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Creating A Garden Room – Part Two – FAQs

Fancy optimising your space by turning a seldom or under used outside building into a part of your home? Last week we looked at how to identify whether you could convert your garage, summerhouse, shed or outhouse into an all-year-round additional living space. The first steps to making this significant home improvement is to establish your budget and the opportunity – not just “do you have a space you could convert into an office or bedroom?” but “is it practical to lose that space or is it too valuable as it is?” This week, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions from people considering a garden room conversion.

How much will it cost to convert my garage into a living space?

The cost of converting a garage or outhouse will depend on a few factors, including whether you need to raise the roof or reinforce the foundations. The existing condition of the space will have an impact too – does it already have windows and an electricity supply? Does it need to be insulated? The cost of a standard garage conversion, for example, will start at about £8,000 but an outhouse with electricity supply, windows and doors may be less. And don’t forget, it is an investment; the additional space, if done properly, could add up to 20% onto the value of your home.

Do I need planning permission to convert my garage?

There isn’t a quick answer to this question. Most properties are allowed to perform “permitted development”. This is a list of improvements that you can do without planning permission and includes adding a single storey extension as long as it isn’t more than half the size of the original dwelling. However, if you bought your property from someone who has already added to the home, for example by building a conservatory, you may not be able to add any more area to your home. Check with your local authority if you are in doubt.

Do I need planning permission to convert an outhouse or garden shed?

Whether or not you need permission will depend on your circumstances and what you will use the room for. If you will be using the new space for a hobby or something that you wouldn’t necessarily do in your house (e.g. converting it into a gym or office), you shouldn’t need planning permission. If, however, the new space will be used for washing, cooking, sleeping or other things you would usually do at home, it is possible that you will need planning permission. If you are planning on converting an outhouse into an office which doubles as a spare, en-suite bedroom, for example, it is worth checking with your builders, designer or architect before you start work.

Do I need building regs for the new room?

Building regulations apply to thermal performance, fire safety, ventilation and acoustics of any living space. Therefore, regardless of whether you employ an architect or designer, do it yourself, or use a builder, the work will need to adhere to building regulations and the work will need to be signed off accordingly. You can find more information about building regulations for converting your garage here.

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