Converting your garage: Ventilation and heating

When you are converting your garage, you will need to address any ventilation and heating requirements. As standard, a number of ventilation aspects will be required in accordance with building regulations. Many heating components will fall under the electrical or plumbing bracket – always use a qualified electrician and/or plumber when installing radiators or heaters in your conversion. Please find below general advice on ventilation building regulations and a few tips on internal ventilation and heating requirements for your conversion.

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

Garage conversion building regulations for Ventilation and Heating

As standard, every room in a home or conversion will require adequate ventilation for health reasons. The type of room will largely determine the amount of ventilation that is required. The general rules for ventilating a room are:

  • A window that can be opened and is the equivalent of 1/20th of the entire floor area of the space is required in a garage conversion.
  • Trickle vents must also be used to provide background ventilation of 8000mm2 for any habitable room or 4000mm2 for any other room.
  • Kitchens, utility rooms, bathrooms or toilets may also require mechanical ventilation – especially if they do not have an openable window. An extract fan can be used to reduce condensation and remove smells. The required performance of extract fans is usually measured in litres per second (l/s) :
    • Kitchen - 30l/s if placed over a hob and 60lt/s if placed elsewhere.
    • Utility room - 30l/s
    • Bath/shower - 15l/s with a 15 minute overrun (after the light is switched off)
    • WC - 6l/s with overrun.

Note: alternative rates may apply if the ventilation is running continuously.

Ventilation and heating requirements

The ventilation and heating required will depend on the purpose of your garage conversion. For example; kitchens, utility rooms, bathrooms, shower rooms and toilets will require specific ventilation requirements (outlined above). Bedrooms, home offices and play areas will generally require some form of ventilation and heating (even where correct insulation is used, a heating source may be required – this is especially important during the colder months).

When you are considering heating options for your conversion, it's important to take into account the main purpose of the room and the size of the space. For example; a single stand alone heater may be sufficient to heat a small bedroom or home office. However, many people decide to install radiators in their garage conversion – especially if the garage is attached to their home.

It's important to seek advice from a qualified plumber if you are thinking of installing new radiators – as they will need to be connected correctly to your existing heating system. Incorrectly-installed radiators and plumbing can result in leaks and flooding, so don't attempt to do the job yourself unless you have some experience and know exactly what you are doing.

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