to secure the much-needed extra room. As with any other home conversion project, a garage conversion requires careful planning and even better execution to make sure you will make the most of the existing place.

image - Garage Conversion for Beginners - How to Plan One and Where to Start
Garage Conversion for Beginners – How to Plan One and Where to Start

Almost half of the people use their garage units to store junk rather than cars. According to research by RAC Home Insurance, four in ten people can’t fit their car anymore in the garage space due to the amount of clutter.

If you have a garage that you barely use for parking a vehicle – it’s well worth considering a garage conversion.

Converting your garage into a useful room will improve the way you use the house and will add significant value to the property as well.

With the majority of garages in the UK left empty or barely used, estimates suggest that such a conversion can add up to 20% to the value of your property depending on what you do with the garage.

Truly functional in so many ways, a garage conversion is a really nice upgrade to any household. Just like any other home conversion project, it’s of the highest importance to plan it properly and know where to start.

In this article, we’ve covered the most important things you should know before you start with your garage conversion project.


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How Much Will a Garage Conversion Cost You?

Heavily depending on the complexity of the job, the size of the garage, and the type of room you will be converting into, the price of garage conversion projects are nothing compared to the value you will add to the house once the job is finished.

With average prices between £400-£650 per square meter, every garage conversion is different.

One of the most important factors that have a large implication on the cost is the garage size, whether it’s a single car garage of 18m2 or a double-car garage with an average size of 36m2.

Another very important aspect of the process is knowing what type of garage you are willing to transform. In general, there are three types of garages and each one of them brings a different money calculation on the table.

The cheapest variant goes with a garage that is directly built into your home and already is equipped with all the necessary foundations.

A bit more expensive option is the attached garage, the one that is attached to your house either at the side or rear and one that shares at least one wall with the main building structure.

The most expensive garage conversion is the detached garage because such will need additional work such as plumbing, electricity, and heating.

Planning Permissions and Building Regulations

Built-in garage conversions typically fall under permitted development which means that planning permission won’t be required.

Check for any planning conditions attached to the garage when it was constructed, because an application will need to be submitted in order to remove the conditions.

If you are trying to convert a detached garage, you may have to apply for a change of use.

Regarding the building regulations, your constructor will need to stick to them when converting an attached garage into a different type of room.

The building regulations apply to numerous aspects of the construction including thermal performance, ventilation, fire safety, and acoustics.

As soon as an application is submitted, your local building control department will register the garage conversion and carry out inspections during the renovation.

Hiring the Right Professionals

Technically speaking, you could choose to design your garage conversion yourself. However, without having full expertise to carry out a conversion on your own, you will eventually need help along the way.

It’s way more comfortable to go with a registered architect, as one is not an expert in design and aesthetics, but part of an architect’s job is to organize the paperwork and deal with potential implications.

The architect will deal for you with the local building control and adhere to building regulations when they are applicable – a very important part of the journey that could easily be overlooked.

Another thing to have in mind is hiring the services of an experienced structural engineer to inspect the conversed space and to provide professional advice on any additional foundation work required.

What Type of Insurance Will You Need During a Garage Conversion

If you’ve hired a builder, know that they should have their own insurance policy to cover the garage conversion project. Still, do your homework and make sure they have professional indemnity insurance before they start working.

Inform your home insurance provider of the project before you start the conversion. Some major building works may invalidate the home insurance policy, so it pays to check with the provider.

If your home insurer won’t cover you during the project, you may need to take out special additional home insurance during the work.

Once the garage conversion is complete, notify your home insurer. The work will probably increase the value of your property and your premiums may rise.

Are There Any Restrictions Regarding the Type of Room In Which You Will Convert the Garage Into?

Nope, there are none. You can convert to any type of room while you comply with the added regulations regime regarding the ventilation, fire safety, energy-efficiency of the building, and more.

There are a lot of modifications that can take place without any formal paperwork or inspections, just make sure to check with your local authorities in any case.

Final Thought

Make up your mind about the type of room you really need in your household, whether it’s an extra bathroom, a brand new kitchen, or even a new bedroom for the kids.

Plan it well, execute it better, and don’t worry – a well-planned garage conversion is one of the best home conversions that you can go with.


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