FarrellWolst have been converting garages into living spaces for over a decade, It is in fact one of our favorite project types. The ability to utilize what is already there, by reconfiguring and using creativity to achieve the desired space is always a pleasure.
A garage conversion offers so much Flexibility in what can be achieved;
• Garage to Kitchen Diner Conversion
• Garage to Bedroom Conversion
• Garage to Office Conversion
• Garage to Gym Conversion
What does a Garage Conversion Entail with FarrellWolst?
FarrellWolst guide to Garage Conversions
Converting a garage to a living space has more than just a benefit to the family by way of an additional befroom, or kitchen diner, etc.
A conversion, carried out well, can add up to 20% to the value of the home, according to a home’s report from Nationwide.
The following should hopefully answer some Initial questions and paint a clearer picture of what a conversion entails.
Typically planning permission is not required with integral garage conversions, as it tends to fall under permitted development. Needless to say, it is vital to check with the local authority.
However, if the house is in a conservation area, or is a listed building, you will most likely need planning permission. It is wise to also check for any planning conditions attached to the house or garage when constructed (I.E. the garage has to remain as parking.)
If the conversion falls under permitted development, we advise to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC), especially if the aim is to remortgage or sell in the future.
If the garage is a stand-alone structure, not integral, then an application for a change of use is probably necessary.
Factors affecting Cost
There are a number of factors that could affect the cost of a garage conversion;
- Requirements and service of a structural engineer.
- Planning Application.
- Foundations need reinforcing.
- Design Fees
- Ceiling height needs to be raised.
- Condition of the existing walls, floor & roof.
The cost of a garage conversion is usually less than the value it will ultimately add to the property itself, following completion.
Building Regulations Approval
Building regulations have to be adhered to when converting a garage into a habitable space. The regulations apply to a number of different aspects of the construction, including;
- Thermal performance
- Fire Safety
The LABC website (https://www.labc.co.uk/) hosts a variety of information regarding the regulations in England and Wales.
A building notice or full plans application is required to be submitted to building control. The local building control department will then register the conversion & carry out inspections throughout the works, finally issuing the ‘Final Certificate’ on completion.
Typically if the existing foundations are above 200mm or over this is adequate to extend straight up with new brickwork.
The importance of foundations cannot be overstated after all, everything rest on them. A new roof, windows, doors and double skinned walls will all be part of the new construction, as such an infill wall will be required.
To determine the existing garage footings, this may involve digging a small trial hole in front of the concrete slab (the foundations below the garage) to check.
In the absence of adequate foundations, either a 1m footing wall will have to be dig and filled with concrete, or something like a concrete lintel can be added into the wall, below ground level, on both sides.
There are to methods of Insulating Walls;
- The simplest method is to use insulated plasterboard, fixed to the timber battens that are protected by a strip of damp proof course (DPF) placed between batten and wall.
- Insulation such as rockwool can be placed between battens before plasterboard is fixed to them, or insulate within the cavity.
In regards to Roof Insulation, It all depends on the type of roof;
- Pitched roof; we like to opt for two layers of 150mm glass fiber quilt between the joists & another over as usual.
- Flat roofs with the standard 150mm deep flat roof joists will require a 100m insulation between the joists & a 50mm break, complying with the requirements of a 50mm air gap left above for ventilation.
Floor Insulation In a garage is usually none existent. Garage floors also tend be lower than the actual house floor, so adding damp proof membrane (DPM), insulation and a new screed, along with the final floor covering is a good way the level up, to match the rest of the house.
The existing concrete floor of the garage can still remain as the base, adding a solid DPM, before fitting a layer of insulation on top, Building control will advise on the required level of insulation that’s needed. The new screed is then poured ready to then lay the new floor covering.
We like to install underfloor heating at this stage. When the difference in height is very large between the garage floor and the house floor a suspended timber floor is a good idea, aiming to create a 150mm void beneath the concrete and the underside of the timber, placing the insulation between the joists.
Plumbing & Electrical
With the introduction of a new living space the new garage conversion is going to add additional demand on the power and plumbing supplies.
Typically a new circuit for lights and sockets is all that’s required, as such, taking this supply from the existing electrical feed (household consumer unit) should be sufficient. We do like to protect a large garage conversion with its own consumer unit, with the feed coming directly from the mains supply. This ensures additional security, in the sense that the garage conversion consumer unit has a completely isolated electrical supply to any other part of the house.
There may be some additional work required if the extra plumbing system is at full capacity, the same applies if the main outflows for water and the soil outflow are some distance away from the garage.
Our 5 Step Process
Planning and Building Regs
Upon deciding that Farrell Wolst is the company for you we will arrange a start date and you will have been given a time scale for the project duration. The time has now come for us to start work. All the Surveys have been carried out, all the plans have been drawn up, all the relevant authorities have been notified and informed and necessary paperwork has been obtained.
The first stage of construction is getting our infrastructure in place, if required (dependent upon the project), for example we will assemble scaffolding first. Unlike a lot of other companies Farrell Wolst will, for example, erect scaffolding for loft conversions, so that there is no need to have access to you property while the construction work is going on. All work is carried out through your existing roof so your home is free of dust, materials and workmen during the conversion and can remain as a home as the work progresses.
Usually 1-2 days before the project is due to start the scaffolding will be erected around the property and wste disposal skips, etc. Will also be arriving. On the day of the arranged start date your team of workmen will arrive to begin work and the materials will arrive on site. Usually most materials are stored on the drive though alternative arrangements can be made where this is not possible. A safe area on site may be required for any expensive materials.
Hard work part 1
Now all infrastructure is in place such as scaffolding, Skips, large machinery, etc. Our team will start by removing all the old materials and items not required, such as old flooring, walls, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. Everything will be stripped back, to allow us to start a fresh. We will have in place organized days in which waste removal firms will arrive and take away this unwanted mess, always consulting with you and keeping you, and in turn your neighbors in the loop, in order to avoid any unwanted complications or delays to your day.
At this stage we have a blank canvas, and now the exciting work of bringing vision to life begins. Our specialist trades, electricians, Plumbers, gas engineers begin their first fix operations, in essence pulling in and installing the infrastructure/power to enable the completion of works. For example, the electrician will update the electrical supply in the kitchen or bathroom, complying with modern regulations, taking into consideration needs for residual current detection, etc. Pulling the relevant rated cables into the locations where, showers, lights, switches, pull cords, etc will ultimately be mounted and finished. All of this pivotal work is hidden behind the final finishes, such as plasterboard, plaster, tiling and flooring.
The plans and communication are essential to working as efficiently as possible, without errors, this is where FarrellWolst’s 50+ years of combined experience and project management experience comes into its own, and guarantees flawless uninterrupted work throughout.
Piecing the Project together
Now all of our ‘infrastructure’ is in place, cables, pipes, waste pipes, supporting beams, New Joists, etc. Our master Joiner’s and Fitter’s will now work tirelessly and with an eye for detail to build the vision you and everybody else will see. The walls will take shape, the structure of the kitchen, bathroom, extension, etc. Will all begin to piece together. The pipework, cable’s and other items now hidden behind the newly constructed structures, are ready to be used and completed, commonly referred to as the second fix.
2nd Fix and Completion
Our specialist trades team now come back for the final push, they will complete the ‘2nd fix’, this is in essence making the final connections such as mounting the shower, connecting downlights, light switches, connecting the cooker, hot and cold taps, etc. A thorough deep clean is carried out and our office manager will then make a site visit and review the work and ensure everything has been completed to the best of abilities, a list of any items which need attention is drawn up and shared with you, our valued customer, you can then review yourself and add any items we have not noticed (we don’t believe this is possible with our attention to detail, but we do like the challenge!), this is described in the trade as a snagging list. The completion of each and every item will be carried out and then a final handover is made with our site manager.