Converting a garage into usable living space is an affordable and relatively simple job – but before you start, you’ll need to consider the following:
1. The build quality of your garage
Not all garages can be converted – some are old,shoddily built and could be asbestos ridden. However, if yours was professionally built in the last 25 years, is made of brick or block and is structurally sound, there’s a good chance you could convert it with very little fuss. Start by getting advice from a surveyor at the Building Control department of your local council.
2. The practicalities of the job.
Garages are often on a different level from the house, so you may need to raise or lower floors or ceilings if you want your new room to flow on from the rest of your home. The garage door will need to be replaced with a window and matching bricks, so make sure your builder has access to materials that blend in with the rest of your house. You’ll need heating and insulation to make it usable all year round; plumbing, lighting and security also need to be assessed.
3. Building regulations
You’ll need to apply to your council for Building Regulations approval. If you live in a conservation area or want to extend the garage,you’ll also need planning permission. Some councils require it if you’ll be substantially changing the exterior of your house.
4. Getting the work done
If you have an integral garage, the job should be quite simple and could even be taken on by a competent DIYer. If you do it yourself, expect it to cost around £6,000 once it’s been plastered, decorated and furnished. If you need to make structural changes or if your garage is detached, it will be a more complex job involving knocking down walls, for example, and will cost around £12,000 – in this case, you’ll need to contact an architect or a garage conversion company. It can take anything from 10 days to several months to complete, depending on the job.
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