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Garages and how to build them

If you’re sick and tired of having your car vandalized or racing neighbours to the last remaining parking space on your road, then having a garage could be the answer. It’ll also add value to your house.Whilst modern properties tend to be built with a garage as standard, many older properties didn’t and the only way to get one is to buy a ready made garage or have one built.03-02-2012
Ready Made Garages
There are plenty of companies who supply ready made garages from approx £1500. They are typically made of timber or pre-cast concrete sheets which are erected on site, so it’s a quick solution. You will need to have a concrete base (at least 4” thick) that is flat, level and slightly bigger than the size of the garage. The supplier will usually assemble the garage and offer different styles and sizes. You can customize them with your choice of door and windows. Most ready made garages also come with 10 year guarantees.
Build it Yourself
The alternative is to build a garage yourself (or get a builder to do so). Depending on the materials you use, the garage could be more robust and have a longer life than a ready made one. Importantly, if you might convert your garage at a later date to serve another purpose, a garage built from scratch can meet your exact requirements. This option is likely to cost more than having a ready made garage but you can choose the materials to complement your house.
Planning Permission & Building Regulations
Ready made garages are considered temporary structures and so would not normally require planning permission. You may be able to build a garage, under ‘Permitted Development’ rules, provided that you already have vehicular access to your property and a drive or parking space.
However, there are always exceptions. If the garage:
-       is in the grounds of a listed building
-       will be at the side of a property in a Conservation Area, World Heritage Site, National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
-       will extend beyond the front elevation of your house
-       will cover more than half the area of your garden
-       will be more than single storey or more than 3m high (or 4m if an apex roof).
-       will have a veranda, balcony or raised platform or will be located within 1m of your existing house wall.
Then you may need permission. If you are in any doubt, contact your local planning office.
Planning permission aside, you may need building regulations approval if:
-       The floor area of the building exceeds 30m2, or the total cubic area of the building exceeds 70m2.
-       The garage adjoins the house.
-       It is less than 1m from a boundary
-       It is NOT constructed from a wholly non-combustible material such as concrete
-       It will contain sleeping accommodation
For more information go to www.planningportal.gov.uk
Garage Doors

Your personal requirements and tastes as well as the style of your property will determine which kind of garage door is best. The most common styles are referred to as Canopy, Retractable and Sectional doors. Your supplier will be able to advise you which is best for you.

Materials used for garage doors are:
GRP (Glass Reinforced Polyester) - is a light but exceptionally strong laminate which is moulded into shape. They are easy to maintain with no painting required.
Metal - Strong and durable and available in different styles, such as a cascading or folding doors.
Wood - Cheaper than metal and easy to maintain though not suitable for certain styles or door.
Car Ports
Car ports offer shelter and can be a useful addition to a full garage, but do not protect you from theft in the same way. Car ports are usually made from (GRP) with translucent roofs and can be freestanding or attached to the side of the house or garage. Modern cantilever canopy versions simply attach to the wall so they have no visible support.
Converting Your Garage
If you want to convert your existing garage into a study, playroom, workshop or extra bedroom you should be able to do so without the need for planning permission if it is attached or integral to your house. If your garage is detached, you may require permission.
However, you should contact your local planning authority before proceeding with a garage conversion, particularly if you live on a new housing development where it is stipulated that garages must remain for the use of parking your car. Where work is proposed to a listed building, listed building consent may be required.

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