Garage conversions - 5 things you need to know

A garage conversion is one of the most affordable ways to add living space to your home, with the added bonus that there is minimal disruption to the rest of your home. It's also a brilliant way to get rid of all of the junk that's often stored in a garage and transform it into something amazing!

Here is what you need to know before you start a garage conversion.

1. How much will my garage conversion cost?

The costs of a garage conversion will vary depending on its current condition, what it's going to be used for and where you live in the country.

Expect to pay anything from £10,000 for a single integrated garage with a basic finish. However, if your garage requires significant work such as changing the roof or reinforcing the foundations, expect to pay from £20,000 for a single garage without fitting.

Here are some of the costs to consider:

Professional fees

Budget between £1,000 - £1,500 for professional fees. This will cover the cost of the structural engineer, the building regs drawings and the building control application and inspection. If you need to hire an architect then you will need to add more.

Building work

Budget between £800 - £1,300 + VAT per square metre for the building work. If your garage is in decent condition then you can budget at the lower end. If you live in London and the South-East of England then expect to pay nearer the top end of the scale.


The could include a bathroom, incorporating a kitchen or just decor. Remember to budget even for the small things such as sockets and skirting - they all add up! Here are some of the big things to budget for:

  • New kitchen - budget anything between £5,000 - £25,000 depending on specification. If you are looking for a high end kitchen, expect to pay significantly more than £25,000.
  • New bathroom / en-suite - expect to pay between £3,000 - £10,000 depending on the quality of the fittings.
  • Windows - ranges vary depending on material with PVCu starting at £150 per metre and up to £450 per metre for hardwood windows. Aluminium is slightly cheaper than hardwood.
  • Doors - budget anything from £80 - £200 for a good quality internal door.
  • Heating - the cost of replacing a boiler is around £1,800- £2,500 but expect to pay more if you are moving the location in your home. The cost to install "wet" underfloor heating is around £80 - £100 per square metre.
  • Flooring - budget from £20 - £30 per square metre for decent laminate or vinyl and around £60 - £100 per square metre for wood, engineered wood or tiles. For carpet, expect to pay from £10 - £40 per square metre, depending on the quality and percentage of wool.
  • Contingency of 10%

2. Do I need planning permission for my garage conversion?

Garage extensions are normally within permitted development as you are not actually changing the structure.

There are some conversions that you must always seek permission for, such as if you live in a conservation area, a flat or maisonette, or if the garage is a separate building. You should always consult your local authority and confirm whether your plans are within the permitted development.

You can apply to your local council for a lawful development certificate. This is proof that your garage conversion was done lawfully and didn't require planning permission. It's particularly helpful for any queries should you wish to sell your home in the future.

Do look out for any restrictive covenants on your property, particularly if it's in a new build property. 

3. What about garage conversion building regs?

If you are converting a garage into a room (or even part of your garage), you will need to ensure the converted building complies with building regulations, even if you don't need planning permission. Building regulations checks will include the following:

  • Fire safety
  • Drainage
  • Ventilation and insulation
  • Electrics 
  • New structure 

A structural engineer will be able to complete the drawings required for building control and often can apply for building regulations on your behalf, but do confirm that they are covering this off. You should get a completion certificate 8 weeks after completion - make sure you receive this!

To find out more, read your guide - garage conversion building regs.

4. Do I need an architect to help with my garage conversion?

Normally you don't need an architect as the layout is simple and in most cases you won't need to submit a planning application. However you may want to work with an architect if you are knocking your garage through to create a larger kitchen, for example.

5. Should I use a specialist garage conversion company?

A specialist garage conversion company will be expert in this area and can handle the end to end project for you from the design to decor, although you may pay a premium for this. An experienced builder will be able to carry out your garage conversion easily.

Published: December 10, 2018

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