The garage in many homes is an often unused, dilapidated part of the home that is overlooked. However, with a little work a garage can become an affordable and elegant solution to adding some more space to your home. From home theatres to man-caves, garage conversions can be a home away from home.
Garages are incredibly versatile spaces these days. Many homes used to store cars in their garage, but nowadays this space can end up being relatively useless and filled with clutter. Too often is a garage used for old workout equipment, fish tanks and other hobbies that people have grown tired of.
Today, a garage can be a fantastic way to maximize the space you have on your property. Better still, with a little investment your garage can drastically increase the value of your property. If your garage is connected to your home, then installations such as glazed doors can create natural light and make your space feel roomier.
A garage conversion can open up a host of options for your home, from kitchens to playrooms to an additional bedroom. One of the more popular options that people tend to go with is a lounge-extension. This can prove to be very useful if you have children growing into their teens. The additional space and privacy can turn a garage into an entertainment room for them. Alternatively, a garage space is perfect for an office space. The best part is the minimal investment required for the dramatic rise in floor space, especially when compared to a loft conversion.
Garage Conversion Permission
A garage conversion involves a few legal steps before it can officially move forward. Failure to comply with these steps could result in you having to return everything to its original condition. There are three aspects to take into consideration before starting work on any garage conversions, listed below:
1. Restrictive Clauses: You must check your property deeds for ‘restrictive covenants’. Certain developments will have a restriction in place on any building work that will alter the external look on the property. If you find such a clause, contacting the developers can usually result in retracting this clause for a fee. Alternatively, you can attempt your conversion through the interior instead of exterior. Generally, this can be done by retaining the front of your garage as a storage space and converting the remainder of the space.
2. Planning Permission: In order to start any work on your garage conversion, you will most likely need to apply for planning permission. Usually, this is only necessary if the dimensions of the garage will change, however the best rule of thumb is to check with your local authority.
3. Building Regulations: If your intent is to convert your garage into a ‘living space’, then you will have to comply with your local building regulations. This involves a building control officer inspecting your build at several points throughout its construction. For more information regarding building regulations, you can look at the government’s website here. Although regulations vary from council to council, certain circumstances will be denied across the board. These include:
● Your building or neighbourhood is listed. In these situations, it is usually the case that no changes can be made to the external appearance of the building.
● If your conversion will affect drainage in any way. Using concrete over your garden area, for example, will put more pressure on existing drainage and would require you to fix this concern.
● If you require any additional insulation. Depending on your council, you may be able to just add the insulation, whereas others will ask you to dig up the flooring and insulate from scratch.
● If there are parking restrictions in place. In areas that deal with parking shortages, such as London, councils can and will refuse permission if you store your vehicle there.
Garage Types And Suitability
Garages come in many different shapes and sizes. From a conversion standpoint, there are four different categories of garage:
● Single Garage: A single garage is measured by a space that will add around 150 square feet of floor space.
● Double Garage: With a double garage, you can convert the entire area, or the nearest side to your property. An entire conversion usually adds around 300 square feet of additional floor space.
● Tandem Garage: Similar to a double garage, a tandem garage works best if you convert only the rear of the space.
● Standalone Garage: A standalone garage is a unique case in that you may require building permission to convert it.
Converting your garage has a host of benefits that makes the most out of your property. Firstly, and most importantly, a converted garage creates more living space to use. Most garages, pre-conversion, are not insulated or powered with electricity which makes for a cold, dark living experience. Your conversion can completely renovate this space into a new living space without the added expense of converting a roof or basement. These types of conversions are also an excellent investment, as they can make your property value rise a great deal with little exterior modifications.
The biggest problems associated with these conversions are the loss of space if you actually use your garage for things like storage, as well as the potential work required to heat the garage. Depending on the situation, a garage conversion may cost a great deal more than a loft conversion.
For more information on garage conversions, or an estimate, please get in touch today by phone or email.