A Guide to Garage Conversions

Garage conversions present two distinct advantages. They can add extra living space to your home, bypassing the need to move house, and increase the value of your property by as much as 10%. To accomplish these goals, the conversion needs to be well-planned as well as aesthetically pleasing. Below are some guidelines for making your conversion project a success.

Space Planning and Design

Garages tend to have long, thin dimensions. To create a more natural shape for a living space, consider dividing the space into two rooms and using the added space as a storeroom or extra toilet or shower.

Planning Permission

You generally don’t need planning permission for a garage conversion because the essential structure of the building is not being altered, but if you live in a Conservation area or a listed building, it’s best to check with your local authority first. If the garage is not connected to your home, you may require a ‘change of use’ planning permission before converting it for habitation.

Building Regulations for Garage Conversions

When you convert your garage into a habitable room, applicable building regulations will have to be complied with. These requirements include ventilation, a separate escape route, and proper foundation for any walls erected to replace the garage door.


Walls will need to be properly insulated to prevent the escape of heat. They (and the floor) will also have to be damp-proofed to prevent moisture from rising and rotting the brickwork and floor materials.

Plumbing and Wiring

All of the plumbing and wiring in both your home and the garage will need to be surveyed. Rewiring the garage will strain the household mains, so an additional mains supply can be installed to accommodate. You will also need to locate the primary water outflows and soil outflow if you intend to install a toilet.


External walls must meet building regulations in terms of insulation and moisture-proofing. If the garage is attached to the house, the walls will usually comply with regulations. Otherwise a stud wall or second block wall should be considered. Interior walls  and doors within the conversion must be fireproofed, with the latter requiring a 30-minute rating.

Windows and Doors

Building and fire regulations require a second room in the conversion to have ventilation and an escape route. There must be a window 1/20 of the room’s floor area, with a 600mm base opening and trickle vents. When putting in doors or windows, you may have to reinforce the original wall with a rolled steel joist or concrete lintel.

Completion Certificate

A completion certificate provides evidence that the work was completed according to regulations. Having it available for inspection also adds genuine value to your property where estate agents and prospective buyers are concerned. It serves as evidence that certain measures that are not readily visible, such as building foundations and under-floor damp prevention, have been completed in accordance with current building standards. The certificate is your ticket to recouping your investment when it comes time to sell.

About Connection Construction House Extension builders in Chelmsford & Essex

Connection Construction is a main contractor providing both residential and commercial building services in Essex, including Chelmsford, Braintree, Colchester and Maldon.

Our team of contractors and subcontractors have years of experience in completing successful garage conversions, extensions, and complete new builds in the Essex area and we always show exceptional attention to detail in our construction work. We take great pride in every contract, where even the smallest of jobs is delivered with the same level of detail and care as major, high profile, developments.