Converting a garage: what you need to know

Choosing to convert your garage could be a great way of extending your current living space. Here are a few things to consider before taking on the project

By Becca Green | 29 April 2020

A garage conversion is a popular option to extend your current living space. If you’re considering taking on the project yourself, here are a few things to consider.

Archmngers Stego garage conversion - grand designs

Image: Archmongers Stego garage conversion. Photo: French + Tye

A garage can be a huge selling point for a home, but if you also have off-road parking, you may find that this space has become the designated dumping ground for the family.

If you need more space and want to improve, not move, a garage conversion could be an effective and affordable option that can be enacted quickly and add significant value to your home.

Here’s what you need to know before starting out on your garage renovation journey.

Planning permission

Check with your local authority to see whether a planning application is required. In many urban areas, permitted development rights have been revoked for garage conversions as councils are worried about the knock-on effects of people parking on the street. Even if it is considered permitted development, always obtain a Lawful Development Certificate.

If permitted development rights have been removed, you can still make a full application, which would also be necessary where larger external changes are planned.

As well as knocking through into an attached garage, it’s possible to add a storey on top – although this isn’t as simple as it seems. Planning permission would be required, and planners don’t favour such projects in streets of semi-detached houses because of the potential for the whole road to have a monotonous flat facade – the so-called ‘terracing’ effect.

Strong foundations

The majority of these structures lack strong foundations, in which case you’d need to knock it down and rebuild. Even if the foundations are sound, you’ll need to factor in upgrading the fabric of the garage, such as by adding lots of roof insulation.