Converting your garage: Electrics

The majority of garage conversions will need an electricity supply - electrical wiring and a number of power sockets will be required. It is vital to ensure that any electrical components and wires are in good condition, that they are working optimally and that they adhere to electrical safety fitting standards. Please find below general advice on electrical building regulations and a few tips on internal electrical requirements for your conversion.

Please note: this guide is not exhaustive, if you have any questions about electrical requirements relating to your specific project you should seek professional advice before commencing with any work.

Building regulations for electrics when converting your garage

If you are undertaking any electrical work in your home or garden (including garden conversions) in England and Wales, you will have to follow a number of rules in accordance to building regulations. You should always use a qualified electrical installer, who is registered with a competent person scheme, in order to seek approval from a building control body. However, generally speaking, you won't have to obtain permission for any repairs, replacements, maintenance work, alterations to existing circuits or the fitting of extra power or lighting points – with the exception of kitchen or bathroom areas.

The building regulations set out full electrical criteria and requirements to ensure safety. Additionally, the Approved Document P can provide further practical guidance for undertaking electrical work on your conversion. All electrical work should follow the safety standards in BS 7671 (also known as the 'wiring regulations') as set by the British Standards Institute (BSI). If you are unsure as to whether or not you are required to comply with certain regulations, you should contact your local authorities building regulations department.

Electrical requirements for a garage conversion

The electrics required will depend on the purpose of your garage conversion. For example; home offices, kitchens, utility rooms or home cinema rooms will generally require a number of power points. Here are a few electrical requirements that you may need to consider;

  • Office equipment (computers/fax machines/phones)
  • Kitchen appliances (fridges/washers/dishwashers/cookers)
  • Heating and ventilation (fans/stand-alone heaters)
  • Lighting (fittings and lamps)
  • Electrical equipment (TV's/games systems etc.)

If you are not a qualified electrician, you should ideally enlist the help of an expert when you are dealing with any electrical work. This includes the installation of new electrical wiring, the fitting of power points and any ongoing maintenance required. This is especially important where electrics are situated in close proximity to water sources i.e. in kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms. Think of a garage conversion as you would any other room in a home – the same electrical safety procedures apply.

Faulty wiring can lead to fires and electric shocks, so don't underestimate the importance of getting it right. A qualified electrician will be able to provide you with advice about the best possible electrical solutions for your room. If you have any questions or concerns about your electrics, don't be afraid to ask them – if they are experienced, they will be happy to address your questions.

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