Converting a brick garage into a habitable room

Spinryde quite often has requests for converting a Garage into an office, a rumpus room or bedroom with ensuite.

Apart from the council requirements relating to the off-sets from boundaries etc, there are other important items to consider to enable the build to comply with the Building Code of Australia.

They are:

  • CEILING HEIGHT: Ensure you have a minimum of 2.4m from the floor to ceiling height to ensure compliance with the BCA.
  • WET AREA: If an ensuite is to be added all the plumbing and drainage work needs to be completed prior to any walling or work on the floor. Ensure only licensed plumbers/drainers are used as they will need to certify the installation.
  • FLOORING: You must ensure that the floor has adequate membrane under it to stop any rising damp coming through. Most garage floors were not built with a plastic membrane under them and consequently they may allow dampness to come up through the concrete floor. To check if there is a membrane a core drill sample needs to be taken of the floor or inspection of the floor when installing any drainage if installing an ensuite. If a membrane is required, then a hydrostatic liquid membrane should be used and installed by a licensed applicator.
  • WALLING: The external perimeter walls need to be converted from a single skin to a cavity wall to ensure that no wind driven rain can enter through to the internal wall. This is achieved by installation of a cavity flashing at the base of the inner skin of the outer brick wall, along with forming weep holes to allow any water to flow to the outside of the building. Then the perimeter internal timber framed wall can be constructed along with the required insulation installed in between the studs.
  • WINDOWS: Any habitable room must have an operable window/door to comply with the BCA. The existing garage door opening is usually sufficient; however, the window can be at either the side or rear of the build.
  • ELECTRICAL: Ensure all electrical cabling is installed or modified by a licensed electrician who will more than likely need to also install a wired smoke alarm.