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Do I need planning permission for a garage conversion?

With only 10% of garage conversions requiring planning permission, this could be the renovation for you.

3 min read

Whether you’re going for a new study, gym, bedroom, or playroom, you’re probably wondering whether or not your garage conversion needs planning permission.

Unlike extensions, garage conversions are less about building new space, and more about better-utilising space already available to you. Because of this, planning policy for these projects is a little different.

Here’s everything you need to know…

Planning permission for garage conversions

So, will you need planning permission? Unlikely.

In fact, it’s estimated only 10% of garage conversions will require full planning permission, the rest come under permitted development rights. These rights ensure, as long as the work you’re carrying out is internal, and you’re not trying to enlarge the existing structure, you’re free to proceed to the building regulations stage.

Permitted development rights

To comply with permitted development rights, your project will need to follow these rules...

  • Works are internal
  • Uses similar building materials to the existing house
  • Does not enlarge the building

You may also need planning permission if you’re changing a detached garage into a living space - such as a bedroom, living room, or small annexe.

Exceptions

Unfortunately, some homes are excluded from the permitted development scheme, such as..

  • Flats / maisonettes
  • Listed buildings
  • Some new developments
  • Most homes within a conservation area

If in doubt about your planning route, either consult your local authority or ask your architect.

Lawful development certificate

Even if you don’t need to complete a full planning application, we still recommend you obtain a lawful development certificate.

A lawful development certificate isn’t a legal requirement, but do offer added protection. They essentially prove to both your local authority and future buyers that your project was legal at the point of construction. This protects you in the event planning policies change and means you can start construction with confidence.

So if you’re worried you may or may not be within your rights to convert your garage, this is the documentation for you!

Building regulations

While you might be able to avoid the uncertainties of planning permission, one admin stage you absolutely won’t be able to skip is building regulations.

These are a set of statutory requirements that all buildings must meet in order to create a safe and healthy environment to inhabit.

They cover...

  • Structure
  • Fire Safety
  • Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture
  • Toxic substances
  • Sound
  • Ventilation
  • Hygiene
  • Drainage and waste disposal
  • Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems
  • Protection from falling, collision and impact
  • Conservation of power and fuel
  • Access to and use of buildings
  • Electrical safety in dwellings

To ensure your project is in line with UK building regulations, we recommend you commission a set of technical drawings of your proposed build, so your contractor has detailed instruction on meeting all legal requirements.

Learn more about preparing a building regulations package.

If you’re considering a garage conversion, but you’re not sure where to start, why not book in a call with our team? Our consultations are 100% free and allow you to explore everything from design ideas to budgeting.

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