Is Your Garage Suitable?
Firstly you should ensure that converting your garage will not create any problems for you. Have you got somewhere safe to store the belongings you keep in the garage? Do you park your car there and if so, do you have a viable alternative? For most people the space in the garage is underused and the property kept in there will fit easily into a garden shed or similar.
The second consideration is the layout. Is it attached to the main house? Will you be looking to create a bigger open plan space or just a door through to your new room? Will there still be outside access? Most garages follow a straightforward format and are easily absorbed into the the main fabric of the house but if you’re unsure then talk it through with your garage conversion specialist.
Do I need Building Control?
Usually, yes you do. In the vast majority of cases building control will be required. What this means is a certified building control officer will make an application to the council on your behalf. They will then inspect the works periodically and perform a final inspection at the end, after which you will receive your official building control certification. Your garage conversion specialist should liaise directly with the building control officers throughout the whole build to ensure all specifications and requirements are adhered to before the conversion is complete.
What other permissions do I need?
It is rare to need planning permission for a garage conversion but it is your responsibility to check with your local authority. For the most part it falls within permitted development rights and does not require planning. You should also check there are no restricted covenants on your home, although you can often overcome these for a small fee. A good contractor should be able to advise you on how to check if any of these apply to your project.
Will it add value?
Invariably the answer is yes. A habitable living space is of course more valuable than an unlivable storage space. Once you consider the cost of the conversion against the increase in value you usually find about a 25% uplift from the amount spent. Because it’s a lot cheaper than an equivalent sized extension it’s a very cost effective way to add both value and space to your home.
How do I choose my contractor?
Whilst it is possible to project manage individual trades yourself it would be advisable to get an expert in to quote for the whole project. Your contractor should have specific experience of garage conversions. They need to be completely up to date with current legislation, able to make suggestions and overcome any hitches along the way. We’d recommend someone who will deal with all the building control and electrical certification. Make sure your quote covers everything (including VAT) and is broken down into individual elements with a clear description of each stage and what it involves. If a quote is a page long it’s really not enough. Your contractor should be willing and able to answer any questions and be totally transparent about the contract before you sign.