FIELD LANE, SHIFNAL
Householder Planning Application for new garage conversion and porch in Shifnal approved by Shropshire County Council.
Following an initial consultation with the client En-Plan: Planing & Architecture formulated and submitted a Householder Planning Application for the conversion of the existing garage and the creation of a new enclosed porch area underneath the existing roof overhang. The application has been approved and as of Novmeber 2020 we are awaiting Building Regulations Approval for the technical detail for the project.
As the property is located within Kemberton the proposal must accord with ghe provisions of the Kemberrton Parish Plan. This plan expresses the views of the people who live and work in Kemberton. It sets out how the residents want the community to develop over the coming years and what they want to conserve and protect. This plan sets out a framework for the future and the ways in which The Parish can try to shape and influence that future.
Kemberton is first mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086) under the name of CHENBRITONE. At this time there was no mention of the church. The first record of a Church at Kemberton was in 1230 when Gilbert was named as Chaplain here. The present Church built in 1882 is the sixth, or could be the seventh, on the same site. Finally the new Tower was completed in 1909. The Church is dedicated to St John the Baptist and the Nave to St Andrew. This is unusual having dual dedication.
The plan has identified the need to preserve the chafrcter of the Parish especially when one considers a lot of the properties within the Parish are located in the Kemberton Conservation Area. The Parish have identified that there is a limited need for additional housing in Kemberton. The overall overwhelming consensus was that the village character needs to be preserved. Additional housing was not sustainable as the village had very limited amenities and infrastructure. Any form of development should be limited to an individual residential house (either starter or family homes), or a conversion of an existing building. These properties should also be private built homes and fall within the village existing curtilage. There is a lack of employment, very limited public transport, no public open space and no medical or educational facilities. The surrounding areas such as Shifnal Town and Telford and Wrekin have already been identified as areas of increased housing development and the associated improvement in the infrastructure and amenities such as school expansion. Social housing needs that can rely on support services such as local employment and transport links has already been identified and provision made in the Shifnal Town plan and the wider area of Telford and Wrekin.
With the above in mind no objections were received from the Parish Council as the proposal fully complies with the aims and objectives of the Kemberton Parish Plan.
Issues to Consider with a Garage Coversion
Suitability: if you have a brick or block garage attached to your house it is probably suitable for converting. When you are thinking about whether your garage is suitable for conversion you might like to
• Whether there are any known problems with your garage, are there any cracks in it? Is it damp? Does the roof leak? Has the floor been contaminated with fuel or oil?
• How will you get into the new room? Have you got or can you put a doorway through to the garage from the house?
• Will you have enough parking and storage area if you convert your garage?
• Is there enough room in your garage to provide the accommodation that you require or would you be better
extending the property?
• Is your existing garage built from an unusual construction? For example, prefabricated panels, concrete frame etc.
If you can resolve all of these issues then your garage may well be suitable for conversion and garage conversions can be complex projects and unless you are experienced in construction you will need to get some professional advice. The introduction contained advice about obtaining this and with this in place we can now consider some of the technical issues that affect garage conversions.
Infilling the Garage Door Opening: this tends to be the most visible part of your conversion from the outside and whatever you choose to infill the opening it will need some support. Some garages have a foundation that runs across the garage opening which you can use to support your infill. Unfortunately the only real way to tell
if the front of your garage has an existing foundation is to dig a hole and find out. If there is no foundation under your garage door opening there are two main options.
You can either:
1. Dig a foundation 1m deep or to the same depth as the foundations of the existing house, call us to inspect the foundation and then fill it with concrete.
2. If the opening is only the width of a single garage door install two 150mm deep concrete lintels across the opening supported by the existing foundations. En-Plan will be happy to provide you with more advice about which is the best option for you when we get to site. With the foundations in place the garage door opening can now be filled in. There are several options for how this can be done. The opening can
be filled in with brickwork to match the house and a window. People generally narrow the garage door opening slightly as a full width window can appear out of proportion. To keep the damp out and to provide insulation it is best to use a cavity wall and your new window should meet current energy efficiency requirements. Other options include installing a lightweight timber framed panel with a weatherproof external surface and insulation, this can be quicker and cheaper and has the advantage that it is easier to remove if you, or any future owners of the house, ever wanted to reinstate your garage. Whichever option you choose it is important that the infill panel provides adequate weather resistance and insulation and that all of the new work is tied into the existing construction. En-Plan will be happy to provide you with advice about this.
Raising the Floor Level: garage floors are generally lower than the floor in the main house and they often slope towards the garage door. For these reasons garage floors are generally raised as part of a conversion. There are two main ways of raising a garage floor. Whichever way you choose it is important to consider insulation
and damp proofing. It is critical to ensure that any damp proof membranes provided to the floor are continuous with those in the walls, which are often at a higher level.
Option 1 – Concrete: using this method a polythene membrane is placed over the garage floor, floor insulation is laid down, a second polythene membrane is installed and the floor level is brought up to the same level as the house using concrete or sand and cement screed.
Option 2 – Timber: this method involves placing treated timber floor joists onto a damp proof membrane placed over the existing concrete floor, placing floor insulation between the joists and covering the floor joists with floor boards or tongued and grooved chipboard. This type of floor will have to be ventilated though to prevent the build up of damp. The floor can then be finished with carpet, laminate or any other decorative surface.
Lining the External Walls: the walls used to construct garages are not normally up to habitable standards and will usually require additional work for damp protection and thermal efficiency. They are sometimes formed from a single thickness of brickwork and even when built from cavity masonry they are often uninsulated.
The three main areas of concern when upgrading walls in a garage conversion are: weather and damp resistance, insulation and sound resistance. The upgrading scheme that you choose will be influenced
by the original construction of your garage walls, these can be broadly divided into two categories.
Cavity Walls: if your garage is built from cavity walling, weather resistance and damp proofing are unlikely to be a problem. These walls generally have damp proof courses and providing that your wall is in good condition and is not showing signs of water ingress or rising damp the wall will simply require insulating and a plaster finish ready for your decoration. There are two options for insulating the wall: either the cavity can be injected with cavity wall insulation or an insulated lining board can be fixed to the inner face of the wall prior to plaster boarding or plastering. Various boards are available and your En-Plan will be happy to provide advice as to which boards are suitable for your project.
Solid Brick Walls: in garages these are generally only a single brick approximately 100mm thick and they often have intermediate piers that buttress the walls and give them additional strength. A single brick wall will not provide adequate weather resistance to a habitable room and a supplementary wall will need to be provided behind the original wall. This can be done either by building an additional skin of masonry to form a cavity wall, the cavity can be insulated as the wall is built, and the wall can then be dry lined or plastered. Alternatively an independent timber framed wall can be constructed with a cavity between the new framing and the existing wall. The frame should be constructed from treated timber and insulation should be provided between the timber studs. Once the frame is in place an insulated plasterboard finish can be applied ready for decoration.
Occasionally garages are built with 225mm thick solid brick walls. If they are in good condition and have a damp proof course they will normally provide adequate weather resistance but they will need to be lined with an insulating board to improve their insulation.
Party Walls: if any of the walls of your garage are shared with a neighbour it is considered to be a Party Wall. These walls will need to be upgraded to reduce sound transfer between your new room and your neighbour’s property. En-Plan will be happy to provide you with advice as to how you can upgrade any Party Walls.
The Ceiling: unless your existing garage has an adequate ceiling you will need to provide one as part of your conversion. Plasterboard is the most common material used for ceilings as it offers good fire resistance and flame spread properties. Other materials can be used but they will generally need to be treated to improve
their fire performance. If the garage is open to a roof you will need to provide insulation above the ceiling and the roof void will generally need to be ventilated above the insulation to reduce the risk of problems with condensation. In a pitched roof fibreglass insulation will normally suffice but with flat roofs, where space is confined, high performance insulation boards are often required. En-Plan will be happy to discuss this with you.
Heating: to maximise the usability of the room you will probably want to install heating; in many instances the most effective way of doing this is to extend the existing central heating system. You will need to check with your plumber or heating engineer to ensure that your existing boiler has sufficient capacity to serve any
additional radiators and any new radiators should be fitted with thermostatic valves to control the room temperature. If it is not possible to extend the existing system, or, if you prefer an alternative method of heating, e.g. electric panel heaters, careful consideration should be given as to how these can be switched and controlled to ensure that they function efficiently.
Drainage: if you are looking to include a sink, bathroom, shower room or cloakroom in your conversion it is important that you consider drainage at an early stage. Any new appliances will need to connect to your
existing foul drainage system as they are not allowed to be connected into rainwater drains. When planning your layouts make sure that there are suitable routes for pipes to run to a point where they can connect to
Windows and Ventilation: any new habitable rooms will need to be ventilated. Generally this is achieved by providing an opening window equivalent to 1/20th of the floor area of the room with a trickle vent at high level. All new windows must be fitted with highly efficient double glazed units and it is wise to make sure that they contain an opener with a clear area of at least 0.33m2 and 450mm wide and 450mm high. This should be large enough for you to escape through in the case of fire. This is essential if the door out of your garage opens into a room other than your entrance hall. Special fire escape hinges should be# fitted to this window to ensure that it can be fully opened if you ever need it. In bath or shower rooms an extract fan should be fitted and in rooms without opening windows extract fans should be fitted that are triggered by the light switch with
overrun timers that allow the fan to remain on after the light is turned out.
Fire Precautions: when you are investing money in your home it is a good opportunity to review the fire precautions that are available in the existing house. Mains operated smoke detection significantly improves fire safety in the home and the Building Regulations require that it should be installed where garages are converted to habitable rooms. Electrics: you are likely to require some electrical alterations as part of your
conversion. Depending on the age and condition of your existing electrical system it is sometimes possible to extend existing circuits but sometimes new circuits and even a new distribution board will be required. It is a good idea to get advice from a competent electrician at an early stage. When appointing an electrician please ensure that they are able to issue you with BS7671 test certificates when they have completed their installation as these will be required before your Building Regulations Completion Certificate can be issued and you will incur additional costs if the test certificates have not been provided.
To conclude a well designed and constructed garage conversion can be a definite asset to your home that can provide useful extra space and add value to your property. A poorly thought-out conversion can reduce your property’s value and in some cases compromise your safety and the structural integrity of your home. It is
important to ensure that you plan your conversion carefully and get the work carried out by an experienced contractor.
If you would like to find out more about how our Planning Consultancy and Architectural Design Services can work in perfect sync to achieve a successful outcome in the planning system please CONTACT US and we will be only too happy to talk through any questions or development proposals you may have.
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