If you want to get a little bit of extra space in the house for a limited purpose – say you need an extra bedroom for a teenager, or a downstairs bedroom for an elderly relative, then a really great way of doing this at minimal cost would be to convert the garage. Even converting a single garage could give you plenty of space for a bedroom and maybe a corner en-suite as well. Depending on the layout of your house – many modern houses have either space behind the garage, or the utility room has been place behind the garage but connected to the kitchen. If you are willing to forgo a small utility room, you could convert that into a wet room where the water supply is already connected. If there is space behind the garage then it might make sense to go to a little extra expense to build a new wet room or en-suite bathroom there as part of converting the garage.
The Advantages Of a Garage Conversion
The great advantage of doing this is that you don’t have to extend the house into the garden. This preserves whatever garden you have (and these days with a modern house it might not be much) and it keeps the converted space inside the existing floor plan of the house which has advantages when it comes to seeking planning permission. Also, you have avoided the (generally) higher expense of a loft conversion.
Normally you will not need to make a planning application; providing that all the new structural changes have been made inside the house and the building has not been increased in size. Converting a garage has always been popular for all of these reasons.
A word of warning. Sometimes the right to convert a garage, or ‘develop’ it in legalese, may have been removed from a property. before starting too much initial planning, it’s always a good idea to check your deeds – these may be held by your building society or your solicitor – to make sure that you are still able to make this change. This is especially true if you live in a conservation area, or if you live in a modern housing estate. This is equally true if you are lucky enough ( or unlucky enough?) to live in a Grade I or Grade II Listed building.
The guidance that we give here should be applied only to houses and NOT flats, maisonettes or other buildings. Please remember, too, that it is that – guidance – and not a legal opinion. You should always make your own enquiries before beginning and conversion project. For full guidance can be found in the Government Planning Portal
Flooring A Converted Garage
Your flooring substrate in the garage almost certainly will be strong enough for domestic use. However, in terms of both damp-proofing and insulation, you will need to upgrade it. A simple damp proof membrane (or heavy duty polythene sheet) will do with a layer of insulating tiles will meet most domestic requirements. If the level of the garage is significantly different from the rest of the house you have several alternatives. You could turn the difference in levels to your advantage and add a thick layer of insulation, or you could replace it with a suspended wooden floor. Either will give you the extra insulation to both meet and Building Regulations and keep your heating bills down.
Providing Adequate Ventilation
Building Regulations will require that your new room or rooms have adequate fresh air ventilation, for health reasons, apart from avoiding damp. Two methods of providing ventilation and usually both will be used. Which type is used will depend on how much ventilation is required and also on the type of room and the use to which it is put. For example, if one of the rooms is a bathroom, then the purge method would be used – this simply means that you need to provide an openable window or possible an extractor fan either in the room if there is no window, or built into the window glass.
The other method is the trickle method where ventilators are built into the window frames. You will probably have to provide both methods but other ways of achieving the same end may be acceptable, if the building control authority agrees. If you need a different solution, or a more cost-effective solution, Belmont can be trusted to find and implement it for you.
This is intended to be a quick and simple guide and is not a definitive source of legal information. It applies only to properties in England and Wales.