We’ve been converting garages for a long time so we know a thing or two by now. The most common garage conversion mistakes are completely avoidable. If you employ and expert you’ll make sure you don’t fall into these traps.
These are our top 5 most common garage conversion mistakes
- Make sure you know if you need building control. You almost always will. Any quality builder will take care of this for you but be very careful if someone tells you you don’t need it. If you’re changing your garage into habitable space then you will need to meet building control regulations. This is usually all included in the quote and a good quality builder will have their own strong relationships with the local building control officers. You should expect periodic inspections and to receive a building control certificate at the end of your project.
- Don’t scrimp on insulation. Most garages have at least 2 or 3 external walls which make them susceptible to being cold. Building regulations will specify a high level of insulation anyway (and all builders should be complying) but if it’s recommended to increase this then take the advice. The upfront cost of the insulation will be paid for quickly with lower heating bills. It’s much harder to add additional insulation at a later date than whilst the build is taking place.
- Don’t underestimate the cost. Your contractors should include all the costs in their quote including VAT, building control certification, all materials and labour in a clear and open fashion. Short quotes, with very little details should ring alarm bells. The quote usually forms the basis of the contract so it’s a very important document. You should be clear on exactly what is included and what isn’t. If you have any queries your contractor should clear them all up with you before beginning the job. A quote that is significantly lower than others is cause for alarm. See this independent information on average garage conversion prices (https://www.myjobquote.co.uk/costs/garage-conversion-cost). If a contractor is quoting less than the costs of materials and labour for a fully compliant job then they’re cutting corners somewhere. Check reviews and testimonials such as Which? Trusted Traders (https://trustedtraders.which.co.uk/businesses/midland-garage-conversions-midlands-ltd/#reviews) and the contractors own testimonial page (https://midlandgarageconversions.co.uk/garage-conversion-testimonials/)
- Don’t think you can do it yourself. There’s a lot more involved than many people think and it’s not a job for the DIYers or friends and family. There are building regulations to meet, health and safety issues, wiring, plumbing, plastering and drainage. There will usually be work that can only be undertaken by a qualified person such as the wiring and gas works. You will end up spending more and taking many times longer than getting an expert in.
- Think carefully about what you want – don’t rush your decision and explore your options. You need to work out why you need the extra space and how to best achieve that. You may want to add a small ensuite to an extra bedroom or knock through the walls to create an open plan kitchen. Whatever your ideas are, you should discuss these in detail with your contractor. They should have plenty to offer in terms of ideas and experience.