Garage Conversion Guide
What do you use your garage for? If it’s turned into more of a storeroom (or a junk yard for that old exercise bike) than a safe spot to park the car, then maybe it’s time to consider making better use of what could be a valuable asset.
A garage conversion is one of the speediest and most affordable routes to adding floor space: During this pandemic, we have seen many homeowners choosing to convert their garages to get more usable space for their family. One of the surest ways to add more value to your property is to convert this space into another bedroom. This space could also be used for a second living room, home office, home cinema, home gym or a granny annex.
With many garage conversions – particularly integral or attached spaces – most of the work is internal (with the exception of changing the frontage and adding a window or two).This is likely to be considered permitted development (PD), so it won’t usually need formal planning consent.
In some cases, such as in conservation areas, PD rights for this change of use may have been removed – so consult the local authority before you begin. For peace of mind, you could apply for a lawful development certificate. If you do need planning consent before starting your project this will be £234, plus any design fees.
As this type of conversion involves a change of use, a garage conversion will always be subject to the Building Regulations.
An architect will draft plans and submit them to building control. This gives you peace of mind that building control has inspected the drawings and confirmed that – if it’s constructed as per the approved schematics – your conversion will conform to the regs.
Garage conversion costs
Provided the structure is in reasonable condition, this type of project should be more cost-effective than adding an extension or carrying out a loft conversion.
A 15m2 integrated garage in good condition could be renovated for as little as £6,000 (£400 per m2). It’ll cost significantly more to convert a detached building, partly because it’s trickier to bring in services – expect to pay from around £15,000 (£1,000 per m2) to renovate a standalone single garage.
Even this should prove cheaper than most single-storey extensions, which will typically start from around £1,200 per m2. Ultimately, costs will depend on the kind of space you’re creating and the quality of finish you want to achieve.
How long will it take?
You’ll often hear garage conversions hailed as the most time-efficient extension – and it’s true! Doing a garage conversion over a loft conversion or rear extension could shave months off your timings. However, that’s not to say they happen with the snap of the fingers. You’ll still need to undergo planning, building regulations, construction and more.
Firstly, you’ll need to decide who will be designing your new space. Professionals, such as architects, will typically take 2-3 weeks to prepare designs, though this will depend on how quickly you’re able to provide feedback. And if you haven’t got existing CAD drawings (computer-aided-design drawings or AutoCAD drawings you’ll hear them called) of your home, you’ll also need to allow 1-2 weeks for a measured survey to take place.
Next up: planning. If you require planning permission or want to obtain a lawful development certificate, it could take up to 14 weeks. This is because some local authorities can take up to 5 weeks just to give validation and to assign a planning officer. Meanwhile, when it comes to reviewing your application, this almost always takes 8 weeks to reach a decision on.
Following planning is building regulations. Often involving several separate professionals, this can take between 6-13 weeks to finalise. Timings here will depend on the scale of your work, but also whether or not you’ll disrupt a party wall and if you use an approved inspector.
Let’s move onto construction. On average, a garage conversion takes as little as 3-6 weeks. Compare this to a loft conversion (7-10 weeks) or rear extension (10-14 weeks) and you can appreciate why homeowners love how quickly this project can be turned around.
So, there you have it, the ultimate guide to converting your garage. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team today.