Do i need building regs for a garage conversion: Do I need building regulations approval for my garage conversion

Garage Conversion Without Building Regulations

Key Takeaways

  • Most garage conversions don’t require planning permission but they do need to meet building regulations.
  • If the work is not up to building control standards, you will likely be unable to use the garage as a ‘habitable’ room.
  • As a buyer, your options to resolve this may be as simple as regularisation or indemnity insurance. Alternatively, you may have to reduce your offer or pull out altogether.
  • Older garage conversions may be safe from the planning officers.

Garage conversions are popular because they can add an extra room (and therefore usually increase the value of the house), for a relatively low cost. As long as the work is done properly – with planning permission, where required, and building control sign-off (this means they meet building regulations) – then this is a win-win for buyer and seller.

If you buy a house with a garage conversion without building regulations, the liability for the problem passes on to you as the new owner. The local authority could force you remedy the building regulations breach, meaning you’ll end up paying for the seller’s mistake.

How much does a garage conversion affect house value?

According to Virgin Money, a garage conversion can increase house value by 10-15%. Some conversions can be achieved for as little as £6,000, but this will increase to upwards of £10,000 if you want to add an en suite, depending on the size and quality of the build and materials.

The added value is in the extra bedroom, so this is why building regulations are so important. If you’re buying a house with a garage conversion without building regulations, that room is legally unfit for habitation. You can continue to use the nicely converted extra room as you would a garage, but you can’t live in it, or move a tenant into it.

Do I need to tell mortgage company about garage conversion?

You must tell your mortgage lender. Your solicitor will find out about the garage conversion and they will find out if it was never signed off by building control. It is their legal and professional obligation to inform the Lender as it may effect the value of the property. There is no point trying to hide this from the lender and it will likely cost you time and money when the purchase falls through if you do.

Your mortgage lender will have a surveyor value the property, to make sure that the money they are lending you to buy the property can be recovered by repossessing and selling it, if they absolutely have to. If the garage conversion does not meet building regulations, they will likely undervalue the property to a price more appropriate to a similar property, in a similar area, without the additional bedroom.

What happens if you haven’t got building regs?

If the issue is simply that the building work was never signed off, but the seller (and your own surveyor) think the work is up to scratch, you have two options.

The safest is to ask the seller to apply for a letter of regularisation. This will require a building control inspector to visit the property. They cannot always give full approval, where the construction is hidden for example, but they can confirm that the council won’t take action against you as long as what they can see meets regulations.

Unfortunately, where the works are hidden, this doesn’t guarantee the work is structurally safe. In some cases, you may still require a structural engineer to carry out an intrusive survey to put your mind at rest before you allow anyone to sleep in the room. Furthermore, if the work does not meet the council’s requirements, they will now be aware of the issue and may take action against the seller to redo the work to their standards. Even if this is a risk your seller is willing to make, waiting for a building control inspection can take a while, which may delay your transaction.


    Indemnity Insurance

Can I sell my house without building regulations certificate?

Another option is to get Building Regulations Indemnity Insurance. This is only suitable if the council is not yet aware of the works and it provides no guarantees as to the safety of the building work. However, it is a relatively affordable option which will allow you to push forward with the purchase (provided your lender will accept the policy) without too much delay. It will protect the lender’s loan in the event that the unregulated work devalues the property. The buyer’s conveyancing solicitor must broker this insurance and provide legal advice on the terms.


    Negotiate the price

If the garage conversion has been inspected and it does no meet regulations and/or you can’t get insurance to cover it, you will have to negotiate with the seller. Either they will have to have the conversion remedied with proper sign-off this time, or they will have to bring their price down to meet the valuation by your lender, and/or reflect your costs for doing those works yourself after you complete. If you are lucky enough to be purchasing the property in cash (without a mortgage) then you could choose to go ahead with the purchase at the pre-agreed price, but you’d probably be getting a bad deal.

In this scenario, your seller could dig their heels in and refuse to lower the price, in which case they’d have put the property back on the market and hope that a cash buyer will pay what they’re asking. This will put the seller back by weeks and there are still no guarantees they’ll get the price they want without rectifying the garage conversion, so they should be willing to negotiate with you.

Make sure you instruct a conveyancing solicitor who can handle a tough negotiation if it comes down to it.

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Buying a house with an unpermitted garage conversion

Only about 10% of garage conversions require planning permission – most fall under permitted development rights. Your solicitor will find out whether the title deed prohibited the garage conversion (some properties have restrictions on the title, which require that a garage remains as parking, especially in built up areas) and your planning report will reveal whether the planning permission for the garage conversion was sought (if not, you or your solicitor may need to enquire with the local planning authority to find out whether the garage conversion required permission).

If you’re buying a house with an unpermitted garage conversion and it turns out planning permission was required after all, the local authority could force the seller (or you as the new owner) to restore the garage to its original condition, costing you money and potentially changing the value of the property. You will have to look into retrospective sign off or renegotiation. However, if the work is more than 10 years old, you may be in luck.

Do you need planning permission after 10 years?

The 10 year rule applies to any breach of use of land or buildings (excluding dwellings) which has not been challenged by enforcement action for the period of at least ten years. A garage conversion changes the use from a non dwelling (garage) to a dwelling (somewhere you will live). If 10 years have passed since the unpermitted garage conversion was completed, the seller may be able to apply for a certificate of lawfulness for the development, which would resolve the issue.

The 10-year rule also applies to a breach of any existing planning condition which has not been challenged by enforcement action for the period of at least ten years. There is also a 4 year rule which applies to extensions, but the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill, aims to extend this to 10 years.

Do I Need Planning Permission For My Garage Conversion?

With the sun now beginning to finally shine and lockdown becoming a thing of the past, we are beginning to focus on the future again. However, despite restrictions lifting, the pandemic has caused a permanent shift in the way we view our homes. A garage conversion is quickly becoming the popular choice of renovation.

In what felt like an instant, our homes transformed from places of sanctuary and rest, to our new place of work. For many of us it was a tricky balance to make, especially for those of us with limited space. Therefore, it’s no wonder that the interest in garage conversions has spiked.

Garage conversions are a low-cost option to gain a study, an extra bedroom, more living space or a utility room. Many of us homeowners are guilty of using the garage as a junk or storage room. However, this space can be converted into something more useful.

Do I need planning permission?

In most cases planning permission isn’t required for a garage conversion as this falls under permitted development. However, in some cases it is required. This can be quite difficult to establish so it is best to contact our Architecture team to find out exactly if planning permission would be required for your garage conversion.

Will my garage conversion need to meet building regulations?

Yes, if you are converting your garage into a habitable space, such as a bedroom, extended kitchen area or living area, you will need to ensure that building regulations are met. These building regulations cover ventilation, fire safety, thermal performance and acoustics. Furthermore, there are also structural elements you will need to check which can include the condition of the walls, floors foundations and event the ceiling height.

Further areas you will need to consider when planning a garage conversion

There are some garages which will require more complex work in order to successfully convert them into a habitable space. It is often that these are the stages you would need to hire a professional to ensure you get it right.

There are far more details to consider than meets the eye when embarking on your garage conversion project. Whilst in most cases planning permission isn’t required, it’s important the building regulations are met. Building regulations cover ventilation, fire safety, thermal performance and acoustics. Furthermore, there are also structural elements you will need to check which can include the condition of the walls, floors foundations and event the ceiling height.

Structural calculations

Before starting your garage conversion, there are structural elements that you will need to check. This includes the walls, floors, foundations and ceiling height. If you plan to change the actual structure of the garage, you may need planning permission.

Design considerations

Depending on what you plan on converting your garage into will depend on the things you need to check beforehand. Key areas that you should include in the planning state is whether you will need plumbing, electrics and insulation.

In summary

Garage conversions are a brilliant and cost-effective way of extending your living space. These conversions are one of the few ways to extend without encroaching into your valuable garden space. Not to mention the minimum disruption caused by the building works and the added boost to the value of your home.

Most garage conversion are simple and straight forward. However, it is not unusual that projects become more complex. These are the occasions when it is best to instruct a professional. You should get an Architect or builder to asses your garage before starting the project. It is likely to save you a headache in the long run. Our Architecture team deal with the whole planning process for you from start to finish to ensure the experience is hassle and stress-free. Contact us today to find out how we can help you effectively convert your garage or find out more about our architecture services below.

Setbacks for garage construction: SNiP 2020-2022 norms, tips and legal aspects


  • Construction setback limits garages established by local authorities
  • Control of clearances when building a garage
  • Legal aspects when building a garage: how to avoid fines for breaking the rules
  • Garage setback litigation: what you need to know?
  • Despite the fact that building a garage on a IZHS site looks like a simple matter, there are many rules and regulations that must be taken into account. One of the most important aspects when building a garage is the correct definition of indents, both on land and on construction sites.

    In accordance with the rules and regulations of state standards, there are certain minimum clearances that must be observed when building a garage. These norms are related to various parameters, including the height of the building, its location on the site, purpose, etc.

    Failure to follow these rules and regulations may result in serious consequences. For example, breaking the indentation rules can lead to construction real estate, fines, and even litigation.

    In this article, we will consider the main norms of SNiP 2020-2022 on indents during the construction of a garage, as well as give advice on the correct determination of indents on the IZHS site and consider the legal aspects related to the necessary permits and documents when building a garage.

    Norms of SNiP 2020-2022 for indents during the construction of a garage

    Setbacks – this is the distance from the boundaries of the land to the walls of the garage, which is being built on this site. In accordance with the construction rules on the communication site (IZHS), standards are set for minimum indents for the garage.

    • SNiP 2020-2022 norms are official documents that define the requirements for buildings and structures, including garages. In particular, they set the necessary indents from the boundaries of the site during the construction of the garage.
    • For the construction of a garage on the IZHS site, the following standards must be observed: from the boundaries of the site to the walls of the garage – at least 1 meter, to the edge of the roof – at least 3 meters. If the garage is being built on a corner plot, then the indent from the border should be set between the main facade of the garage and the border.

    Please note that each lot may have its own legal issues regarding setbacks when building a garage. Therefore, before starting the design and construction, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with all the requirements in force in the given territory.

    Norm Distance, m
    1 meter from the boundary of the plot to the walls of the garage
    3 meters from the boundary of the plot to the edge of the roof

    How to choose the best setback for your garage: professional advice

    Setback is the distance that must be left between the boundaries of the site and the place where the garage is built. Indentation standards are determined at the level of legislation and depend on the zoning of the land plot and its purpose.

    For houses and buildings on a residential development with an associated garden and kitchen garden, setbacks must be at least 3 meters from the borders of neighboring land plots and at least 5 meters from main roads and streets. For non-residential buildings, such as garages, these standards may be lowered.

    When choosing the optimal indents for the garage, it is necessary to take into account the rules and regulations of the construction, as well as to study the conditions of the individual housing construction on your site. The minimum setbacks that are acceptable for a garage on a land plot may vary depending on the terrain, the slope of the site and other factors.

    Advice from professionals to help you choose the best setbacks when building your garage. They recommend taking into account the size of the garage, the condition of the soil, environmental conditions and other factors. To avoid problems with neighbors and authorities, always follow building codes and regulations.

    • Before you start building your garage, get in touch with our experts to help you select the best garage size and location for your property, taking into account regulations.
    • Do not violate the building codes and regulations established by law to avoid problems with neighbors and government agencies.
    • Don’t forget to consider the terrain and ground conditions when choosing garage indents.

    Local Authority Setbacks for Garage Construction

    In addition to generally accepted state codes and regulations, local authorities also set their own garage clearance rules. On land plots of individual housing construction (IZHS), indents are the distances from the boundaries of the site to the walls or other structures of the garage.

    Minimum setbacks may be set by local regulations, which depend on the location of the site and neighboring buildings. The standards established by local authorities should be taken into account when designing and building a garage for individual housing construction.

    In case of violation of the established norms, the local authorities may issue an order to demolish the garage or replace it with a permanent one. Therefore, when building a garage, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the current rules and regulations in this place.

    • Important to remember:
    • Garage clearances are mandatory rules;
    • Indents may vary depending on the construction site;
    • Minimum clearances for garage construction must be respected;
    • When constructing a garage, please refer to current local clearance regulations.

    Control of setbacks when building a garage

    When building a garage, certain rules must be observed for setbacks from the boundaries of the site and neighboring buildings. These norms are established in the Land Code of the Russian Federation and the Construction Code of the Russian Federation.

    Control over compliance with the standards of indentation during the construction of the garage is carried out by the following state organizations:

    • Department of Architecture and Urban Planning at the level of the region or city;
    • Land Resources Committee;
    • Bodies of local self-government (level of rural, urban settlements).

    The minimum indents during the construction of a garage from the boundaries of the plots and neighboring buildings are established in accordance with the norms of SNiP 2020-2022. If the indents are less than the normative, state organizations have the right to hold the culprit liable for violating the construction rules on the land.

    Garage purpose Minimum setbacks from parcel boundaries Minimum setbacks from adjacent buildings
    Car garage 3 m 3 m
    Truck garage 5 m 5 m

    When building on a land plot designated for individual housing construction (IZHS), it is necessary to take into account the rules for setbacks from the boundaries of the site and neighboring buildings, as well as for the construction of a garage.

    Legal aspects when building a garage: how to avoid fines for breaking the rules

    When building a garage, it is important to take into account not only building codes and regulations, but also land regulations. In particular, it is necessary to observe the minimum indents from the boundaries of the site, established by law.

    Studying the legal requirements for building a garage on a plot of land is a mandatory procedure. It is important to consider that Izhs (individual housing construction) and the construction of a garage on Izhs have their own rules and requirements.

    Also be aware that violations of setbacks and building regulations may result in fines and possible prosecution. Therefore, the construction of the garage must be carried out in accordance with the rules and regulations in order to avoid negative consequences.

    • Clarify setbacks and building regulations for a particular area;
    • Respect the interests of neighbors and do not exceed the established boundaries of the site;
    • Before starting construction, it is mandatory to obtain a building permit and carry out geodetic and earthworks;
    • In case of disputes, it is better to seek the help of a lawyer in order to prevent legal violations.

    Garage setback litigation: what you need to know?

    According to the norms of SNiP 2020-2022, during the construction of a garage, it is necessary to observe certain indents from the boundaries of the Izhs plot and the land plot. However, it is not always possible to comply with the minimum construction indents for various reasons. In such cases, litigation may arise on this issue.

    The setback rules for building a garage are quite strict and breaking these rules can lead to legal problems. In various judicial instances, in such cases, the question of the need to demolish the garage and pay fines for violating the rules may be considered.

    To avoid such situations, you should first of all familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations for indents when building a garage and carefully study the possibilities on your site. If you are not sure about the correctness or possibility of building a garage on your site, it is better to turn to specialists who will help analyze the situation and suggest how to build a garage in accordance with the standards.

    Also, keep in mind that each region may have its own rules and requirements for indents when building a garage, which may differ from federal codes and standards.

    It’s important to remember that building a garage without respect for setbacks can lead to unpleasant consequences, including litigation, fines, and even demolition of the garage. Therefore, compliance with the norms and rules of indentation during the construction of a garage is an important task for every land owner.

    What to consider when building a garage :: Blog – IC “KapitalDom”
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