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Your guide to garage conversion planning

In this guide you can see what's involved in garage conversion planning and embark on your project with confidence. Covering all you need to know about planning permission, building regs, and costs, this is your ultimate garage conversion planning guide.

Garage conversion planning should be the first step in this exciting home renovation project.

A garage conversion has the potential to add up to 20% to your property value, depending on the size of the new space, its use, and the finishes you choose.

But before leaping ahead, a little planning is required. This will help to make sure your project runs as smoothly as possible, minimising disruption to your schedule, and avoiding costly mistakes.

garage converted to a gym

Garage conversion planning permission

Planning permission is not normally required for a garage conversion, providing the work does not involve enlarging the building.

However, there are some instances where planning permission may be required for a garage conversion.

For example:

  • If permitted development rights have been removed from a property
  • If you live in a listed building, conservation area, or a new housing development
  • If you plan to convert your garage into a separate house

You should also review the deeds to your property to check there are no terms mandating that your garage be kept as parking.

Find out if your garage conversion plans require planning permission

If in any doubt, it’s recommended to contact your Local Planning Authority (LPA) for advice prior to work commencing.

Need some professional advice?

An experienced builder will be able to guide you through the structural considerations, building regulations, and planning permissions for your garage conversion.

Enter your postcode below to see who comes highly recommended in your area.

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Garage conversion building regs

Before constructing or changing buildings in certain ways, you must check if you need building regulations approval. This is different to planning permission.

Building regulations outline the required standards for safety, structural integrity, insulation, fire safety, and accessibility.

For a garage conversion, building regulations might be needed if you plan to:

  • Replace fuse boxes and connect electrics
  • Install a bathroom that will involve plumbing
  • Put in a fixed air conditioning system
  • Replace windows and doors
  • Replace roof coverings on pitched or flat roofs
  • Install or replace a heating system
  • Add extra radiators to a heating system

Whether you plan to convert your garage into a gym, office, extra bedroom, or games room, it’s likely some of the above will apply. This means you’ll likely need building regulations approval.

If you use tradespeople registered with a Competent Person Scheme, you do not need to get approval yourself.

garage converted to a kids playroom

Six top garage conversion tips

Converting an underused area of your home into additional livable space is highly appealing.

Follow our tips for making the most of your garage conversion project:

1. Define your objective

What purpose will your converted space serve? Will it be an extra bedroom, a home office, a gym, or a playroom, perhaps?

Considering the specific function of the space will help you to plan the optimal layout, design, and required amenities.

2. Research planning permissions and building regulations

Garage conversions usually fall under permitted development rights, therefore, planning permission is not normally required.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. Scroll up to find out more.

3. Consider structural changes

A structural engineer or an experienced builder will be able to assess the existing structure and advise what modifications are required to meet your plans.

For example, installing additional insulation, reinforcing the foundations, or installing windows or doors.

garage conversion in progress

4. Create a functional design

If your garage conversion requires planning, you will need architect drawings. But even if your plans fall under permitted development rights, architect drawings will be a useful blueprint for tradespeople to work from.

They will also help to ensure you make the most of the available space while incorporating adequate lighting, ventilation, and heating. This is crucial when seeking building regulations approval.

Expect to pay an architect between 5 - 12% of the whole garage construction cost.

5. Insulation and soundproofing

Garages are not as well-insulated as the rest of the house. High-quality insulation will be required to regulate the temperature of your garage conversion and reduce noise transfer.

6. Lighting and natural light

Make sure your garage conversion plans incorporate adequate natural light via windows and skylights but also ample opportunity for artificial lighting too.

Plan your lighting carefully and install conveniently placed sockets to accommodate this.

Not sure where to start?

Investing in professional help will help you navigate the complexities of the project and ensure your conversion is completed to a high standard.

Find a qualified architect to create the blueprint for your garage conversion plans.

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Garage conversion cost

The average garage conversion cost in the UK is around £10,000 - £20,000. However, this is a broad UK estimate and many factors will affect this cost.

The cost of your garage conversion project will vary depending on the size and scope of the work.

Based on a 16m² structure, converting an integrated or attached garage into a habitable room will cost around £10,000 - £20,000 to convert an integrated or attached garage into a habitable room.

Read our cost guide for a full overview of the costs involved in a selection of different garage conversions.

It also outlines the average labour costs for the individual tradespeople you’ll need for a garage conversion, architect fees (if you choose to use one), a typical timeline, and an overview of the process.

Find an experienced builder for your garage conversion project

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