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Converting The Garage
Author:
Tom Norris

Garage conversions are immensely popular and I’m not in the least surprised because it’s one of the cheapest ways to add on extra living space. The average cost to convert a garage is around 10k for a single garage whereas an extension or loft conversion will set you back anything from 20k /60k depending on your location, specification and the amount of square feet added.

It’s also quick as you could have a garage converted within a couple of weeks whereas an extension will take 6 / 8 weeks or so.

Unless you live in a conservation area or areas subject to clause 4 then you won’t need planning. That said you will still need technical drawings for building control approval so we generally advice that you consult an architect as a means of getting your project off to a good start.



What Should I Convert My Garage To?

The are numerous options as to what you can do with your garage to add extra living space. Guest room, additional living room, study, home office, playroom, gym and home cinema are just some of the more popular reasons why home-owners convert their garage but mostly a garage conversion is carried out because of a change in circumstances.

For example, you might wish to setup a home business, might have an ageing relative that is finding the stairs a bit of a bother or you might simply need an extra w/c, bathroom or utility area.

One point I should make is that you don’t have to convert all of your garage and in certain cases it might be an idea to keep the garage door and a few metres of garage behind it just to be able to store stuff like buggies, golf carts, tools and the like. It’s always handy to have a bit of storage near the front.

If you’re currently considering a garage conversion there are a number of further considerations below that you should pay attention to and in doing so you will be well rewarded.
 



Are You Going To Move House In The Next 5 Years?

Garage Conversion Photos 2It’s an absolute fact that people spend many thousands of pounds adding an extension and doing up their property only to sell within a couple of years. Now the question is, if you knew you were going to move house would you really have:

Well unless you happen to be an architect or interior designer with a finger placed firmly on the current interior design trends then it’s most likely that you will have:

The truth is that many home-owners browse a few websites, read a few magazines and before you know it are off giving instructions to the builders without any real idea if the proposed works will:

Get it into your head that not all home improvements add value. Also, get it into your head that should you decide to spend 100 per metre on limestone flooring or 15k on a kitchen you could have wasted up to 75% of your money as you may not get it back when you sell.

Garage Conversion Photos 3Different styles of properties require different designs when it comes to extending or refurbishing. Just because your large corner settee looked great in your open plan loft apartment doesn’t mean it will look well in a 3 bedroom 1930’s semi.

In effect, what I’m saying is that any kind of major refurbishment, layout change or addition should be carried out with the following considerations.

Budget - Am I refurbishing to sell or to keep? It’s an important consideration here as many home-owners waste many thousands of pounds on home improvements that they can’t possibly recoup when they sell.

Let’s say you had 2 properties. Property 1 had a value of 125k and property 2 had a value of 250k. Now would you really spend the same amount on a new kitchen or double glazing on each property? The answer is that you can but you would be losing money as the value and the location of the property needs to be considered when it comes to major refurbishments.

Design - Would you really add the same style of extension to 2 different properties? Just because you added an extension to one property and it worked really well, don’t go thinking that you will automatically get the same result on another property.

Each property is unique when it comes to designing the perfect home and as such deserves unique consideration rather than a standard bolt-on extension approach.

Interior Design - When it comes to creating new layouts and choosing finishing materials it’s absolutely essential that you do the research to establish what works best with your particular style of property. Bear in mind that at this point you should know if you’re refurbishing to sell within a few years or refurbishing to suit your own taste regardless.

We always advise getting in some specialist help to aid your decision making on whether a loft conversion is worth the effort, whether you should add a conservatory or in fact carry out any major improvements. Talk to your local estate agents if you want to find out if your proposal will add value, make the property more sellable or simply be a waste of money.

Architect - When it comes to layout changes, major refurbishments, extensions or conversions you should always engage the services of a local architect as the first step rather than calling the builders. In many cases builders tend to adopt particular styles and if given an opportunity they will be more than happy to steer you into a design and style that they like rather than a design that works best for your property and circumstance.

You also need to bear in mind that regardless of whether or not your proposals fall within permitted development you will still need drawings for building regulations approval and by drawings I mean technical drawings with sound arguments and calculations for energy saving especially if your design has a lot of glass.

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