UK garage conversions: what to consider

Garage conversions are a popular way to create extra living space. Before you start, there are a few things you'll need to consider...

Garage conversions in the UK are a popular way to create extra room without having to build an extension. If you’re thinking about converting your garage into extra living space, there are a few things you’ll need to take into account.

What is your garage conversion for?

Deciding on the purpose of the room will help the planning and design process. Will it be used as a home office, playroom, or extra bedroom? Once you’ve decided this, it will be easier to consider the layout and design of the space

Planning application and building regulations

The majority of UK garage conversions fall under permitted development, so it is unlikely that your project will require planning permission.

However, it is worth checking your project against local and national planning permission advice and rules to determine the type of planning application required.

Whilst your garage conversion may not require planning permission, it will still have to comply with UK building regulations.

Find out more about CR Design’s garage conversion planning and building regulation design packages.

Condition of the garage

You will need to make sure your garage is structurally sound and in good condition, with walls, foundations and floors requiring assessment.

Foundations: existing foundations need to support new walls and any glazing. If the garage conversion is two-storey then existing foundations may need to be reinforced.  

A measured survey would provide key information about the condition of the structure, aswell as obtaining the advice of your builder and/or a structural engineer. Find out more about our measured survey packages.

Head room

To comply with UK building regulations, your garage conversion will need around 2.2m to 2.4m of headroom once the floor has been raised to 15cm above the external ground level.


Building regulations for UK garage conversions will require your project to meet thermal regulations to ensure it is a comfortable living environment. Options will include:

  • insulated plasterboard (including damp proof course)
  • roof insulation
  • floor insulation


If you’re planning to use the room for music or movies, you’ll need to soundproof the space.

This can be done with special soundproofing materials, which could be included during the insulation process.


It is sometimes possible to connect the garage to the household mains consumer unit but, depending on what you are including in your conversion, it may be necessary for the consumer unit to be upgraded or replaced to cope with the additional strain.


You will need to consider plumbing if you wish to install toiler and bathroom facilities in your garage conversion.

A good plumber or builder will be able to advise you.


One of the simplest ways to heat a garage conversion is to install a radiator, run off your existing boiler.

If you wish to maximise your wall space then underfloor heating can also be a good solution.

Fire safety

To comply with UK fire safety building regulations, your new room will need direct access to the outdoors.

If direct access is not possible through the house then an alternative escape route is usually created by replacing the old garage door with a new door or window.

Damp proofing

Floor: a damp proof membrane may be installed to stop water coming up through the existing concrete slab.

Walls: brickwork may need to be upgraded with a cavity wall to meet insulation requirements. To avoid damp, a cavity tray damp proof course may also need to be inserted into any walls that abutt the outside wall of the house.

Replacing the garage door

Unless you are retaining the front portion of your garage as a storage space, the old garage door will need to be replaced with a new wall and usually a window and/or door.


The old roof will almost certainly need to be replaced or upgraded to make a garage conversion fully watertight.

Windows and natural light

One of the best ways to brighten up a space is to add windows and natural light. If your garage doesn’t have any windows, you may want to consider adding some. You could also consider skylights to really let the light in.

CR Designs: UK garage conversion specialists

Whether you need extra bedrooms, a utility room, a study or a home gym, our team of architects and structural engineer will work with you to transform your ideas into concept designs and drawings.

We can prepare concept designs and drawings, technical specifications and structural calculations, whilst providing expertise at every stage of your building project.

To start your garage conversion project, get in touch today.

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