Alpha Business Contractors Ltd
Company number:SC549344
UTR:8534713634
 
How can someone tell if their Garage is suitable for conversion?

Design and Space Planning 
At five meters long by two and a half meters wide, the internal space of most garages is longer and thinner than most rooms in a house. To achieve a more natural shape, consider using a stud or block walling to convert the garage into two rooms, typically a toilet, shower or storeroom. 
Consider also how you plan to use the rooms, and either make some drawings yourself or get some made. 
Planning Permission 
Planning permission is unnecessary if you don’t plan to alter the structure of the building, so a garage conversion is permitted in most circumstances. However: 
If you live in a Listed building or a Conservation Area, planning permission may be required for even minor modifications. 
Some new build homes were built with a condition requiring the garage to remain as parking, so an application to remove it becomes necessary. 
Standalone garages are more likely to require ‘change of use’ planning permission when converted to habitable rooms. 
Building Regulations 
The change of use from a garage to a habitable room will mean compliance with Building Regulations, including delivery of a building notice to your council. Building Regulations apply to: 
moisture proofing 
ventilation 
insulation 
fireproofing 
escape routes 
structural soundness. 
As a result, almost any design decision must take them into account. For example: 
When you divide up the garage, a new room is created. This room is subject to a set of Building Regulations that require an escape route and ventilation separate from the main room. 
Alterations such as an infill wall replacing the original garage door will also be subject to Building Regulations concerning the foundations. 
The building inspector will want to visually inspect windows, doors, fireproofing and foundations before he or she gives a certificate of completion. 
Once the building inspector is satisfied, the completion certificate should follow within 28 days. It is often much sooner.

Run us through the different stages of the Garage conversion process - what's involved?

Insulation and Damp-Proofing 
Insulation: 
In pitched roofs, go for two layers of 150mm glass fiber quilt, one between the joists, another over as usual. 
Flat roofs tend to need one layer between of rigid PUR insulation board and another below — the space in between flat roof joists, however, can’t be entirely filled. A 50mm air gap must be left above for ventilation. The second layer underneath will drop the ceiling height a bit. Typically 150mm deep flat roof joists will receive 100mm of PUR insulation between the joists and 50mm beneath them. 
As with floors, if the ceiling height is an issue (due to smaller than 150mm deep joists allowing less insulation between) multi-foil laminate insulants can help reduce the thickness of the underlayer. 
Damp-proofing: The concrete floor may or may not have been cast over a damp-proof membrane (DPM). In recent decades, integral garages would normally have included a DPM and certainly, the walls would have a damp-proof course (DPC). But without plaster and screed finishings to conceal them, the two elements would not meet as they would in the house. Protecting the concrete floor with a polythene or paint-on DPM and dressing it up under your new finishings to the DPC layer will ensure that damp is not a problem. 
Plumbing and Wiring 
Make a thorough survey of the plumbing and wiring in the house and garage. Any wall you plan to pierce for doorways or windows needs special attention. Locate the main outflows for water, and, if you plan to install a toilet, the soil outflow. 
Check the garage for wiring in the walls and ceiling. Rewiring the garage for lights and electric radiators will place additional strain on the household mains, which is fused at 100 amps. An additional mains supply can be installed, with the cost varying from £500 to £20,000. This will also require the installation of a separate consumer unit. 
Otherwise, locate the garage in the current consumer unit. If it doesn’t have its own miniature circuit breaker (MCB), consider replacing the consumer unit or upgrading it. If the garage is to be another habitable room in your house, its own MCB is probably enough. Consider adding at least one new 20-amp circuit. 
Wiring to a detached garage can be run through an underground conduit. If it is to be a separate dwelling, a new connection may be required, depending on likely power usage; consult an electrician. 
Flooring 
Floor insulation is always absent in a garage and including some in the conversion should be part of the project, whenever it’s possible. That said, breaking up the concrete floor simply to re-cast it over is usually uneconomic and unnecessary. 
Garage floors are often lower than the house floor and a layer of insulation beneath a floating chipboard deck floor can be selected to bring the two levels together, particularly when the difference is up to 120mm or so. Chipboard sheets are at least a third of the depth of a floor screed, giving you depth for more insulation. Rolled out multi-foil laminate insulation is thin and good for draping over fixed-down battens when the difference in levels is not so great. 
Walls 
External walls are covered by Building Regulations and must meet requirements in terms of moisture-proofing and insulation. If the garage is integral to the house the exterior walls will usually meet building regulations. Otherwise consider a second block wall, or a stud wall, inside the existing exterior wall. Insulation and power and water lines can be put behind this wall. Note that this will decrease the interior dimensions of the space. 
Interior walls between rooms in the conversion must meet Building Regulations’ requirements for fireproofing. This can mean one or two layers of fireproof plasterboard on stud walls. For block walls this is unnecessary. Doors through interior walls need to be fireproof, with a 30-minute rating. Additionally, Building Regulations may require a step in the floor at the doorway to prevent the fire spreading along the floorboards. 
If the garage will see a lot of use, especially if it is external to the house, consider additional insulation. This will decrease costs long term. Additionally, the insulation requirements for buildings have been rising and will continue to rise. Over-insulating now will make your property more saleable later when Building Regulations may require it, and it’s cheaper to add while the walls are under construction. 
Replacing the garage door with an infill wall will require investigating the foundations to confirm their depth. Shallow fill foundations may require improvement to support the additional weight. 
Consider replacing the door with a large window and paneling. The adjoining room to the door can be a storeroom, or the window can be the ‘front’ of the conversion. By saving the expense of reworking the foundations these options can be much cheaper. Some owners have built an interior-style block wall behind the existing garage door and insulated this, leaving the exterior appearance of the garage unaltered. 
Windows and Doors 
A second room will require ventilation to meet Building Regulations and an escape route to meet fire regulations. Building Regulations require a window 1/20 the floor area of the room, while fire regulations require a window with a 600mm base opening and a total area of not less than 0.45m². The window must also have trickle vents. 
Windows that meet these requirements are available in metal frame or uPVC, though metal frame windows must have a ‘thermal break’ (because of metal’s conductivity) to meet insulation requirements. Wood frame windows can meet requirements too, but they have to be of sufficient depth to accommodate a 24mm double-glazed unit. Frequently a wood effect uPVC is used, or metal frame with block and wood cladding. 
When installing windows, get a contractor accredited by BSI, CERTASS or FENSA (Fenestration Self Assessment). Make sure the contractor shows you the certification. 
Doors must meet the same requirements as windows in terms of their U value. In addition to uPVC doors with double glazed windows, wooden doors are also a good choice. 
When putting indoors or windows in the walls of the garage, reinforcement may be necessary to the original garage wall. This will be in the form of a concrete lintel or a rolled steel joist (RSJ), depending on the size of the new opening. A lintel will need to overhang the edges of the window gap by 100–150mm. 
In standalone garages particularly, footings are often absent or inadequate and this makes adding a window and some panelling a more attractive idea than digging new footings and building an infill wall. However, the front opening of most garages is not a standard size for windows so additional building work may be necessary. 
A block or brick wall filling some of the gaps can bring the opening to a standard size without requiring additional footings, due to the decreased weight when compared to a full infill wall. Consult the building inspector at the planning stage. 
Garage Conversion Pros 
Design Control: Converting a garage means every step of the design process is under your control, subject to technical and legal restrictions. 
Added Value: Moving house costs money that can’t be recouped. But converting a garage into a habitable room adds more value to your home than it costs in most cases. 
Cost Effective Way to Add Space: Conversion costs for the average garage are between £5,000 and £8,000. 
Local Amenities: Moving children from school and families from local facilities and communities is difficult and sometimes expensive. Remaining at your current address but with additional living space is a better solution for many. 
Contract Control: One in 10 house sales falls through because one party changes their mind. If you choose conversion you’re the sole decision maker. 
Council Tax: Moving from a three to a four bedroom house could put you up a council tax band. A garage conversion leaves council tax bands unaffected.

How can someone tell if their loft is suitable for conversion?

Before you do anything else, you need to work out whether your loft space is actually suitable for a conversion. Most houses will come with an allowance for permitted development, which means that you can go ahead with your conversion without planning permission. However, if you live in a conservation area, or if, for example, your roof space isn't tall enough, it may be more complicated. You can ask a builder, architect or surveyor to visit your home and check this out for you, but there are also a couple of checks that you can carry out yourself prior to this. 
Look for other conversions on your street An easy way to get an idea of whether your loft can be converted is to see whether any similar houses on your street have had loft conversions. If you do spot examples, it's more likely to be a possibility. If you can, it's also worth going one step further and asking to take a look at the loft of anyone in your street that has had it done. Measure the head height The minimum height you need for a loft conversion is 2.2m, and you can easily measure this yourself. Take a tape measure and run it from the floor to the ceiling at the tallest part of the room. If it's 2.2m or more, your loft should be tall enough to convert. Victorian houses tend to be lower than those built from 1930 onwards, so may not have sufficient head height. Head height in your loft conversion needs to be 2.2m or more Check what type of roof you have Depending on when it was built, your house will either have roof trusses or rafters. By looking through your loft hatch, you should be able to tell straight away what type of roof you have. Rafters run along the edge of the roof and will leave most of the triangular space below hollow. Trusses are supports that run through the cross-section of the loft. Converting a loft with trusses is possible, but extra structural support is needed to replace the trusses, and it's likely to be more costly. You can see examples of these in the gallery below by scrolling to the final two images. Consider the floor below Many people neglect to factor in changes to the floor below the loft when planning a conversion. It's worth having a think about where the staircase is likely to go and how much room it might take up. Even a well-designed space-saving staircase could take up a sizeable chunk of a room, so make sure you have space you're happy to lose. Once you've assessed whether you are able to have a loft conversion, it's worth visiting our page on loft conversion costs, which includes average prices and tips from experts and people who have had a loft conversion on how to keep costs down.

Run us through the different stages in the loft conversion process - what’s involved?

Which type of loft conversion should I go for? There are four main types of loft conversion: roof light, dormer, hip-to-gable and mansard. The one you choose is likely to be determined by a number of factors, including the type and age of house you live in, and your budget. Flick through our gallery below to see examples of each type, and read on for more details on how they work, what types of houses they would suit and how costly they are. Loft conversion types: 
Roof light conversions Roof light conversions are by far the cheapest and least disruptive option, as you won't have to make any changes to the shape or pitch of the roof. Instead, it's simply a case of adding in skylight windows, laying down a proper floor, and adding a staircase to make the room habitable. However, you'll need to have enough roof space already without having an extension for this type of conversion. Dormer conversions A dormer loft conversion is an extension that protrudes from the slope of the roof. Dormers, in particular flat-roof dormers, are the most popular type of conversion. They are suitable for pretty much any house with a sloping roof. Dormer conversions are less expensive than mansard or hip-to-gable conversions, but will still add a good deal of extra headroom and floor space. Hip-to-gable conversions Hip-to-gable conversions work by extending the sloping 'hip' roof at the side of your property outwards to create a vertical 'gable' wall, creating more internal loft space. This type of conversion will only work on detached or semi-detached houses, as it requires a free sloping side roof. If you have a detached house with sloping roofs on either side, you can build on both of these to create an even more spacious double hip-to-gable extension. Mansard conversions Mansard extensions run along the whole length of your house's roof and will alter the angle of the roof slope, making it almost vertical. These tend to be the most expensive type of conversion, but will result in a significant amount of extra space. Mansard conversions are suitable for most property types, including terraced, semi-detached and detached houses. How do I choose a builder or architect? When hiring any tradesmen, it's best to start with a recommendation. Speak to friends and family, and have a look online to see if there are any local forums offering recommendations. If you've spotted any loft conversions along your street and you feel comfortable knocking on some doors, ask your neighbours who they used and how they found them. You can also find local traders that have been given our seal of approval by heading to Which? Trusted Traders. When speaking with a builder or architect, ask to see examples of previous work. Most reputable companies will be happy to provide you with photographs, and some may be able to organise visits so you can speak to customers about their experiences and see conversions that they've completed up close. It's a good idea to get at least three quotes for the work that you're planning, but be sure to factor in recommendations and your gut feel on the person or company, as well as price. Will I need planning permissions? Many loft conversions are covered by permitted development rights and won't need planning permission. However, if you live on designated land or have a certain style of property that's tricky to convert, you may not be covered by permitted development. You can find out more about whether you'll need planning permission, and any other permissions you might need, by visiting our guide to building regulations and planning permission.

What’s your interior design process?

Our ability to understand, define and transform our clients’ aspirations and objectives is key to our design process. We base our work following the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) plan of work that provides a robust framework to allow us to complete your project on time, on budget and in an efficient manner. 
Depending on the project and the needs of the client we can handle the entire project lifecycle from the initial planning processes through to completion. Alternatively we can act as a consultant, assisting only with the design and planning phases and the handover for completion of any works to your own contractor. 
After initial contact we’ll arrange a confidential meeting to discuss your individual requirements. 
Following an in-depth analysis of your requirements we will first define which of our many services you may require whilst considering your lifestyle, budget and time constraints. We will then start with an initial site survey which will allow us to create project proposals. The briefing stage is a critical phase to ensure we capture all of the requirements so that the subsequent processes are both efficient and effective. 
From the brief we develop sketches, mood boards, scale drawings in 2D and 3D and renderings with design solutions for your consideration. Technical drawings include furniture layouts, lighting arrangements and floor plans. 
We also provide you with detailed selections of the furniture, fixtures and fittings for you based on individual project sourcing as well as samples of the proposed materials and finishes. This stage allows you to visualise how your space comes to life. 
Client approval of the design concept takes the process to the next stage with further refinement of the design and consideration of every detail. Final changes can be implemented before working CAD drawings are produced in conjunction with your architect (where required) or though our own appointed suppliers. 
A project timetable is defined with a detailed proposed schedule of works. When relevant accurate estimates of quantities required and budgetary changes are made. 
On final client approval the work commences. 
Approved designs are transformed into working drawings in preparation for the works to commence on site. 
Every area/room is developed with elevations of walls, sketches of proposed window treatments, furnishing, cabinetry, lighting, carpets and floor plans. 
Each bespoke item such as fitted cabinets, curtains or kitchens is carefully designed and developed taking care of the finest details and working in close contact with the manufacturer. 
At this stage we will be fully ready for the works to start. 
Our services includes project coordination and administration. This involves following the completion of the project and working closely with relevant craftsmen, suppliers and subcontractors to ensure that each stage of the project is carried out to the highest possible standards. 
Our aim is the client’s satisfaction. We carry out final snagging to ensure we deliver the best possible result. 
Construction work is complex and we deal with every project as unique and one-off. We understand how stressful and daunting it can feel as many people, materials and weather conditions are involved in the process, all of which are liable to ‘variations’. 
Our aim is to solve all of these problems and make the whole experience pleasant and exciting. 
We are particularly careful as we know that every client values their home and wants it to reflect their individual tastes and personality. We fully respect our clients' confidentiality and personal space, but at the same time we believe that it is very important to engage and spend time with our clients' during the evolution of the project, to understand their needs and desires - and suggesting even those details that they might never have thought important. We aim to make the process enjoyable, accessible and enriching for everyone involved.

Which interior design styles can you cater for?

Looking to revamp your interior style this year? Not sure where to start? Whether you’re putting the finishing touches to your kitchen, or embarking on an entire first floor renovation, honing in on an interior style can help focus your décor efforts. From Scandi-chic lighting to cool and contemporary furniture, follow our definitive guide to the top interior design styles and get your creative juices flowing. The LuxPad has sourced expert advice from a range of interior professionals to help you stay on track, as well as key pieces that define each interior design style. Don’t miss the links to other brilliant articles at the end of the post for even more interior design style inspiration 
Scandinavian: 
Inspired by the snow, mountains and fjords of the Nordic countries, Scandi interiors are proving enduringly popular across the globe. This timeless interior style works beautifully in living areas, bedrooms and bathrooms. Layer wools, fabrics and fur onto a glass or wooden framework for an effortlessly cool Nordic interior. Think pared back cosiness, clean lines and plenty of texture. It’s time to embrace the Danish concept of hygge – our love affair with Scandi style is set to stay. 
Eclectic: 
Eclectic interiors borrow ideas from a range of different periods, styles and trends. Break the rules, have a little fun and inject your personality into your decorating – that’s what the eclectic style is all about. Still, it is important to maintain a sense of balance within your decorating. The very best eclectic interiors are a cohesive blend of old, new, colour, texture and pattern. 
Industrial: 
From steel and stone to bricks and brass – industrial interior style is all about raw, exposed materials. Introduce metal fixtures or stripped back floorboards for a subtle but effective nod to the industrial trend. Statement lights are often a feature of industrial interiors and are particularly important for softening an otherwise cold space. Let your colour palette be guided by the raw materials used for a truly authentic industrial look. 
Vintage: 
Far from old-fashioned, vintage interior styling can be incredibly versatile. Whether you’re after a look that is charming and pretty or retro and edgy, adding some key vintage pieces can help you bring the room together. The best vintage interiors avoid looking overly twee by keeping clutter to a minimum. A vintage cabinet or storage unit is a fabulous way to update your interior in a stylish but practical way. Open shelves allow you to get creative with your styling, and can proudly showcase any books, trinkets or vintage accessories. 
Minimalist: 
The minimalist trend started in the early twentieth century and continues to pervade many aspects of modern life, interior design included. Initially influenced by the simplicity of Japanese design, minimalism works on the principle that less is more. Minimalist interiors are stripped down to their essential elements and empty space is left to make the design statement. Use colour sparingly in minimalist rooms, the idea is not to distract or detract from its simplicity. Black, white and primary colours are often regarded as best for a minimalist space. 
Mid-Century Modern: 
In the 1950s and ’60s, a post-war America was looking to break traditional design conventions and propel its design industries into the modern era. As a result, the mid-century modern style was born. Characterised by clean, simple lines, pops of blues and greens, and plenty of wood and rusty metals, mid-century modern is a design style with definite staying power. Looking for ways to incorporate the style into your home? top tip is to head to the charity shops. ‘Once you get out of London or bigger cities you’ll find they don’t always appreciate the mid-century modern style that much, so you can find some great lamps, teak furniture and even sofas and armchairs if you look well’. 
Coastal: 
Traditionally, coastal interiors have centred around the cliché of seaside accessories, nautical motifs and distressed woodwork. Today, the best coastal interiors adopt a more contemporary approach. Subtle nods to seaside living work beautifully without overdoing it. Think natural materials, plenty of glass and breezy white draperies that combine to create a spacious coastal haven. The coastal look is relaxed and unassuming and, when done right, works just as well in a city apartment as it does in a beach-front property. 
Contemporary: 
The contemporary interior style is current, modern, and constantly evolving. The fluidity of contemporary interior design is particularly exciting – what is considered a contemporary interior now will likely change over the course of the twenty-first century. Today, contemporary interiors feature clean, unadorned spaces. Furniture tends to show exposed legs to create a feeling of space. Metals and glass are popular contemporary materials and intricate details are kept to a minimum.

How long have you been in business?

Company incorporated in the UK since November 2016

What guarantee does your work come with?

If a contractor won’t provide a guarantee of their work, this is a red flag. Your contractor should be able to guarantee their work, and be willing to redo reasonable work requests without charging you any extra money. A good contractor values long-term relationships with clients, so will often offer a two-year warranty on the work. 
We have Public liability Insurance covering our Works

What do you love most about your job?

What I love most about my job is the sense of family around our workplace. The work is hard, no doubt. Our company truly values people on a personal level, which makes the hardest days just as great. 
There truly is a sense of caring for one another extending from the owner of the company downward to the lowest paid person on staff. 
I enjoy seeing the financial aspect of things, I like knowing how well the company is doing financially. Providing feedback too, offering insights to process improvements. 
Looking forward to meet our Customers needs... 
Customer Feedback is very important for us!