Your guide to garage conversions

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Whether you want to expand your kitchen or need a place for the kids’ extensive toy collection, the space you’ve been looking for could already be there!

For many households, a garage is just a storage space for their vehicle. However, there’s been a rising trend towards garage conversions, allowing households to develop a basic storage area into a room that adds vital space.

There’s the added bonus a garage conversion could increase the value of your property by as much as £20K.

In the UK, lounge conversions are a popular choice as many Brits enjoy spending quality time at home in their living room. A large living room is also a big plus for would-be buyers should you decide to sell your home in the future.

Convert your garage in seven easy steps

Step 1: Carry out an assessment of your garage and decide how you can utilise the space. If it’s currently used to store large items, you may have to consider dedicating a section of your garage towards the storage of these items or relocate them to an outbuilding such as a lock-secured garden shed.

Research recommended contractors nearby and gather several quotes for the work. Note, if there is any electrical, gas or plumbing work to be carried out, ensure that the contractor is registered with the correct governing body and they are able to certify their work.

Step 2: All planning and building regulations and requirements will need to be considered. You may need planning permission from your local authority if the work involves converting your garage into a habitable space. If you have any doubt about gaining planning permission or meeting building regulation requirements, always ask your local authority, who will direct you.

Where possible, ask for written confirmation of any advice provided by your local authority so that you can ensure that you have the correct permissions to carry out your conversion.

Step 3: Obtain a written contract from your contractor/builder/garage conversion company which clearly states everyone’s responsibilities and what you need to pay on completion of the project.

Step 4: Once the contract is in place and you have all permission approved you can start by clearing out the garage space. If you’re expanding an existing room such as a kitchen, then now would be the ideal time to knock-through the wall. Once the debris has been cleared, you can commence with any electrical works and pipe work installations for gas and plumbing.

Hint: if the space will be used as a guest room or a playroom, you may want to consider under-floor heating.

Step 5: It’s highly likely that a garage conversion will involve the installation of at least one new external cavity wall and this stage of the conversion would be an ideal time to do so. Diligence must be taken to ensure that the wall is of sound build and is able to repel moisture from the ground (damp proofing) and also resist the outside elements.

Any new windows and doors can also be installed at this stage followed by any radiators and kitchen or bathroom units.

Step 6: Now that the majority of the building works have completed, you can begin to decorate your new space. To avoid any stains or damage to your new flooring, it may be best to get painting before the floor or carpet is laid.

Step 7: Once you’ve decorated your newly converted garage, you and your family can begin to reap the benefits of the additional space in your home!

Quick-fire Q&A

Is my garage big enough to convert?

According to GaragePlans.co.uk, the average size of a single-car garage in the UK is 18m2. This would be ample space for all types of conversions. However, if you’re still unsure, ask friends or neighbours who have recently had garage conversions to see the work they had done and compare the size and scale of their conversion to the one you’re planning.

How long does a garage conversion take?

A single-car garage conversion can take anywhere from one week to one month depending on the scale and scope of the conversion. If multiple trades people from different firms are contracted, then ensure they’ll be available at their relevant stages during the conversion.

How much does a garage conversion cost?

The cost of a garage conversion will vary from project to project and area to area. It’s important to get as many quotes as possible and ensure the price you pay is competitive and fair. It may also be worth asking friends and relatives who have had similar work carried out how much they paid so you have a benchmark price. Additionally, consult with local estate agents to understand if a garage conversion will have an impact on your property’s value.

Will I need planning permission?

Any major modification or extension to your home may require formal approval from your local authority’s planning department, to ensure that the work complies with local guidelines. For peace of mind, please ask your local authority before commencing with any work. Full details can be found on the UK Planning Portal website.

Converting a garage ultimately leads to a loss in car parking space(s) on your property. There are requirements set by local planning authorities which require a certain number of off-road car parking spaces on your property. Although very few garages are now used for storing a vehicle, your local planning authority may consider the garage as a valid parking space. So if the driveway of your house cannot provide the required number of car parking spaces excluding the garage, then a new off-road parking space(s) will also have to be provided, which will require further planning permission.

Garage conversions and insurance

If your household insurance is with Admiral, you will need to tell us if you are planning conversions on your property. This will allow us to ensure we can cover your property during and after the conversion. You can also find useful information in the ‘Keeping Your Policy Up to Date’ section of your policy booklet.

If you decide to not tell us about any alterations to your home, you may run the risk of having your policy declared void so for peace of mind, it is important we are aware of any major changes to your property.

We spoke to the experts within our Home Insurance team to answer some common questions regarding garages and garage conversions:

1. Are garages covered under Admiral Home insurance?

Across all of our available tiers, we provide building and contents for garages and outbuildings, whether detached or attached to the home.

2. Are there any exclusions/restrictions for garages?

Yes, if you’re insured by the Admiral Home tier, we do not provide cover for theft from garages and outbuildings. For Gold and Platinum tier cover, theft from garage and outbuildings is covered subject to policy terms.

3. I want to convert my garage, do I need to tell you of this?

Yes, it is very important that we are informed of any renovation work. By informing us of any property alterations, we can confirm what will be covered during and after the conversion so that you can have peace of mind regarding your cover should any unforeseen problems arise.

4. I currently have Home Emergency Cover, will this cover my converted living space?

If the garage is attached, then Home Emergency Cover will extend into the converted living space. However, if any loss or damage arising from structural problems during the conversion or any modification or attempted repair to your property by you or your contractor which results in damage to that or another part of your property will be excluded from Home Emergency Cover.

5. What do I need to tell you?

We will require the following information from you:

• The type and scale of the renovation you are planning

• Has planning permission been obtained for the conversion?

• When is the conversion taking place and for how long?

• Are qualified tradesmen carrying out the conversion?

• Is the property occupied overnight during the conversion? (Note this is not the same as visiting the property on a daily basis)

If you have any questions you can just call 0800 600 870 and speak to our friendly home insurance advisors to find out what’s covered under your policy and what we need to know. And why not find out if Admiral Loans can help you out?

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