A garage conversion can add space and value to your Auckland property
If you’re looking for a way to increase the living area of your Auckland home, but don’t have the space or budget for an extension, then a garage renovation could be your ideal solution. Garage conversions are often cheaper than extending your home because the basic structure is already in place. However, you will need to modify the space, and your changes may require a building consent.
Garage conversion ideas
There are plenty of creative ways in which you can repurpose your garage space:
- A home office
- A home gym
- A hobby room
- A games room
- A second living room
- A home theatre
- A rumpus room for kids or teenagers
- An extra bedroom
- A granny flat
Do you need council approval to convert your garage to a bedroom?
For planning purposes, garages are Class 7.0 domestic outbuildings and are considered non-habitable structures. Converting a garage into a habitable room is a reclassification to Class 2.0, a.k.a a change of use. Therefore, if you are going to convert your garage to a bedroom, you will need to notify the council in writing to determine if you need a building consent.
Conversions such as home gyms and games rooms are not considered to be changes of use. However, they will still need to meet the building code standards required for a habitable room, and the compliance work to meet those standards may require consent.
How much does it cost to convert a garage to a bedroom?
The average cost for the building work alone is around $1,250 to $1,500 per square metre. Other costs include architect fees, building or resource consent fees, excavation costs and engineering fees. For a typical 30m2 room conversion, the cost will likely fall between $25,000 and $45,000.
How much does it cost to convert a garage to a self-contained unit?
The average cost for the building work alone is around $1,750 to $3,000 per square metre. For a typical 30m2 room conversion, the cost will likely fall between $60,000 and $100,000. You should also allow up to $20,000 for drawing up plans, obtaining consents, development contributions and installing connections before starting the building work.
Things to think about when planning a garage renovation
Before you decide to convert your garage into another room or self-contained unit, there are a few things you need to consider.
How will you replace the garage door?
Unless you replace the garage door, the room will always look like a garage. Not only that, but a large metal door will provide poor insulation, letting in both cold and excess heat. Think about replacing the garage door with a wall, windows or patio doors if the area isn’t overlooked. If you have a glass side door, you may want to replace it with a solid door.
Do you have enough light when you convert the garage to living space?
Garages often have small, high windows that let in very little natural light. Replacing the garage door with windows or french doors can help bring in more light, as can adding more standard windows or skylights. You may also need to change the internal lighting to something more suited to a living space.
What will you do with the garage floor?
Garages usually have cold concrete floors. If you only intend to use the garage as a hobby room or games room, some standard garage carpet may do the job. However, if you are converting it to a habitable room, you will probably need to raise the floor to install insulation and carpet.
How will you use the space?
If you plan to convert your garage to a self-contained granny flat or minor dwelling, then think about how you will lay out the kitchen, bathroom, living and sleeping areas. If you don’t fancy an open-plan studio-style space, consider putting up partitions between the different zones.
Where will you put your cars?
The downside of converting your garage is losing your existing parking space. Think about whether you can park the car elsewhere on your property, either in the open or in a new standalone garage or carport. Alternative parking arrangements may form part of your consent requirements.
Converting your garage to a self-contained flat
You also have the option of converting your garage into a minor dwelling or granny flat that can house teenagers or adult children or keep your elderly relatives nearby. Another option is to rent it out to generate a supplementary income.
Making the room self-contained by adding kitchens and laundries will require resource and building consent. It’s worth checking the building code to find out what elements you will need to bring up to compliance, such as safety glass in wet areas.
If you’re in Auckland, you’ll also need to check if such alterations are allowed under the Unitary Plan. To find out what’s permitted in your area, you can check the Auckland Council Unitary Plan Viewer to find out what zone you are in, then look up the zone rules at the Auckland Council website.
Legal Requirements and Council Consents
When converting a garage or undertaking any significant renovation in Auckland, understanding the legal requirements and obtaining the necessary consent is crucial. Failing to do so can result in costly fines, legal complications, and even the undoing of the work completed.
When is council consent required?
Council consent, commonly known as building consent, is generally required when the renovation involves structural changes or when converting a non-habitable space like a garage into a habitable one. This ensures that the renovation complies with the New Zealand Building Code, which sets the performance standards that all building work must meet. Even if you're planning a seemingly straightforward conversion, it's always best to consult with the Auckland Council or a qualified professional to determine if building consent is necessary for your project.
Building Code Compliance
Compliance with the Building Code is non-negotiable. The code covers various aspects, including but not limited to structural integrity, fire safety, access, moisture control, and durability. Your renovation plans must be reviewed and approved, and the completed work will likely be inspected to ensure it meets these standards. Non-compliance can result in the council issuing a 'Notice to Fix', requiring you to correct the work, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
Resource Consent for Self-Contained Dwellings
If you're considering converting your garage into a self-contained dwelling or 'granny flat,' you'll likely need resource and building consent. Resource consents are concerned with the environmental impacts of land use. For instance, creating a new dwelling may affect the housing density in your area, which could be subject to zoning restrictions. Obtaining resource consent involves a thorough review and often public consultation, making it more complex and time-consuming than obtaining building consent alone.
By understanding these legal requirements and obtaining the necessary consent, you're ensuring that your renovation is up to code and adding genuine, lawful value to your property.
Frequently asked questions about garage conversions
Build Right can ensure your garage renovation project is completed correctly.
While a garage conversion might seem simple, many elements can be complex, requiring an experienced builder. Our team can help you make the most of your space, complete everything to a high and safe standard, and ensure that the work meets consent requirements.
To discuss your options for garage renovations, give us a call today.
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