If you fancy converting your garage into a more useful living area you will need to find out just what building regulations are imposed by your Local Authority first – here’s a guide.
Converting or extending your garage can be a great way to add a bit of life and extra space to your home. Your new conversion can provide an additional lounge area, a new bedroom or something a little more exciting such as a home cinema or personalised, spa-style bathroom. Whatever you choose to convert your garage into you will, however, need to comply with certain building regulations – here’s an outline.
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Do I need planning permission for a detached garage?
If you are building a detached garage you will not be subject to building regulations as long as you comply with ALL the following requirements. The building should:
- Have a surface area of less than 30m².
- Be erected at least one metre away from the main property.
- Be sited at ground level.
- Be primarily constructed of non-combustible materials.
When do I need planning permission to build a garage?
You do not need planning permission for a garage in most cases. However, that does not mean you can build without limits. The government has outlined a few major points which cannot be completed under the guide of building a garage. These include the following:
- No outbuilding (such as a garage) on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation
- Garages must be single storey with maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of 4 metres for a dual pitched roof, or 3 metres for any other sort of roof
- Maximum height of 2.5 metres in the case of a building within 2 metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the main dwelling
- No verandas, balconies or raised platforms
- No more than half the area of land around the original dwelling can be covered in additional outhouses, such as a garage
- In National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as all World Heritage Sites, the maximum area to be covered by buildings such as a garage has to be limited to 10 square metres
- On designated land, garages and such to the side of the original dwelling will in fact, require planning permission
- Within the curtilage of listed buildings, and outbuilding including a garage will require planning permission
Do I need planning permission to convert a garage?
If, however, you are converting an existing garage for use as a new bedroom or living area, then you will be subject to a number of different rules, including the following:
A window of at least 450x450mm will need to be installed in one of the exterior walls of the room, at least 110mm above floor level. This is to ensure the new room has proper ventilation to prevent damp and also to provide an alternative fire escape route. If you are unsure about where to position your new window, you can always hire a structural engineer to provide additional information and advice.
The conversion should also be designed so the exterior of your property remains unchanged and unaffected in appearance. This rule is usually more relevant for older homes in rural neighbourhoods. If you live in a listed building or conservation area you may find even more particular rules imposed about what can and cannot be changed. You can apply to the Planning and Building Control board of your local council to see if such restrictions can be withdrawn.
Construction work shouldn’t affect drainage in any way; if you find your home, your neighbour’s home, or any parts of the street or surrounding area suffering from increased pressure or unexplained blockages, then you should contact a private plumber to fix the problem as soon as possible.
Thermal Heat Loss
Depending on what you are converting your garage into, you may also need to install wall, floor or roof insulation. This is to ensure that the conversion conforms to current heating and energy-saving building standards and to make certain the room is effectively soundproofed; keeping you and your neighbours on the best terms possible!
If you live in a busy inner-city area or if your street simply suffers from a parking shortage you may also find permission to convert your garage is refused so that streets don’t become clogged with parked cars.
If you find that your conversion or building work will result in the extension of your home, however, you may need to check this with your local council. Rules differ from home to home and area to area, but your council can send round a Building Control Officer to either confirm or refute your plans if you should request it.
Do I need planning permission to extend my garage?
You will need to get garage extension planning permission if you want to extend your garage, as this is not a temporary building. You need to apply for planning permission via your local authority. They will then give you any relevant forms to complete as well as keep you informed of the cost.
You will most likely need to supply the local authority with drawings of the proposed extension, you should ask your building contractor for some basic drawings. You will also need to hand in a product specification sheet. Once you have submitted your application the council will need to deliberate and decided whether or not to approve it. The time scale varies between local authorities, but between 6 to 8 weeks is a safe bet.
Planning permission for wooden garages
Log cabins or wooden garages are treated as ‘temporary structures.’ Therefore, you do not need to obtain planning permission to erect. The same also applies to ready-made or kit garages. Nonetheless, you need to consider several regulations that are related to the position of the new structure and whether or not it is located closer to the road than the front of the house.
Also, you should ensure that you follow some guidelines that apply to buildings such as leaving at least one-meter space from the border. Although generally, building regulations do not apply to detached single-story buildings that are over one-meter space inside the border. But if the buildings are exposed from more than one side and take up around 30 square meters, then building guidelines approval are not required for wooden garages.
If the specifications for the new garage do not violate any of the size and location limitations and give access to an existing drive and/or parking space, it can be considered as a “permitted development”. This means that you do not need a planning permission to build a garage, unless your property is affected by the Conservation Area or Listed Building orders.
Hence, when you are thinking of building garages, you have to ensure that you do not only follow the rules that apply to outbuildings but also purchase a log cabin that was designed and produced according to regulations. Additionally, in case you have any doubts, you should consult the Local Planning Authority (LPA) concerning the guidelines for outbuilding to get the best possible advice.