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Garage Conversions - are they a cheap alternative to a home extension?

Peoples desire for adding extra habitable space is insatiable. Many new houses especially those built on housing development estates so much loved by the Planners over the last 3 decades are often so tightly packed in there is very little scope for adding a new extension that does not blight the small garden or existing rooms.

However, sat alongside or integral to the main home is usually a 15 square metre space for storing a metal box on wheels that is often never used for that purpose due to the awkwardness of the tight space.

Many homes use their garages simply for rough storage or as a utility area.  Lets face it, you simply do not get a bad car anymore that fails to start in fog or cold & many are simply company cars that are changed every two years.

That vacant space can soon become very appealing as an extra reception room, study, formal utility or extension to the kitchen for example.

Many garage conversions into habitable room space are fairly easy to convert but they are not without their technical or planning problems that need to be addressed.  A poorly or cheaply converted garage can feel just that & not really feel part of the internal home space.

Many Garage conversions can be converted without the need for formal Planning Permission provided the original Planning Consent did not have a condition controlling the garage are for use only as a garage area.  If this is your situation, you are still advised to obtain a Certificate of Lawful Development from your Local Planning Dept. / Council to make sure.

If formal Planning Permission is required, then many Planners will refuse the application due to the removal of an important off road car parking space that will now overflow onto the street which is usually undesirable.  Other times it can be acceptable if you are to make provision elsewhere on the site for an additional car parking space to compensate for the garage loss.

Many garages also have technical issues such as lower floors & ceilings, housing of electric & gas meters in inconvenient locations, uninsulated walls, floors & ceilings, maintaining structural support for any new openings etc.  There is also the decision on how to block up the existing garage door and install a new window that doesn't end up looking like a filled in garage door.

All these issues and options can be discussed and resolved with your experienced home extension building designer and they should already have a few previous projects already completed to show you.

The cost of a garage conversion is very much dependant upon the extent of the upgrade works required & the remodeling.  As a guide, single garage conversions can cost between £18k & £25k.

In some parts of our more busier cities and towns, specialist garage conversion specialists have evolved to meet this growing demand and usually offer a design & build service to a budget cost.

However, be warned that many companies do this on a Building Notice (not a full pre-prepared & approved design) and take a flyer on the fact that Planning Permission will not be required.  Just like many of the so called 'loft conversion specialists', they can end up leaving the homeowner with a poorly converted garage, incomplete or deficient works that do not meet Building Regulations and a home that is now difficult to sell on.

So, if it is well thought out, pre-designed and approved at Planning and Building Regulations then a garage conversion can be a cost effective alternative to adding new built form or bulk elsewhere on the property at around half the cost.























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