Building a Garage: The Complete Guide
Building a garage can be a good way to add value to your property, as well as convenience for you. Read on to get more information from our guide on how to add a garage to your property.
Uses for Your Garage – not just for for cars!
While the initial premise of a garage is to store your car, garage space is increasingly used for storage or other purposes. With this in mind, it is important to take this into account during the design phase. Versatility is the byword for designing a garage in 2021, to give yourself the option to use the space for many different purposes. In any event, the construction of a garage attached to your property can increase the value by as much as £15,000, and if you are looking to sell a property for more than £600,000, you are unlikely to find a buyer if the property is not equipped with a garage. Many people choose to build a garage with the intention of using it as a home gym. This can be advantageous since it is easier to move heavy gym equipment onto a ground-floor space. A garage is also ideal to be converted into a gym space due to its open-plan nature. There are many other uses for a garage, such as creating a workshop or studio space for your hobby, such as arts and crafts and DIY projects, or storage for your gardening tools.
Steps to Building a Garage
Whatever purpose you decide to use the garage for, the steps to have it built are the same, as is the price you can expect to pay. One of the first steps to adding a garage is to decide whether you would like it to be joined to the house or not. This will depend on your site and the construction of your existing property: some won’t be able to bear the extra load of a garage attached to the existing structure. Assuming the original house allows it, the choice is yours to make, and there are different advantages and disadvantages to building an attached or detached garage. A garage which is part of the existing structure naturally offers easier access, which is certainly more agreeable in the event of inclement weather conditions. It also means that if you plan to use your garage as a utility area as well as a space to store your car, the garage will be further integrated into the property, making the garage feel more like a part of the primary dwelling. On the other hand, building a detached garage separately gives you more options in the design process, since the existing property doesn’t need to be taken into account. A detached garage also creates a more striking visual impression on visitors and potential future buyers. If you decide to go down this route, consult with your architect (find one in your area here!) to make sure the design doesn’t overshadow the main property. One significant advantage of building a standalone garage is that provided you meet certain conditions relating to size and other restrictions, you will not require planning permission as this falls under permitted development.
When it comes to the size of your garage, the choice lies with you. The size of a parking space is on average 2.4m by 2.8m, so ideally the size of your garage would be roughly double this in both directions. If you have a large car, such as a luxury saloon or off-road vehicle, you may decide to make the garage larger than this, particularly in height, as you may find the average garage dimensions slightly restrictive for a larger vehicle. If the garage is not going to be used exclusively for storing vehicles, you may wish to make it larger still, in order to have plenty of space for both your car and your other intended usages of the space. Many garage builders choose to make the space as large as their plot will allow, which has the effect that the space can always be converted for another purpose in future.
Regarding the design of your garage, you again have many different options and are limited only by your creativity. Make this one of the initial stages of your construction planning, so that it looks as appealing as possible to passers-by and potential future purchasers. Generally, it is best if the design of the garage mirrors that of the main property, in order to keep your home looking coherent. This will also make obtaining planning permission from the local authority easier as well, since they are unlikely to grant you permission to build something that varies markedly both from your original property and those in the surrounding area. One popular choice is a timber-frame garage, which are both aesthetically pleasing as well as significantly faster to erect than a garage constructed from bricks or other materials.
Planning Permission to Build a Garage
Obtaining planning permission is generally more straightforward for constructing a garage than it is for other types of home extension. As previously stated, in the UK a standalone garage will fall under permitted development if the total surface area is less than 30m2. For an integrated garage, there is a height limit of 2.5m, and the proposed construction must not extend further forward than the existing boundary of the property. The planning authority may also have some influence on the placement and layout of your driveway: they will make sure that it is positioned safely for other road users, and that you will not have to make too sharp a turn in order to access it. Another concern is making sure that disabled access on the pavement outside your property (if there is one) will not be negatively impacted. Bear in mind that if your home happens to be in a protected area such as an area of natural beauty (AONB), permitted development may not apply and you will be required to make a full planning application. This will have more restrictive conditions than planning permission in another area of the country. Building regulations will always apply, for aspects such as wiring and fire safety.
As time goes on and your family evolves, you may decide that you wish to convert your garage into a living space. This could be the case for example if you welcome a new baby into the family, or you have an adult child that needs to move back home. To facilitate this possibility in the future, there are some considerations it would be prudent to take into account during the initial design process, to make this easier in the event you later decide on a garage conversion. First, try to avoid including load-bearing walls in the internal space of the garage, as these will be difficult to demolish in the event you would like to open out the space to turn into sleeping quarters. If you think this is a possibility in the future, it would also be wise to include water, wiring and sewage connections in the original design to make this faster and more straightforward. Make sure to insulate the garage as well to make it more comfortable for any potential inhabitants. Generally, you will not need to apply to the planning authority for a change of use, so long as all the work carried out is to be internal.
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