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Converted Garage Tips
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A standard single garage is approximately 150 sq ft. and that's too small to fit a family saloon (and be able to open the doors!) but that's a lot of extra living space if you convert it as an integral part of your house. For those with a double garage the perfect solution may lie in what we call a 'part conversion' where typically the front or rear of the garage might be retained to house the lawnmower or your bicycle whilst the rest of the garage is converted into a useable room.
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A Garage Conversion does not involve a change of use as such and UK Building Regulations will therefore only apply to the structural alterations involved and to any other building controlled works such as drainage.
Types of garages that can be converted include:
- Single garages
- Double garages
- Tandem garages
- Integral garage
- Detached garage
On many occasions a Garage Conversion requires little more than the infilling of the existing garage doorway with a suitable construction. This most often is largely made up of a window. Any infill will need to be supported by either foundations or suitable lintels. This is a structural alteration and as such requires building regulation approval.
In particular care should be taken to ensure that suitable damp proof courses are incorporated to prevent water ingress at the new window reveals and where the new infill abuts the existing walls.
In some cases the garage already has cavity walling and the works are therefore substantially reduced. If however the existing garage has single leaf masonry walls with piers there will be additional work to try to improve both thermal insulation and weather resistance.
This can be achieved by building new internal block work walls, but these will need support and it cannot be assumed that the existing floor will be adequate to support the extra load. If this is the case it may be necessary to excavate new foundations, or expose the existing ones, to ensure proper support to the block work.
To avoid problems it is common to provide an internal insulated stud wall. If this is to be adopted it is worth considering prefabricating the stud walls in panels to enable a breather membrane and vapour barrier to be incorporated. In addition the piers can be weathered and insulated to reduce cold spots being formed.
Garage Conversion Tips
Ideally a garage should be converted in such a way that makes it hard for someone who doesn't know the property to tell that the new "room" was originally a garage.
The new room (ex garage) should ideally be accessed off the main hall way, have the same floor levels through out (rather than step downs).
The Garage Conversion (new room) should have similar floor to ceiling levels as the rest of the property
All the meter (electric / gas) services should be relocated to outside meter boxes.
The Garage Conversion (new room) should be centrally heated.
The floor, walls, & ceilings should be thermally upgraded. In particular there should be a quality in-fill construction for the old garage door opening.
Most of the above issues are covered within the Building Regulations.
It may be necessary to insulate the walls and roof to habitable room standards. The wall insulation thermal performance 'U' value should be equal to 0.35 W/m2K, flat roofs to 0.25 W/m2K and pitched roof to 0.2 W/m2K. The ground floor should achieve a thermal performance 'U' value of 0.25 W/m2K. Examples of the types of construction that satisfy the standards can be found in the guidance notes on complying with Part L of the Building Regulations.
Planning permission will not usually be required if no additional volume is created. If the garage will increase in volume then it is treated as an extension if it is within five metres of your house.