A garage is a fantastic means of creating much-needed space. You might transform the room into a personal gym, or into an artistic studio, or even use it as a social hub or work area. The possibilities are endless, and the space can do so much more than serve as a dumping ground for clutter.
Let’s start with some good news: the chances are that you won’t need planning permission to get started with your conversion. Most conversions of this sort are considered permitted developments, unless you’re thinking of extending the structure outwards or upwards.
Exceptions apply if you’re going to be making changes to a listed building, or one that’s in a conservation area. There might also be planning conditions binding the property, stating that the garage needs to be used for parking. Your car insurance might also rely on your car being kept in a garage, which is worth considering.
Habitable spaces are subject to more stringent building regulations than garages. They need to be heat-efficient, for one thing; for another, they need to be well ventilated and structurally sound. A qualified professional will be able to provide insight into what’s required. It’s a near-certainty that you’ll need to remove your garage door, filling the space with masonry. You might also need to expand the walls with an external brick wall, converting them effectively into a cavity wall.
Think about utilities
If you’re going to be extending your central heating, plumbing or electricity into your garage space, then it’s worth thinking about how exactly you’re going to do so before you get started. Make sure that your existing boiler will be able to cope with the extra BTU requirements – you might need to bring in a replacement to keep the property heated. If the existing boiler is already on the way out, then you might consider getting something that’s powerfully enough to deal with future expansions.
When you’re setting down your budget, you should give yourself a little bit of wriggle-room, to deal with unforeseen extra costs. The foundations might need to be reinforced, or the ceiling height raised to compensate for the raising of the floor. By consulting with a structural engineer prior to starting, you might save yourself the cost of any nasty surprises in the long-run.