1. The suitability of your existing garage
Some garages are not suitable for a garage conversion – some have foundations that are too weak or old, some are poorly built or contain asbestos. However, most modern garages that are made of brick or block, say within the last 20yrs or so should be structurally sound. There’s a good chance you could convert it easily and cheaply. Your local council is a great place to begin exploring what is involved in converting your garage.
2. The practicalities of the job.
Garages are often on a different level from the house, so you may need to raise or lower floors or ceilings if you want your new room to flow on from the rest of your home. The garage door will need to be replaced with a window and matching bricks, so make sure your builder has access to materials that blend in with the rest of your house. You’ll need heating and insulation to make it usable all year round; plumbing, lighting and security also need to be assessed.
3. Building regulations
You’ll need to apply to your council for Building Regulations approval. If you live in a conservation area or want to extend the garage, you’ll also need planning permission. Some councils require it if you’ll be substantially changing the exterior of your house.
4. Getting the work done
If you have an integral garage, a garage conversion should be quite simple and could even be taken on by a competent DIYer. If you do it yourself, expect it to cost around £6,000 once it’s been plastered, decorated and furnished. If you need to make structural changes or if your garage is detached, it will be a more complex job involving knocking down walls, for example, and will cost around £12,000 – in this case, you’ll need to contact an architect or a garage conversion company. It can take anything from 10 days to several months to complete, depending on the job.