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Want more living space but don’t want to go to the expense of extending your home or moving?

More and more Kiwis are finding out there is a more cost-effective way – by converting their garages, and not just to spare bedrooms, but home gyms, man (or woman) caves, rumpus rooms, home theatres, creative spaces, home offices – the list goes on and on.

As nationwide renovation specialists, Pzazz Building are finding that these conversions aren’t just being contemplated by those on a tight budget. Owners of high-end homes are getting into the act and are finding that even considerable investments in garage conversions, provided they’re well-conceived and designed, can generate strong returns by adding value to their properties.

A common problem they’ve found however, is that many homeowners believe they don’t need building or resource consent because conversions involve existing structures. This can catch up with them when they want to sell their homes if the renovation requires work that needs a consent.

There are two main types of garage conversions. The simplest is where the conversion just adds space to an existing home without changing its use from a non-habitable to a habitable space – e.g. converting the garage to a games room. All other conversions, including transforming a garage into a bedroom, must comply with council requirements for habitable rooms – insulation, damp proofing and so on – and potentially alternative on-site parking for two cars. These require a building consent.

If you’re looking to add a kitchen or create a ‘minor dwelling’ to put granny or the teens in, or to rent out, you’ll also need resource consent.

A key part of garage conversions is design and space planning. This is where good spatial design is critical.

You simply shouldn’t recognise conversions as former garages. That’s because, in the case of attached garages, they should be designed to fit seamlessly in with your home’s flow and décor.

Even detached garages can be made to integrate beautifully with your home, either by using the same cladding, window styles and colours as your home or by creating a different but harmonious look.

The result? A fresh new living, working or creative space which maximises the value of your property.

Here are some other tips for converting your garage which Pzazz Building can help you with:


Replace your garage doors:

Tilt and roller doors instantly say ‘garage’ instead of ‘bedroom’, instead replace the garage door with full-length bifold glass-andaluminium doors. They instantly transform the outside appearance of the home and open up the new room to the light, air and view.


Cover the cold concrete floor:

Building regulations require the floor of your conversion to be 150mm higher than external paving. This gives you the opportunity to construct a raised floor with insulation or breathable panels underneath to warm up the room.


Bring in the light:

Garages normally don’t have many windows, but if you replace the door with glass bifolds, sliding doors or French doors as suggested above, you’ll normally find you have plenty of light.

However, if the door is facing the wrong way for the sun or view, you may want to replace it with a wall and add exterior doors or windows on the sunny side. If the new space is still a bit dark, consider skylights.


Use a professional:

When converting your garage, it’s simply not worth the risk of running afoul of building or council regulations, or undermining the value of your home with a poorly-considered job.

Article courtesy of No Ordinary Businesses and Franchises’ director Robin La Perre.


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