Garage

How do you legalize garage conversion?

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Have you given any thought to the possibility of converting your garage into a home office, additional bedroom, playroom, or even a granny flat? Hitch Property Constructions has the best range of renovations services to help you create your dream house.

    Removing your vehicle from the garage and replacing it with new furniture and fittings are only two steps in the process of converting a garage into a liveable space. Converting a garage can be a cost-effective way to gain the additional space you require.

    Do I need building consent for the conversion work?

    According to the Building Code of Australia ("BCA"), a garage is a Class 10a building, which means that it is not a structure that can be used for human habitation.

    A reclassification to Class 1a is required whenever a garage is converted into a room that can be inhabited. Before any work can begin, therefore, you will need to submit a Development Application to your local council and get their approval on it.

    Garage Conversion

    Is a Permit Required to Convert a Garage?

    Because you are altering how the space will be utilised, you will most likely be required to obtain building permits, although the specifics of this requirement can vary depending on where you live.

    Contact the Zoning Department of your city for more information on how to apply for permits to convert garages into living spaces. When applying for a permit, it is possible that you will be required to work with an architect to provide a proposed floor plan.

    Obtaining the necessary permits will ensure that your plans comply with all of the applicable local ordinances and building codes for living spaces.

    The minimum number of windows that must be present in a room, the number of exits and entrances, the height of the ceiling, the number of outlets, and possibly even more aspects are sometimes mandated by local building codes. If you are unable to fulfil any of these requirements, you may be eligible to submit a request for a waiver, depending on the nature of the problem.

    The cost of obtaining a permit for a garage conversion can vary, but it is typically in the range of $1,000 and $1,500 on average. If you need to apply for a variance, you should plan on spending more money.

    Be aware that some city ordinances and homeowner associations may require a certain amount of covered parking, which could prevent you from converting your garage. These requirements could come from the city itself.

    If your space requires a permit, it will also require an inspection once the renovation is complete to ensure that you have complied with all of the requirements imposed by the zoning code and the building code.

    Council Approval

    In the majority of states and territories, you will be required to obtain approval from the local council in order to convert your garage into a habitable room.

    This is due to the fact that you will be transforming an unliveable space into a room that can be inhabited. It is likely that this will begin with the approval of the development.

    The council will want to know that the work you have done will satisfy the standards established by the Building Code of Australia (BCA) for dwellings as well as any additional requirements imposed by the council. In the event that you are considering transforming a garage into a granny flat, it is imperative that you educate yourself on the relevant regulations.

    You will be required to present the council with both preliminary and final plans in order to gain approval. A skilled drafter will be able to supply you with the plans and may even be able to assist you in getting the necessary approvals.

    What are the main factors I need to take into consideration?

    However, if you do decide to convert your garage into a living space, there are a few things you absolutely must keep in mind.

    Is your garage suitable for conversion?

    It is essential to determine whether the height of the room will comply with the requirements for a room to be habitable. After the flooring has been installed, the height between the floor and the ceiling of this room must be a minimum of 2.4 metres.

    The following most important question is whether or not your garage is watertight. In most cases, this is not required when the space is utilised for parking a vehicle or storing tools and bicycles. Your garage is probably equipped with a drain, or at the very least, a gap in the concrete that can serve the same purpose as a drain, and the fall of your driveway may be channelling the rain runoff in that direction.

    Because the concrete floor in the garage is not typically laid to the same waterproofing standards as the rest of your home, there is a possibility that rising dampness will occur there. Putting a concrete slab and a membrane over the top of the existing slab is one option for correcting this problem.

    When is Converting Garage to a Room a Good Option?

    Converting your garage into a habitable space is something to think about if you want to increase the amount of living space in your home but don't want to start from scratch.

    Your home could benefit from the addition of a garage if any of the following are true:

    • You won't have any trouble finding a suitable replacement for the garage door in your area: When you remodel your living space, will there be room for patio doors or another entrance in the spot where the overhead door used to be? If this is not possible, you will need to ensure that the new wall will blend in with the exterior of your home and that you will be able to construct a wall that does not look like it was once a garage.
    • You have room in your budget for heating and cooling: Determine whether or not your existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can handle a load of an additional room in order to cut costs. If this is the case, you can extend the ventilation system so that it also covers the garage. In the event that this is not the case, you have the option to either update the system or purchase an independent system in order to provide a heating solution in the garage; however, you will need to ensure that one of these options is within your financial means.
    • Contacting a plumber should be your first step if you want to turn your garage conversion project into a mother-in-law suite or apartment so that you can add a bathroom or kitchenette to the space. The addition of plumbing lines, and more specifically drainage, is typically the most expensive component of a garage makeover, and it's possible that your budget won't allow for it.
    • There are parking and storage options elsewhere that are sufficient: Converting your garage will ultimately result in the loss of both parking and storage space. If you no longer have a place to store your lawnmower or toolbox, or if you have inadequate or unreliable parking, converting the garage into additional living space will not be worth the investment that it requires.

    Determine why you want to convert your garage

    My Garage

    Take into consideration the space, or the function of the space, that you need in order to receive the most helpful advice. Do you want a cabana, a studio, a granny flat, or a recreational room next to the swimming pool?

    It's possible that adding an extension to your home or building an addition on the ground floor would be a more efficient way to get the additional space you need. This will almost certainly result in a significant improvement in the standard of living that you enjoy.

    In addition, the cost of lowering the height of the garage floor by excavating or removing it in order to conform to the height restrictions can be quite high. Because of the limitations imposed by the construction, raising the roof and ceiling is not always possible.

    The minimum ceiling height that must be met in order for a room to be considered habitable according to the BCA is 9 feet.

    Your new habitable room needs to have a ceiling height of at least 2.4 metres, whereas a garage only needs a ceiling height of 2.1 metres to meet the minimum requirements.

    In circumstances in which the ceiling height is less than 2.4 metres, raising the roof is frequently the only option available because removing the concrete slab that comprises the garage floor is not only expensive but also difficult.

    The walls of a garage are typically made of a single brick, and in order to reduce the risk of rising damp, these walls will need to be sealed using either a waterproof membrane or waterproof paint.

    The installation of a stud wall can provide a home for the electrical components and the insulation at the same time. After that, you can complete the look by applying plasterboard and the paint colour of your choice.

    In the event that the concrete slab was not constructed in accordance with the residential slab BCA standards, the area beneath the concrete slab in its entirety is required to be treated with a termite management system.

    Because the National Building Code of Australia's provisions regarding termite risk management is subject to variations across Australia, you will need to check the requirements of your State.

    There ought to be visible indicators of a membrane that is watertight beneath the slab. If this is not the case, you will need to waterproof the slab by utilising one of the many commercial products that are available for use in this manner. These can be rolled on or brushed on, and once they are in place, they will stop any moisture in the room from rising to the ceiling.

    As part of either your Development Application or your Application for Consent, you are required to provide specifics regarding your organization's conformance with the BCA's energy efficiency provisions.

    This is referred to as the Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) in the state of New South Wales (NSW), while the Nationwide House Energy Rating System is used elsewhere in Australia (NatHERS).

    These plans intend to determine whether or not a building is thermally comfortable and whether or not it is necessary to heat or cool the building in order to keep the occupants at a comfortable temperature.

    By removing the existing garage door and installing a sizable window in its place, it will be possible to satisfy the criteria set forth by the BCA and guarantee that the space is well-lit with natural light. The new room must have a window opening with an area that is equal to at least ten per cent of the total floor space of the new room.

    All plumbing and electrical work must be carried out by a plumber or electrician who possesses a valid licence. They are able to present you with the required Certificates of Compliance upon request. A smoke detector is required to be installed in the room if it is going to be utilised as sleeping quarters.

    Rainwater usually flows into a drain that is located at the end of a driveway and in front of the garage door. This type of driveway typically has a fall that is on an incline.

    When you are designing the structure, you need to take this into consideration so that any rainwater can be directed away from the liveable area.

    Because the garage is no longer able to accommodate your vehicle, it is a requirement in some states that an additional parking spot be made available on the premises to take the place of the parking space formerly occupied by the garage.

    Looking for Melbourne garage renovations? Look no further. Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.

    Consider the costs

    Converting an existing garage or carport into a rumpus room, games room, or party room is an inexpensive way to gain some additional floor space and provide some additional privacy for teenage children when they entertain their friends. If it is well-planned and carried out, it will increase the value of your home.

    Because this space is typically 6 square metres in size and is frequently located beneath the primary roof, a double garage is an excellent choice for this purpose.

    Under the Building Code of Australia (BCA), a garage is considered a class 10a structure; however, if the structure is converted into a habitable space, its classification must be changed to class 1. The requirements for class 1 buildings are significantly more stringent than those for class 10a buildings.

    Meeting these requirements can be challenging at times, necessitating the development of inventive approaches to problem-solving. Even though it may seem like a simple task, in order to achieve a good result, it is necessary to have a significant amount of knowledge concerning planning regulations and the Building Code of Australia.

    When there is a disagreement between neighbours, the local council will frequently issue orders to stop any work being done. After submitting the required retrospective documentation, the construction work can finally get back underway.

    The corrective works necessary to achieve compliance were significantly more expensive than the clients' original savings goal. The fact that a minimum ceiling height of 2.4 metres is permissible for a living area is one of the most frequent issues that arise.

    The majority of the time, garages have fewer than this. Another possibility is that they have 2.4 metres, but the floor level has been lowered to accommodate vehicle access.

    This presents a challenge because living areas are subject to minimum requirements for floor height in relation to the ground level adjacent to them. The ceiling does not comply if it is raised to meet the standards if the floor is raised.

    Another potential issue is that there may not be any treatment for white ants or damp-proof membranes beneath the slabs of the existing garage or carport. It may be challenging to complete the necessary corrective work without making significant alterations to the organisational structure in order to address these deficiencies.

    The majority of jobs call for a new topping slab because doing so allows for the installation of a complying white-ant treatment and damp-proof membrane. The majority of councils have planning regulations in place that stipulate a minimum of one covered parking space per residential unit.

    If you plan to turn your garage into a living space, you will need to find another location with an enclosed parking spot for your vehicles. In most cases, the construction of a new carport in front of an existing house in order to create a new covered parking space is not permitted because the majority of councils have specific planning rules that prohibit this type of development.

    Or even three times over! Garages are typically the simplest spaces to work with because the solution to dividing the space into two distinct areas while maintaining a single (complying) parking spot is as simple as erecting an internal partition.

    Additionally, garages and carports are frequently located on or close to property lines. The issue of fire-resistant construction, as well as minimum setback rules, is brought up whenever there is development on a boundary, which is always problematic. Because of the one-of-a-kind nature of each situation, it is important to consult an expert before getting started.

    When the scope of the project is on the more modest side, a DA might appear to be rather pricey. It is impossible to ignore the reports and documentation that are required for a development application (DA) for converting a garage, as the level of information that is required may be comparable to that which is required for a large extension.

    Suppose you are one of the lucky people who have a sufficient height of at least 2.4 metres inside their garage and is able to successfully waterproof the garage. In this scenario, you would be considered one of the lucky ones. If this is the case, converting your garage rather than adding an extension might be the more cost-effective option.

    What Type of Room Can a Garage Become?

    Your project allows for an unlimited amount of personalisation. You are free to convert your remodelled garage into any kind of living space you want as long as you adhere to the requirements of the building code.

    When you try to build an independent living space, such as an apartment, on your property, you might run into more challenges than when you try to convert your garage into a single room. This is because the zoning regulations for each property are different.

    Garage conversion ideas include:

    • Playroom
    • One-Room Apartment or Mother-in-Law Quarters
    • Bedroom
    • Art studio
    • Office
    • Room for the family

    When you are converting your garage into a living space, the only restrictions you will face are those that are imposed on you by the regulations of your community and your financial situation..

    Garage Conversion Essentials

    Concrete is typically used for the floor, and most garages have walls, a roof, and at least one window. It will require additional work before it can be turned into a home that can be lived in.

    To begin, you will need to replace your garage door with a more suitable replacement door. Additionally, in order to increase the amount of natural light and fresh air in the space, you will want to instal additional windows. Other things that you will most likely need to factor into your estimates are the following:

    • Flooring
    • Waterproofing
    • Insulation
    • Walls within the interior
    • An interior covering for the ceiling or roof.
    • Alternating between warm and cold
    • Lighting

    Due to the fact that garage floors are not raised, you will additionally need to ensure that water is unable to enter the converted space. It is possible that you will need to instal an elevated floor and hire a drainage specialist in order to redirect water away from the interior of the building.

    It's possible that the driveway that leads to your converted garage will stick out like a sore thumb. A little bit of landscaping can help with this, and you may also want to think about rerouting your current driveway into a designated parking space and putting in a carport. These are both options to consider.

    In order to have power points and lighting fixtures installed in your garage, you will need the assistance of an electrician. This is true regardless of whether you intend to use the space as an extra bedroom or a home office.

    You will also need to have plumbing installed in the garage if you intend to turn it into a granny flat or if you want it to function as a living space that is independent of the main house. If you intend to use it as a granny flat that can be rented out, then it will need to be equipped with a bathroom as well as kitchen facilities.

    After tallying up all of the expenses, you might find that converting your garage will set you back significantly more money than you had anticipated it would.

    For instance, the cost of converting a garage into a playroom or home office with electricity and air conditioning but without plumbing can range anywhere between $10,000 and $15,000. When you instal the plumbing for a bathroom and a kitchenette, the price will go up significantly.

    However, it is important to keep in mind that starting from scratch would result in much higher costs. When converted into a granny flat, a garage has the potential to become a wonderful living or working space, and it may even provide you with additional income if the conversion is done correctly.

    Just make sure that you get the job done correctly and seek assistance from professionals. If you don't try to save money by cutting corners by omitting the components that render it safe, comfortable, and hygienic, the additional expense will be well worth it. We have an extensive range of home repairs Melbourne services at Hitch Property Constructions.

    Before making a final decision, it is important to discuss your space-enhancement objectives with contractors and other professionals to determine whether or not converting your garage would be the most effective way to meet those objectives in a way that would be safe, secure, and maintain the value of your home.

    FAQs About Garage Renovation

    As long as the work being done is on the interior of the building and does not involve expanding it, homeowners typically do not need permission from the local planning authority in order to convert their garage into an additional living space for their home.

    It is essential that you are aware of the fact that submitting scaled architectural drawings to your local authority is a requirement regardless of whether or not your garage conversion calls for planning permission. This is something that you should keep in mind.

    Converting a garage into a living space qualifies as permitted development, but only after receiving approval from the building regulations. You will need the appropriate flooring, an in fill door, some walls that are below ground level, and adequate ventilation in order to transform the area into a living space that is suitable for habitation by a human being.

    Your home's value could increase by as much as twenty percent if you convert your garage into living space, and doing so will provide you with valuable additional space that is less likely to be subject to planning complications.

    Yes. Before you can convert your detached garage into any kind of residential accommodation or office space, you will be required to submit an application for a change of use. Before beginning, you should make sure that you are in compliance with the law by contacting the local planning authority in your area.

    Scroll to Top