Website design By BotEap.comMost conversion work to an existing structure is usually more expensive than tearing it down and rebuilding it. The main reason for this is the VAT element that is exempt for new homes. There have been numerous examples where extensive extension and conversion work has been more expensive than rebuilding the schema from scratch.

Website design By BotEap.comHowever, where VAT remains applicable even for new construction within an existing residential slum, the conversion route is often even less expensive. This can also have the added benefit of retaining the character and charm of the site, whereas a completely new build can often stick out like a sore thumb.

Website design By BotEap.comGarage conversions are a good example. Converting a domestic garage (usually integral or attached to the main home) is a growing trend that I don’t see fading in the coming years.

Website design By BotEap.comPeople’s desire for additional living space is far more important than the requirement to store a car or general household storage, which is more often the case.

Website design By BotEap.comWith the overall superior build quality of most modern cars, the need for covered parking to get them started in the morning has now decreased. This, combined with the relative low cost of cars, makes that valuable garage area seem underused.

Website design By BotEap.comOff-road car parking is very important, but a physical building to store it overnight is not.

Website design By BotEap.comSo what are the issues involved with converting an existing garage into a living space? Well, first of all, most garage conversions do not require the benefit of a separate Planning Approval, unless there is a condition in the original Planning Approval that restricts the use of the garages. Always check with your local planning authority first, but in most cases no specific planning approval should be required (subject to planning conditions and criteria).

Website design By BotEap.comIf the garage is to become a useful addition to the main home, it is ideal to convert it in a way that makes it difficult for the “layman” to tell that the space was originally a garage.

Website design By BotEap.comThis means the new room (former garage) should be preferentially accessed from the main hallway, have follow through floor levels (instead of steps), have similar floor to ceiling levels, have all meter services relocated in exterior meter boxes, have central heating, thermally upgrade floor walls and ceilings, and have quality filler construction for the old garage door opening. Most of these items are covered by Building Regulations so the conversion must also comply.

Website design By BotEap.comAs a guide, a good detached garage conversion incorporating these items will be in the order of £15-£20K. Cheaper conversions can be achieved, but they will always feel like a “converted garage” and may not add full value to a property.

Website design By BotEap.comIf the converted garage is only accessible from another room, such as the living room or kitchen, it can still function as a useful bonus room, but may not have the flexibility of use compared to access from a circulation area. common.

Website design By BotEap.comSo what are the typical uses for garage conversions? The most common use is for a study area, either for work-at-home parents’ businesses or for kids to have a dedicated place to study homework outside of their bedroom, which isn’t very desirable.

Website design By BotEap.comAnother common use is for a ground floor bedroom for an elderly relative or even a son or daughter who is unable to purchase property but now requires additional space for a baby, for example.

Website design By BotEap.comSeparate dining rooms are now really a thing of the past, but if the garage adjoins the usual 3M x 2M developer designed tiny kitchen, entering the garage area often creates a large full size family kitchen/ eating area which is in high demand these days (the Jamie Oliver effect).

Website design By BotEap.comWhen should a conversion be avoided? – generally if the garage is detached or some distance from the main residence. Also, if the loss of a car parking space within the garage means the property is unable to park at least 2 cars unless you have adequate street parking available right outside the property.

Website design By BotEap.comFuture trends for new construction? – Even planning policy design guidance is now moving away from dedicated garages to densely populated developments that prefer to have the space freed up for additional habitable rooms. One or two dedicated outdoor off-road car parking spaces are now preferred over garages. Planners also realize that most garages are not used for car storage, so now they are doing something about it.

Website design By BotEap.comTo further emphasize the point, we’ve never been asked to convert a habitable room into a garage space, but we’re asked several times a year to complete the opposite. I’m sure ‘rollback garage’ schemes have been completed in London and such, but this is certainly not typical compared to the bigger picture of what current development trends are.

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