Planning Permission Guide: Garage Conversion

Make sure you prepare yourself for the prospect of a planning application by looking over your garage conversion plans as soon as possible.

Garage conversion

If you have recently got rid of your family’s car, and/or have a disused or cluttered garage that seems like it is going to waste, then why not consider a complete overhaul and undertake a proper garage conversion? As a refurbishment project it doesn’t involve ripping apart the rest of the home, and can give you a whole new room to make the most of in no time – but is it really that easy? And will you need planning permission from the local council to finish the conversion too?

Advantages of a Garage Conversion

There are numerous benefits to refurbishing or converting your garage space, including the following:

  • The conversion will help you maximise space in your home, creating extra room for belongings and potentially adding a new bedroom, lounge or utility space for you to use on a daily basis.
  • It also helps you de-clutter, giving you a chance to throw away a load of old junk you haven’t used in ages and get some brand new furniture and appliances in to spruce the place up.
  • A refurbishment also helps you to re-focus the purpose of the room, perhaps helping you to discover exactly what you need in your home – whether that is a quiet study; a comfortable room to relax in; or a brand new games room which the whole family can enjoy.

Whatever you choose, a garage conversion gives you the chance to take up that new hobby or give yourself that private retreat you have been craving – so what about the actual conversion work itself? Will the refurbishment require planning approval?

Do I need Planning Permission to Convert my Garage?

Like most outbuildings nowadays, garage conversions are generally considered by most local authorities as “permitted developments” – which means that usually, garage conversion planning permission won’t be required. Nevertheless, this is dependent on a number of rules and regulations being adhered to; for example, planning permission might be required if…

  • You are enlarging the building within which the garage conversion is taking place (i.e. potentially extending the garage out further onto your front garden or driveway).
  • You are adding an additional storey to the garage (if you don’t already have one) to bring it in line with the rest of the property.
  • You are cladding the exterior and/or interior of the garage as part of the conversion process.
  • You are making changes to a garage that is attached to a listed building.
  • If you are still unsure of whether or not your plans mean you might require planning permission for garage conversion, then you should get in touch with a quantity surveyor or your local authority as soon as possible. They will be able to clarify all the current rules and regulations that are in place and help you amend you final blueprints or refurbishment ideas if necessary – after all, it is always less fuss to opt for a garage conversion that falls under the category of a ‘permitted development’.

    If, however, you want to stick with your plans and are prepared to fill out a planning application, then you should be also be ready to put the home improvement project on hold; applications can take up to four weeks to be assessed and considered, and if your application is refused you may need to file an appeal, or reconsider the important question: do I really want to wait for planning permission to convert my garage?