Building a garage can be a great way to give your home extra space and increase the price of your home, sometimes to the tune of 5-10% its original value. Garages aren’t just for housing cars – in fact, more UK residents than ever are converting their existing garages into spare bedrooms, additional living spaces, or workrooms.
Whatever reason you want to build a garage, ensuring you find the right contractor for the job is essential for making sure you get exactly the result you want.
Sometimes, people underestimate the cost of building a garage.
Think of it this way – a garage isn’t a shed or a temporary structure. It’s similar in size, material, and function to a single-storey extension and those can cost upwards of £30,000 to fully construct.
When working out the cost of your garage build, there are several factors to consider, all priced differently. For the most basic type of garage, you should expect to pay a minimum of £18,000. A budget of this scale will allow for a brick-built garage that compliments the visual appearance of your home, is 36m². Its dimensions will be six metres in width, six metres in depth, and two-and-a-half metres in height.
The figure breakdown should be as follows:
- Foundations – trench digging, filling – £2,520
- Ground floor slab – reinforced and backfilled – £2,700
- External walls – these comprise of steelwork, lintel, and piers, or timber – £3,900
- Roof structure – £1,190
- Roofing – felt, battens, tiles – £1,260
- Facias, gable claddings, soffits, and bargeboard – £1,350
- Sufficient guttering and drainage – £1,200
- Electrical provision – this includes wiring, an outlet, and the labour – £1,000
- 2 garage doors, window, and an access door – £3,000
- Additional areas – this could include paintwork, security, and shelving – £500
As you can see, the total comes to £18,620. And that’s for a basic garage, without cavity walls or insulation, and with the roof at a 25° angle.
If you wanted to add plumbing for taps, better roof covering, and sealing for the concrete slab, your total could rise to at least £25,000.
In the UK, the most common type of garage is the ‘large single’, which usually measures 10ft by 20ft (3m x 6.1m), thanks to the increasing popularity of people carriers.
However, if you own a particularly large family car, such as a Ford Mondeo (measured at around 15ft by 6ft or 4.6m x 1.8m), it’s wise to consider building your garage wider. If you build it too small, you’ll find yourself having to let all your passengers out before you drive into the garage and then parking in such a way that you can squeeze out of a barely open driver side door.
The cost which will vary the most is likely to be that of the garage doors. They come in many different styles and types and can be adjusted to suit your needs.
Depending on your personal preferences, you can choose from the following types of garage door:
- Canopy Up and Over – most traditional style of door. Usually manual. Opens upwards and outwards, pushed up into a ‘canopy’.
- Retractable Up and Over – Similar to the up and over style, but remotely controlled. The door slides up into the garage on horizontal runners. Springs cope with the heavy weight.
- Sectional Doors – the door is split into horizontal panels which run on curved tracks. They can be manoeuvred into the garage roof using a remote control. They don’t swing out and can go much higher than other garage door options.
- Around the Corner – Similar to sectional doors, except they roll into the side of the garage. Useful for larger garages as they can part in the middle.
- Side Hinged – simple doors which open in the middle, never going into the garage. Can open one leaf of the pair, so great for garages used primarily for storage or pedestrian access.
Your garage door can be chosen to suit your individual needs and budget. A simple canopy up and over is going to cost the least and be the easiest to install, whereas an electronic sectional door will cost you that little bit more and require more labour. It’s all down to what you need and what you’re willing to spend.
Why would someone want a garage?
Garages are ideal for freeing up space on the front of your property by providing you with a designated area to park your car. A garage and drive combination make a house look neat as well as allowing parking space for visitors.
Additionally, garages can act as storage or work space, and even an additional living or sleeping area. Many houses in the UK have an external ‘garage fridge’ where they store food that won’t fit in the (traditionally smaller) kitchen fridge-freezer.
They’re also handy places for storing tools, bikes, or garden equipment. If you don’t have a shed, garages tend to be able to fit both cars and equipment in one place, so it’s a double investment.
What are the disadvantages of a garage?
Although garages are great additions to most homes, they aren’t without their disadvantages.
If your property is particularly small, the ‘permitted building’ regulations may mean your garage doesn’t give you much extra space.
As any single-storey extension must not take up more than 50% of the space surrounding your property, if you don’t have a large garden and only have a small space in which to build your garage, you may find that your garage takes up valuable drive or leisure space.
Additionally, should you wish to convert your garage into a liveable space in the future, you’ll need to consider wiring and insulation costs, either in the original build or later down the line. Building a garage requires a degree of planning.
Are there alternatives to a garage?
If you don’t already have a drive, and all you’re looking for is somewhere to park your car off the street, consider having your front garden covered over. You’ll need to budget around £45 to £60 for every square metre laid of a tarmac driveway – this may be a more cost-effective solution if you’re struggling to budget for the cost of building a garage.
If what you’re looking for is simply additional storage space, consider buying a shed or storage unit. Both are readily available pre-fabricated from most garden centres or commercial timber merchants. Alternatively, you could look into converting your loft, or a part of it.
Will I need planning permission for a garage?
Government rules governing outbuildings apply to garages, too. If you want to build a garage, it falls under the ‘permitted building’ category, meaning you won’t need planning permission. More information on ‘permitted builds’ can be found here.
In the case of a detached garage, the building:
- must comply with electrical safety requirements of the Building Regs (Part P)
- must be under 30m² in floorspace
- must be single storey and not contain sleeping accommodation
- must be built from non-combustible material and be no less than 1m from the boundary of your property
However, when you draft your plan, make sure to check with a local building control officer, to avoid any complications.
Who can I buy a garage from?
There are thousands of contractors and supply companies over the UK who will be able to complete your garage build to a high standard, leaving you very happy and satisfied with the work. However, larger companies with multiple branches nationwide will often have to charge more, as they’re subject to higher running costs and larger overheads.
If you’re looking for a reliable local company to complete your garage build, you can use the Tradesmen Prices form at the top of this page to receive 3-4 quotes from experienced garage companies in your area.
Should my garage builder be a member of anything (trade body, government registration scheme, etc?)
As building a garage will require several specialist skillsets, it’s unlikely your build will be completed by a single labourer. Here are the likely types of contractor you’ll encounter, and the certifications you may want to check for:
- General contractor (bricklaying, foundations, etc.) – CHAS accredited, City and Guilds Apprenticeship Qualification
- Electrician – NICEIC Approved
- Plumber – CIPHE
- Gas Engineer (if relevant) – Gas Safe Registered
How long does it take to build a garage?
Depending on the size of your garage, and the company doing the work, it could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to complete the job.
If you’re doing the work yourself, one benefit is that you can leave it until you want it done. However, if you’re looking at having a medium-sized garage constructed by professionals, you may want to ask the contractors themselves.
For a single bricklayer and a labourer to dig the footings, you can estimate around 2 days of work, depending on weather conditions and speed. A day should be sufficient to get the bricks to damp course, and another two would be advisable to fill the base and let it settle. Then, the brickwork should go up in around two days (assuming the build is standard brick-built) and after that, leave three or four days for the roof.
Two weeks is a good estimate of the length of time taken to build a garage, if no complications occur, the work is completed quickly, and the weather is favourable.
However, all builds vary, so ask your contractors for more information.
Before I get a garage, what should I ask a potential builder?
You should consider asking the following questions to whoever will be building your garage:
- How much will each step cost?
- Will you need to flatten the ground beforehand? Will that need time to settle?
- How long will the construction work take?
- How much should I be paying for my material supply?
Your contractors should be able to smooth over any concerns you may have and explain to you how long the build will take. If they’re working from your plan, perhaps consider asking for their professional opinion – could they make any changes to benefit the build in the long run?
It can be difficult finding quotes from genuine tradesmen for your garage build. The cost of a brick-built garage will differ compared to the cost of a timber-built garage, for example, and you may need to employ different people to do these jobs for you.
It’s important to know that the cost of building a garage in the UK will change depending on who does your work. Comparing quotes is the best way to find a price that sits comfortably within your budget without compromising on high quality work and finishing.
Using the Tradesmen Prices form above, you’ll have access to 3-4 quotes from genuine, local, and experienced tradespeople for the cost of building a garage. We’ve checked their credentials and history, so you can rest assured you’ll be put in touch with professional contractors who care about their customers.