Do I Need Planning Permission for a Garage Conversion?

by | May 10, 2022 | Your Home

Garage conversion design

Garages are great but sometimes they just aren’t needed due to off street parking or the preferred use of bicycles and public transport. Funnily enough, most people don’t actually use their garage space for their cars but rather to store up bits and bobs – i.e. junk. If you’re looking to add some extra space to your living quarters and perhaps a little value to your home, then read on.

How much would a garage conversion cost me?

Garage conversions are brilliant because they often create more space for a living room, kitchen extension, home office or even a downstairs toilet or bathroom. Garage conversions require a relatively low financial commitment, costing in the region of £7000, whilst potentially increasing the value of a house by up to 20%.

The first thing to note when looking to embark on a garage conversion project, is to be realistic about the space that you have to work with. Garages are often limited in width and usually very long, and therefore, creating a garage conversion that acts as a liveable space is often a little tricky. This is where an architectural designer can help because they can help create architectural plans for your garage conversion that will be fit for purpose, whilst providing inspiration for the best way to use the space.

Brick garage conversion

Converted brick garage with timber french windows replacing old coach house door


Do I need planning permission for a garage conversion?

One of the first steps may be to move internal walls or to remove them completely. Repositioning or removing internal walls often creates more light and of course a larger square footage. The first thing to understand is whether the wall you intend to move or knock down is load bearing or not. Planning permission is usually not required when removing internal walls, as this usually falls under permitted development but there can be exceptions to this rule. For example, if you live in a conservation area or in a listed building then planning permission will be needed. In some cases, the repositioning or knocking down of internal walls may even require building control approval. Another point to consider, is whether the current garage is governed by restrictive covenants or planning rules that specify that the garage must remain as is or that it will require a planning application for change of use. An architectural designer can advise on both load bearing walls and the use of a structural engineer and also guide on the potential planning process with the local authority.

Will I need Building Control Approval for a Garage Conversion?

A garage conversion essentially changes the use of the space and therefore will need an application to the local authority for building control approval. In general, building regulations stipulate that the proposed garage conversion plan must be structurally sound and comply with fire safety regulations such as providing escape routes and that all electrics are safety tested. Building regulations also require that the proposed garage conversion plan includes intended damp proofing, measurements for floor, wall and loft insulation and indications to promote good ventilation. Therefore, whether planning permission is required or not, a building notice or a full application with architectural plans will need to be submitted to the local authority. Upon completion of the garage conversion project, a building control inspector will attend to inspect that the garage conversion is structurally sound and meets fire safety regulations and if so, will issue a certificate of completion.

Do I need insurance to complete a garage conversion?

All builders should have insurance and therefore requesting to see a copy of their professional indemnity insurance before they start work would be wise. It is also advisable to notify your home insurance provider, as some major construction works can invalidate existing home insurance policies.

The Bottom Line

A garage conversion is a relatively cost effective and easy way to add value and space to your home. Planning permission may not be required but building control approval will be for all garage conversion plans and an architectural designer will help create plans that will comply with building regulations. Contact us for no obligation advice or a quote and we can simplify the process for you.