Top 10 Tips for your Attic/Garage Conversion
Converting your attic or garage can be a great way to add some additional space to your home without building a full-blown extension; It can be cheaper and can avoid the need for obtaining planning consent. Every project is unique, so get in touch for bespoke advice. Here are our Top Ten Tips for a successful conversion.
10. Size Matters
Is it big enough to be worth converting in the first place? Don't forget, the space is likely to get smaller when converted due to the insulation requirements of building regulations. In the case of the garage, this is less of a problem, but in an attic this could lose you vital height.
9. Strong and Stable?
You garage should easily be strong enough; Having been designed for a car, it's likely got steel reinforcement in it, so should happily accommodate your refurbishment. However, your roof probably wasn't designed to support an additional floor, so you may need to replace or beef-up the existing floor joists.
8. Do You Need Planning Permission?
One of the great things about garage and attic conversions is not having to get planning permission, except that sometimes you do. Every situation is unique, but broadly speaking if it looks the same on the outside when you're done, you don't need planning permission. This has lead to many people having hilariously small garages where opening the door reveals a tiny store as the rest has been converted.
7. You Definitely Need Building Regulations
You can't and shouldn't avoid building regulations. Building Control will provide you with great advice to ensure a safe finished build. The regulations cover many aspects, but in the case of conversions it's fire separation/escape and insulation that tend to be the main focus.
6. Speak With Your Neighbours
A brilliant way to ruin your home life is to have grumpy neighbours. In my experience a lot of this is down to poor communication. Have a chat, show them your plans and try to accommodate any requests they may have as you do have to live next to each other. This may be something simple like not making noise on one particular day as their favourite show is on the telly. It may seem like an inconvenience, but if they make a reasonable request, it's worth trying to accommodate neighbours.
5. Are You Insured?
Contact your insurance provider before you start. You may find you're not covered during construction if you don't inform them and you may find the new room isn't either as it's different to what they're aware of.
4. Make Use of Light
This goes without saying, almost every client brief starts with ‘we would like lots of light’. However, what I'm trying to say is - make use of light. This may be the opportunity to bring light into another room such as a hallway or stairwell, and there's a myriad of opportunities to light spaces, not just roof lights.
3. Every Nook and Cranny Counts
You can never have enough storage! To compound matters, garages and attics tend to be junk repositories, so make sure that you utilise every last piece of that space and fit in storage where you can, because odds are that you'll need it.
2. Will You Ever Sell Up?
Resale value and sellability should be considerations. Even if you never plan to move, it's sensible to think about the resale value and the sellability as you never know what the future holds. In terms of value, it varies wildly by location and other factors, but as a rough rule of thumb, your renovation will add about half as much in value as you spent on the works. Value's not the only consideration, think also of the sellability. Wacky things are rarely very sellable, but the main concern would be exceeding the local ceiling e.g. this conversion may make your home a 5 bedroom home in an area with no demand for 5 bedroom properties - good luck selling up in the future! An estate agent can advise you further.
1. Use A Qualified Architect!
Why chance it? A chartered architect can provide you with creative guidance and advice that easily outweighs the cost of their fees. As you've seen in this article, even a simple project has many considerations, so why not speak to an experienced professional?
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