Converting your garage: Doors and windows

Although many people consider the doors and windows in a garage conversion as being 'aesthetics' – they can actually be very important to the structure and safety of a building and may be applicable to restrictions under the building regulations. Please find below general advice on door and window building regulations and a few tips on door and window requirements for your conversion.

Please note: this guide is not exhaustive, if you have any questions about the doors or windows in relation to your specific project you should seek professional advice before commencing with any work.

Doors and Windows - Building regulations

Here are a few general building regulation guidelines in reference to the door(s) and window(s) in your garage conversion;

  • Windows: From 1 April 2002 building regulations have applied to all new or replacement glazed windows. The regulations are in place to determine aspects such as thermal performance, safety, air supply, means of escape in the event of a fire and ventilation. The general rule re: ventilation via a window in a room is as follows; A window (or windows) in a garage conversion must incorporate an openable area that is the equivalent of 1/20th of the entire space.

    As an external window or door is classed as a controlled fitting under the building regulations – certain standards have to be met when an external window or door is replaced. This generally involves the use of an installer who is registered with a competent person scheme (BSI, CERTASS or FENSA).
  • Doors: The kind of door that you use to access your garage conversion will differ, depending on the location of the building i.e. attached garages tend to have standard internal doors, detached garages have external doors. However, for safety purposes (i.e. in the event of a fire) - a clear opening of around 0.33m2 with an opening width and height of at least 450mm s must be provided in scenarios where a garage conversion can only be accessed via a second room.

Door and window requirements

Generally speaking, a window will be fitted to a garage conversion at the same time as the door infill (the process of removing the large garage door and replacing it with a wall). It is important to adhere to any building regulations when you are fitting your window, both for ventilation and safety reasons. You can fit your own window, but you will need to confirm its suitability with your local building authority, under the building regulations act.

You may decide to replace the existing door to your garage as part of the conversion project. Many garages have basic wooden doors for access; they are often not as secure as the 'main' doors to homes. Many people choose to fit a new door with a section of glass included – this can help to let more light into the room. However, as with any new window, you will need to check that your new door and surround are in adherence to building regulations.

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