Five considerations before converting your garage into a living space

    Source: loveproperty

    Are you thinking of converting your garage into a living space but not sure where to start. We're here to guide you with five considerations before converting your garage into a living space.

    Converting your garage is an efficient and cost-effective method to increase your living space while avoiding major decisions like full-scale renovation or moving house. By converting your garage, you can improve the value of your home; however, as with all building projects, there are several critical considerations to address before you can commit to a garage conversion.

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    Planning Permissions

    The most important consideration to consider when converting your garage is acquiring the appropriate planning permissions. Any structural changes to an existing garage require the relevant planning permission from your local council. Even minor changes such as adding a door or extending an interior wall require approval.

    Are you unsure whether your garage conversion requires planning permission? Contact your local planning department or consult insightful information provided by the local municipality. Once you acquire the planning permissions, you can begin your garage conversion.

    Parking Space 

    Take note. Considering converting your garage may leave you with minimal space for vehicles. Having limited space may not necessarily be a bad decision if you have additional driveway space for parking or don't plan to keep your car in the future.

    If you plan on parking on the road, you should refer to the bylaws for parking in a residential area. Depending on these bylaws, parking on the street might be illegal and not an option.  

    Ceiling Height 

    Before commencing with any garage conversion plan, you should calculate the height of your garage ceiling. Depending on what type of room you are converting your garage into, there will be a minimum height requirement:

    • Bedrooms require a minimum height of 2.4m over 6m² with a clear height of no less than 1.8m for any area more than 0.75m from the edge of the floor space.
    • Other habitable rooms require a minimum height of no less than 2.4m over at least 70% of the floor space and no less than 2.1m over the balance of the floor area.

    Does your ceiling height meet these requirements? If not, you'll be looking at a much larger renovation project. 

    Utility Considerations

    Utility considerations are critical if you plan to convert your garage into a utility room and include a kitchenette or laundry. By commencing with this type of conversion, your garage becomes a separate dwelling space and may require your local council's appropriate planning permissions and consent.

    The potential use of utility machines (washing machine, clothes dryer, etc.) is an excellent time to upgrade any plumbing outlets or inlets and electrical power points in your garage. We recommend the services of a qualified plumber and electrician for this process, as doing it yourself could be risky unless you have the proper skills and experience.

    Energy Consumption 

    Once you have completed the garage conversion process and depending on what type of room you have turned your garage into, you might need to adhere to specific energy consumption regulations. The National Building Regulations require mandatory action to reduce energy consumption in new buildings and additions to existing structures, such as garage modifications.

    Once you have taken time to go through the garage conversion process and committed to the decision, you might still be unsure of what kind of room you want to turn your garage into and whether it will add value to your home.  

    Read our article on garage conversion ideas to add more value to your home if you need some inspiration.

    "Please note: All building conversions and renovations must always be subject to local bylaws and building regulations."

    Author: Seeff Property Group
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