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Converting Your Garage

Garage Conversion or Home Office
After working from home for the past year and enduring three lockdowns you might be craving more space! You may be thinking about converting your garage to give the option of a home office or to provide a family room. It can be a relatively cheap way of extending your living space.

The conversion of an attached garage into living accommodation is a great way to add value and increase the habitable space in a house! Without the upheaval and expense of a new extension, it can provide an easier path for increasing your space.

This type of work is controlled under the Building Regulations as a ‘change of use’. As a homeowner, you’re legally required to make an application before commencing the work. Hertfordshire Building Control can offer help and advice on this process and throughout the work.

Things to Consider:

Access – how will get in and out of your new space?
Storage – will you have enough parking or storage space if you convert the garage?
Fit for Purpose – Will converting the garage create enough space for your requirements or would you be better off extending? A single garage will usually provide around 14m2 of living space.
Materials – Is your existing garage an unusual construction? Made from prefabricated panels or a concrete frame?

Will I need Planning Permission?

You don’t usually need planning permission to convert your garage space into a habitable room. However do check with your local planning authority as listed buildings, detached garages, conservation areas, heritage schemes, rights removal, or making your garage into a separate dwelling will need planning permission.

Garage conversion images

Building Control

Once you have established planning, the next step is to apply for building regulations approval before your work starts. All garage conversions require building regulations approval.

Garages are notoriously poorly insulated! With a few steps your new space will become much more cosy!

The floor of your garage is likely to be at a different level to the floor of your house.  Raising or lowering the floor to match your home will need some consideration. Our garage conversions guidance notes cover the four most popular types of flooring. You will probably need to upgrade to ensure the floor is adequate in terms of damp-proofing and thermal insulation.

You’ll want to think about where to place your electrical sockets and your internet connection especially if you’re creating a home office space.

What do Building Control Check?

Foundations – A masonry wall will usually require a new foundation to support its load. Normally this is taken down to the depth of the adjoining house walls. The brickwork or blockwork must be fully toothed and bonded into the existing brickwork.
Thermal Proofing   – Checking the insulation performance of the walls, floor, and room. In addition to being a regulatory requirement, thermal proofing it also makes good financial sense. It will ensure your new space is comfortable and minimise the cost of heating.
Structural Changes – Changes to the roof, new windows, doors, entrances, or walls – both inside and out these affect the overall structure of the space
Ventilation – Ensure a supply of clean air, and avoid any condensation issues. The Building Regulations and Standards require ventilation to be introduced as part of any garage conversion.
Drainage – if your conversion includes a bathroom
Sound Proofing (only if one of the garage walls is a party wall separating neighbouring garages or properties)

What next?

If you need to talk to us about your garage conversion or home office project then speak with our team. Phone 01438 879990 or email us at building.control@hertfordshirebc.co.uk

Our guidance notes on garage conversions go into much more detail, download your notes here.

Also, take look at the new website FrontDoor by the LABC with lots of information on converting your garage.

Do you have a question about Building Regulations?

Speak to one of our Team about your project

Just to stress the importance of leaving building sites safe, the importance of CDM and temporary support! This incident in Bushey over the bank holiday involved two buildings, the injured party was very fortunate. Pleased to be called upon #publicservice #construction @labcuk