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Ebro Constructions Group is a family-owned company leading the way in the design, construction and maintenance of the built environment.Today, our clients benefit from over 15 years of experience operating across London and the South East. We remain a privately owned company – one dedicated to delivering projects on time and to budget in a transparent, considerate and collaborative manner.

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Emma Hossack

17 July 2019

Great builders, honest and great value for the results they offer. We used them for a massive extension, ripping out most of the house and starting again. They came on time and on budget and other friends have used them and are happy . More...

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Ramani Gill

8 January 2019

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Q&A

Single garage - A single garage will add around 150 square feet of floor space to your home.

Double garage - You may either convert the whole area, or just the nearest side to your house. If you convert it all, you can expect to add around 300 square feet of floor space to your home.

Tandem garage - As before, converting only the back will leave you with the best of both worlds.

Standalone garage - Careful, as you may need to make an application for permission to change its use.

Before you go ahead with your garage conversion, you need to know all the legal issues involved. There are three main things that you need to check first - if you go ahead without permission you could be forced to return everything to its original condition, at your own cost.

Restrictive clauses in your lease - You need to check your property deeds for any restrictive covenants. Some developers place a restriction on any building work that will affect the external appearance of the house. If there is such a clause, contact them, as it can often be circumvented for a fee. Your other option is to convert the inside of the garage without changing its external appearance. This is often achieved by keeping a front portion of the garage for storage space and converting the rest. Of course, the suitability of this option depends on your intentions for the garage.

Planning permission - You usually only need to apply for planning permission to convert a garage when you intend to extend the actual size of the garage. However, check with your local authority as the precise rules do differ.

Building Regulations - If you plan to convert any part of your house into a room to be used as habitable space, you will need to comply with government building regulations. A building control officer will probably need to check your conversion a number of times during construction. Again, rules differ so you need to check with your local council. There are some instances where permission to convert your garage may be denied such as:

You live in a listed building or neighbourhood - It is very likely in this case that the external appearance of the house must be maintained as it is.
Your garage conversion would affect drainage - If you plan on concreting over your garden or anything similar, thus putting extra pressure on the existing drainage in place, you may need to invest in a solution to allay the potential for flooding or blocked drains.

Additional insulation is needed - Some councils will allow you to simply add the extra fill to the existing construction, others demand that you dig up the floor and insulate it as if building from scratch. This will affect your budget, so always check first.

Parking restrictions - In some cities where there is a particular shortage of parking spaces such as London, councils can refuse permission to convert your garage from a place where a car is kept.

Assessing your loft space’s suitability for conversion involves considering numerous factors, including:

available head height
roof pitch
roof structure
obstacles such as water tanks or chimney stacks

Do I Have Enough Head Height?

When you measure from the bottom of the ridge timber to the top of the ceiling joist, you need to have at least 2.2m of usable space for a conversion to be suitable.

While the Building Regs impose no minimum ceiling height for habitable rooms, you will need to factor in the 2m headroom required for stairs (although you could relax this to 1.8m on the edge of the stair if needs be).

Top Tip

Ask your designer to clearly illustrate how much headroom there will be across the floor in the finished space.

Some people are disappointed by how much standing space they actually have, and this isn’t always easily conveyed on plans.

If the initial roof space inspection reveals a head height of less than 2.2m, there are two available – but costly – solutions that will require professional input.

Solution 1: Raise the Roof

This is structurally feasible, but the major problems are the high cost and getting planning permission approval. If the whole roof area needs removing, a covered scaffold structure, to protect the house from the weather during the works, would also be required.

Solution 2: Lower the Ceiling in the Room Below

This will require all the existing ceilings in question to be removed, causing much mess. With this method a plate will need to be bolted to the wall using shield anchors or rawlbolts, for the new floor joists to hang from. There is also a need for a suitable tie between the roof structure and the dwarf wall formed, to prevent the roof spreading.

(MORE: How to convert your loft if you have a difficult roof construction)

Does My Roof Have the Right Pitch?

The higher the angle of the roof pitch, the higher the central head height is likely to be, and if dormers are used or the roof is redesigned, the floor area, and potential for comfortable headroom, can be increased.

Does my Roof Structure Allow for Conversion?

Traditional frame type roof structures are often the most suitable type for loft conversions, allowing the space to be opened up relatively easily and inexpensively. The rafters may need to be strengthened or additional supports added (your structural engineer will advise on what is required).

Trussed roofs require greater structural input, normally involving the insertion of steel beams between loadbearing walls for the new floor joists to hang on and the rafter section to be supported on — together with a steel beam at the ridge.

Do I Need to Move the Water Tank?

Without the roof space for water tanks and plumbing, the heating and hot water system may have to be replaced with a sealed system.

Unvented hot water cylinders make a better choice than replacing the boiler with a combi boiler, but they do take up a cupboard-sized room, which you will have to find space and budget for.

Do an initial assessment of your existing loft space

Think about how you want to use the space

Consider who you would like to do the work and get at least three quotes based on measurements

Consider the planning, party wall and building regulation requirements of your conversion

Pre-empt the pitfalls with your chosen contractor

Get a contract in place for the works with your contractor/builder/loft conversion company and architect so you know who is responsible for what

Once you are ready to commence works, be sure to inform your insurer that you are undertaking building works to ensure your cover is not affected

I love my job because it allows me to make changes to the lives of my clients. I have been involved in projects which allowed my clients to have a life changing experience by having better quality of life due to for example having access to extended living spaces and more comfortable and improved home environment. Being part of the team to make such changes is very rewarding.

I build relationships on a foundation of integrity and respect. I always maintained positive attitude and drive to deliver the best in custom building. I was raised on hard work and the mantra: “when you’re through improving yourself, you’re through.” Sports were also a driving force in my life, honing my focus, discipline, and a willingness to go the extra mile in pursuit of a goal.

With characteristic determination, I built my career in construction from the ground up. I carefully assembled a team of craftsmen who share my passion for creating the finest quality homes while delivering exceptional client experiences. More than fifteen years later, Ebro Construction has become one of Hertfordshire's most sought-after builders.. I remain directly involved in each project, and remain focused on continually broadening and deepening my expertise, attracting the best in the business, and expanding firm capabilities.

Ebro Constructions Group is a family-owned company leading the way in the design, construction and maintenance of the built environment.Today, our clients benefit from over 15 years of experience operating across London and the South East. We remain a privately owned company – one dedicated to delivering projects on time and to budget in a transparent, considerate and collaborative manner. It’s what makes us stand out from our competitors. It also enables us to expand and prosper through bringing lasting benefits to our clients and the communities in which we work. We get over 90% of our work from recommendations of our existing clients which shows that we provide quality and standards which our clients are happy and satisfied with. We are waiting to assist you in any part of the project from design to build.

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