Garage Conversion Questions - what are the questions a homeowner should be asking
It has been my experience that most home extensions including garage conversions are very
rarely initially considered by the homeowner as part of a whim. Simply for something to do. They always seem to
result from a specific defined need of the household.
However, many homeowners fail to ‘see the wood for the trees’ and are reluctant to ‘self analyse’ their primary
motivation for embarking on such a scheme and then do not consider all the issues or other alternatives and
opportunities that the property may have for the given estimated budget of the garage conversion cost.
Most experienced and valued house extension designers or architects will automatically see and evaluate the
bigger picture of the entire property within there first 30 minutes of visiting the site for the first time. If
they see an easier or better way of achieving the clients aims then they will not be afraid to run this past you.
This can take many homeowners by surprise.
One minute they have brought in a ‘so called building design expert’ to discuss the garage conversion and then
all of a sudden they are now considering a simple rear single storey extension that provides an alternative layout
for that large family kitchen that could just have some additional benefits. It can be a lot to take on board for
the home owner.
To avoid this I would suggest that all home owners consider the following questions as a sort of ‘self analysis
check list’ before deciding on a garage conversion:-
Garage conversion question 1 - Are you happy to lose a potential car space or maybe two. Can your road
accommodate any on road car parking disbursement and are you happy to park your car or cars well away from your
home and out of site.
Garage conversion question 2 - If your garage is simply used for rough storage (as most are) are you
happy to lose this storage and can you accommodate it elsewhere on the property (time for a new shed?).
Garage conversion question 3 - Is your intended use of the garage space a suitable location for the rooms
use intended? Does it have access from the main circulation areas rather than from another room which is usually an
undesirable feature for most homeowners.
Garage conversion question 4 - If new or adjusted drainage provision is required (for a new WC or utility
for example) can this be easily completed without digging up existing floors (expensive).
Garage conversion question 5 - Most garages house service meters. If you need them to be relocated this
will cost several thousands of pounds. If they are retained this may mean unsightly and awkwardly placed boxing or
housing that will not look attractive and lose valuable use of space.
Garage conversion question 6 - Will the converted garage space become a flexible use of space
for the changing needs of the family or new owners in the future or is the space simply for one or more defined use
that would be difficult to change later on.
Garage conversion question 7 - What are the knock on works required to make the converted garage actually
feel like an original part of the house and are they worth the costs? Some garages have much lower ceiling heights
and lowered floor levels. This could mean raising the existing roof to maintain consistent ceiling heights for the
converted room not to feel oppressive.
Garage conversion question 8 - What else could you achieve for the estimated budget costs of converting
the garage and could an alternative set of building works achieve a better solution? Have you considered all the
other options available for the budget.