Everything You Need to Know About Garage Conversions in 2024

Garage Conversions

Everything You Need to Know About Garage Conversions in 2024

Have you been thinking about converting your garage into a living space? Garage conversions are becoming increasingly popular as homeowners look for ways to add extra space without moving to a larger property. If done properly, a garage conversion can significantly increase your home’s value and provide useful space for a home office, playroom, or extra bedroom.

However, it’s important to understand the legal requirements around planning permission and building regulations to ensure your garage conversion is safe and complies with regulations.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about garage conversions in 2024, from costs and timelines to securing the proper permits so you can move forward with confidence on this home improvement project.

What is a Garage Conversion?

Garage conversions refer to the process of converting an attached garage into a living space such as a bedroom, home office, or recreational area. This is a popular home renovation project for several reasons:

  • It is more affordable and less complicated than building an addition. Converting an existing garage typically costs between £10,000 and £30,000 depending on the size of the garage and the level of renovation.
  • It can significantly increase a home’s value. Turning a garage into living space can increase a property’s value by 10-20% according to estate agents and valuation experts.
  • It may not require planning permission. If the conversion will not change the overall appearance or footprint of the building, it is usually exempt from planning permission requirements. However, you will still need to obtain building regulations approval to ensure it meets safety standards.

Mortgage lenders generally view garage conversions favourably as they add value to a property. However, if done without the correct consents, it could negatively impact your ability to obtain a mortgage or sell the home in the future. It is therefore crucial you carry out your homework thoroughly before you commence any work to avoid issues down the road.

By turning your underutilised garage into functional living space, you can gain extra room for your needs without the high cost and complication of building an additional structure.

Everything You Need to Know About Garage Conversions in 2024 Express ConveyancingHow Much Does a Typical Garage Conversion Cost in the UK?

The cost of a garage conversion in the UK can vary significantly depending on the size and condition of your garage and the level of conversion required. According to Santander, the average garage conversion costs approximately £6,300. However, a typical single garage conversion, around 16 square meters, will often cost between £10,000 to £27,000. Typical costs you can expect to see include:

  • Planning Permission and Building Regulations: Obtaining planning permission and building regulations approval will typically cost between £500 to £1,500. These ensure your conversion meets all safety standards and local authority requirements.
  • Structural Work: If your garage requires extensions or modifications to the roof, foundations or load-bearing walls, structural work may be needed at a cost of £3,000 to £10,000. A structural engineer should assess whether the existing structure can support the conversion.
  • Windows and Doors: New windows, an internal door connecting the garage to your home, and an entrance door will cost £1,500 to £4,000 depending on the number and type. Double-glazed units are recommended for improved insulation.
  • Heating and Electrics: Heating, lighting, power points, and any required rewiring will cost between £1,500 and £3,000. Proper ventilation and insulation should also be installed to regulate the temperature.
  • Finishes: Flooring, plastering or drywall, painting and any built-in fixtures will typically cost £3,000 to £8,000. The options chosen will depend on how you intend to use the space.

In summary, while a basic garage conversion may cost under £10,000, most homeowners spend £15,000 to £27,000 for a conversion which significantly adds value and usable space to their property.

What Value Does a Garage Conversion Add to Your Home?

Converting your garage into a living space can significantly increase your property value. According to recent surveys, a garage conversion in the UK typically adds between 5 to 15 percent to the overall value of a home. The exact amount will depend on a number of factors such as the quality of the conversion, the features added, and the current housing market in your local area.

Additional Bedroom

If your garage conversion results in an extra bedroom, especially if the home was previously lacking in bedroom space, this can add 10 percent or more to the asking price. An extra bedroom is one of the most sought-after home features for buyers, so converting an unused garage into a bedroom is an excellent way to boost value. This is subjective as where your property is located will play a large part on the value increase. For instance, in London, an additional bedroom generally can attract upwards of a hundred thousand pounds, whilst elsewhere in the Country, it may not be as much.

Improved Functionality

Turning a garage into living space improves the functionality and habitability of a home. Buyers will pay more for a house that better suits their needs. A garage conversion may provide an extra reception room, home office, or ground floor bathroom. Any of these can significantly increase the appeal and value of your property.

Professional Conversion

For the maximum value increase, it is best to hire a professional to carry out the garage conversion. Professionally completed conversions, will instill confidence in buyers. Mortgage lenders also prefer* properly approved conversions. A professional job, using high-quality materials that match the style of the home, will result in a higher asking price and faster sale compared to a DIY conversion.

In summary, converting your garage into living space is one of the most effective ways to add value to your home. With a professional conversion, additional bedrooms or living areas, and proper approval, you can expect to increase your asking price by at least 10 to 15 percent, if not significantly more. For many homeowners, the additional value gained from a garage conversion far outweighs the initial investment required.

Garage Conversion Planning Permission Requirements

When considering a garage conversion, it is important to determine if planning permission is required for your specific project. Around 90% of garage conversions do not require full planning permission and instead fall under permitted development rights. However, there are some situations where planning permission will still be needed:

  • If the converted space will be used as a separate self-contained dwelling.
  • If the conversion involves enlarging the space or external alterations like installing windows, a new roof, or moving the garage door.
  • If the property is a listed building or in a designated conservation area. In these cases, planning permission is typically required for any external changes.
  • If the conversion will result in the loss of the only parking space for the property. Some local authorities require that alternative parking is provided.

To obtain planning permission where required, you will need to submit an application to your local planning authority. They will evaluate if the conversion meets regulations for design, parking, and other factors. The application process typically takes around 8 weeks and costs between £200 to £300.

The planning process helps ensure your conversion meets certain standards before construction begins. To obtain planning permission, you will first need to submit a planning application to your local council. Your application should include:

  • Architectural drawings of your proposed conversion, including floor plans, elevations, and cross-sections. These should be to scale and show all dimensions.
  • A design and access statement explaining your plans and how the conversion will impact the surrounding area. Discuss issues like parking, access, and landscaping.
  • Photographs of your existing garage and surrounding property.
  • Details of any trees that may be affected. If trees will be removed or pruned, show this on the architectural drawings.

The Local Authority will review your application and either grant permission, request modifications, or deny the request. If modifications or extra details are needed, provide these promptly. The review process typically takes 6 to 8 weeks.

If planning permission is granted, the Local Authority will issue a decision notice listing any conditions that must be met. These often relate to issues such as matching exterior finishes to the existing house or providing a certain number of parking spaces. Be sure to comply with all conditions to avoid enforcement action later on.

In some cases, permitted development rights may allow converting a garage without applying for planning permission. However, there are size limits and other restrictions, so check with your Local Authority to determine if your plans qualify before proceeding.

Even when planning permission is not needed, building regulations approval is usually required to ensure the conversion meets safety standards. The building control surveyor will review plans for factors like fire safety, ventilation, access, and electrics. They will also inspect the completed conversion before signing off. The building regulations application process is similar to planning permission and also costs a few hundred pounds.

If purchasing a property with an existing garage conversion, your conveyancing solicitor will check that appropriate planning permission and building regulations has been obtained. Mortgage lenders may require this documentation to approve a mortgage, and unapproved conversions could impact the property’s value or saleability. Obtaining Planning Permission for Your Garage Conversion

Mortgage lenders generally view garage conversions positively, as they can increase a property’s value and marketability. However, unapproved conversions may cause issues when selling or remortgaging the home. It is best to obtain all necessary permissions and building regulations consent to avoid potential legal and financial problems down the road.

Do You Need Building Regulations for a Garage Conversion?

When considering a garage conversion, it is important to determine if building regulations approval is required. In most cases, converting a garage into a habitable space will require building regulations consent to ensure it meets certain standards for health, safety, energy efficiency and accessibility.

What Are Building Regulations?

Building regulations are legal requirements set by the government regarding the construction, extension or alteration of buildings. They aim to ensure structures are safe, accessible and sustainable. Regulations cover areas such as fire safety, structural stability, ventilation, electrical installations, energy efficiency and access. Local authorities are responsible for approving building regulation applications and conducting inspections to ensure compliance.

Do You Need Building Regulations for a Garage Conversion?

In short, yes. Converting a garage into a living space, whether a home office, bedroom, playroom or living area, is normally considered a material change of use under building regulations. This means building regulations approval and inspections will be required. The building control team from your local council will review your plans to ensure the conversion meets regulations for:

  • Fire safety: Proper fire doors, means of escape, fire alarms, etc.
  • Ventilation: Adequate air flow and insulation.
  • Structural stability: The floor, walls and ceiling are suitable for habitable use.
  • Accessibility: Regulations may require level entry and door widths to accommodate wheelchairs if used as a bedroom, for example.
  • Energy efficiency: Insulation, double glazing, etc. meet standards.

Some minor garage conversions may be exempt or need only a building notice, but most will require full building regulations approval including plan reviews and on-site inspections. It is best to check with your local building control department to determine the specific requirements for your garage conversion project. Proceeding without proper consent could cause issues when selling the property or invalidate your home insurance.

The Process of Getting Building Regulations Approval

Obtaining building regulations approval for a garage conversion requires following a multi-step process.

Choosing a Building Control Surveyor

The first step is to hire an approved building control surveyor to review and approve your garage conversion plans. They will ensure the conversion meets all building safety standards. You can find surveyors on the government website or through a private company. Discuss the specifics of your project and obtain a quote for their services before hiring.

Submitting an Application

Next, you must submit either a building notice application or full plans application to your local authority building control department. A building notice application is used for smaller projects, while full plans show detailed architectural drawings and are typically required for more complex builds. Your surveyor can help determine which is right for your garage conversion.

Undergoing an Inspection

After submitting your application, a building inspector will visit your property to evaluate the existing garage and proposed conversion. They will check that the structure is sound and the new layout meets regulations. You must address any issues identified before proceeding with construction.

Receiving a Decision

The local authority will review your application and inspection report, then issue a decision in around 5 weeks. If approved, you will receive permission to begin construction. If denied, you must re-submit amended plans addressing their reasons for refusal.

Obtaining a Completion Certificate

Once construction is finished, your surveyor will conduct a final inspection to confirm the build complies with the approved plans and regulations. If satisfied, they will issue a completion certificate within 8 weeks, at which point your garage conversion is ready for use and may increase your property value.

In summary, obtaining building regulations approval for a garage conversion in the UK involves selecting a surveyor, choosing an application method, undergoing inspections, receiving a decision from your local authority, and acquiring a completion certificate. By following this process, you can ensure your conversion is safe, up to code, and ready to enjoy for years to come.

What if a Garage Conversion Lacks Planning Permission?

If a garage conversion was carried out without obtaining the proper planning permission, it could present issues for both the current and future owners. As the new owner of a property, you will want to ensure any garage conversion was done legally to avoid potential problems.

Enforcement Period

Local authorities have the power to enforce planning regulations for unauthorised building works for up to 4 years after completion. This means if a garage conversion was done without consent in the last 4 years, the council can require the owner to either obtain retrospective permission or return the garage to its original state. Failure to comply can result in legal action. Both these processes are extremely costly with no upside for you. It is therefore crucial you ensure the appropriate consents are in place before you purchase a property with the benefit of a garage conversion.

Selling a Property

When selling a property with an unapproved garage conversion, the lack of planning permission must be disclosed to potential buyers. This can negatively impact the saleability and value of the home. Buyers may insist the seller obtains planning permission before completing the sale or may require a lower offer price to account for the risk. That said, there may be recourse available to you such as indemnity insurance which might be a cheaper option, if your buyer and their mortgage lender is happy to accept this. Before you contact the local authority however, you must speak to your conveyancing solicitor who will advise you of your best course of action.

This is however issue if the Local Authority have already brought forward enforcement action. Such enforcement action will also be revealed on the buyer’s local authority search result. Your conveyancing solicitor will advice you of your best course of action at the time.

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Property Value

An unauthorised garage conversion may reduce the property value, especially if the local authority orders it to be removed or reverted to the original garage. Valuers and estate agents will consider the legal status of any home improvements when determining an asking price. With proper planning permission, a garage conversion can increase a property’s value, but without consent it becomes a liability.

Mortgage Lenders’ Views on Garage Conversions

When considering a garage conversion, it is important to understand how mortgage lenders view these types of home improvements. Lenders want to ensure any major renovations are permitted properly and add value to the property. This thought process applies for your existing mortgage lender on your property but you must also consider what a mortgage lender, a future buyer of yours will use to buy your property.

Planning Permission and Building Regulations

The majority of lenders will require the evidence of planning permission (or confirmation that planning was not required) and building regulations approval for a garage conversion before approving a mortgage. If the necessary permits were not obtained or are unavailable, most lenders will not consider the improved space as habitable living space and therefore, will not value the property to the level a seller expects to achieve.

Increased Property Value

Provided the garage conversion was done properly with all necessary approvals, lenders will typically consider it as added habitable space and this improved space can increase the property value, especially if housing prices have appreciated significantly since the time of conversion. However, the value added depends on several factors, including the quality of the renovation, current real estate market conditions, and the overall demand for housing in your local area.

In summary, mortgage lenders generally view garage conversions favourably. However, illegal or poorly executed garage conversions often pose risks that may negatively impact your ability to obtain mortgage financing. It is best to do thorough research on all rules and regulations before starting any renovation project.

Garage Conversions FAQs: Your Top Questions Answered

Planning a garage conversion comes with many questions. Here we address some of the most frequently asked ones to help put you at ease.

Do I need planning permission for a garage conversion?

In most cases, converting your garage into living space will require planning permission from your local authority. There are some exceptions, such as if the garage is part of the original house structure or if the conversion will not change the overall appearance of the building. It is best to check with your council to determine if your specific garage conversion requires permission. The planning permission process typically takes 8 to 12 weeks and costs around £300 to £1,500 depending on the complexity.

Will I need building regulations approval?

Building regulations approval is also usually required for garage conversions to ensure the new living space meets safety standards. The building control process is separate from planning permission and assesses specifications like ventilation, fire safety, structural stability, and electrical installations. Building control approval typically costs between £500 to £1,500. Failure to obtain proper approvals can negatively impact the property value and cause issues when selling the home.

How much will a garage conversion add to the property value?

On average, converting a garage into living space can add between 10 to 20 percent to the value of a property. The exact figure depends on factors like the size of the garage, the quality of the conversion, the local property market, and the type of room created such as a bedroom, home office, or recreational area. A garage conversion that adds significant living space and receives proper planning and building approvals will typically result in a higher value increase.

What if there are no approvals for an existing conversion?

If you are purchasing a property with an existing garage conversion that lacks proper approvals, it is best to address the issue as soon as possible. Unapproved conversions can be unsafe, negatively impact mortgage lending, and reduce the property value. You have a few options: 1) Apply for retrospective planning permission and building control approval. 2) Remove the conversion and re-convert the garage. 3) Negotiate the price to account for the missing approvals. In any case, consulting with the council and a surveyor is advisable.


In summary, converting your garage into living space can be a worthwhile investment that adds value and provides additional room in your home. However, it is not an easy or straightforward process and requires careful planning to execute properly according to regulations. Do your research, understand the costs and legal requirements fully, and work with experienced professionals to ensure it is done right. If done well, a garage conversions can be a great way to gain extra living space without the expense and hassle of moving to a new home. With some time and patience, you’ll be enjoying your new garage conversion in no time.

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