Your family car will definitely benefit from being parked within a sheltered area, particularly during the harsher winter months. Wind, rain and strong sunshine can all contribute to the decaying and wearing of your car’s engine, seals and bodywork.
Therefore having a sheltered area for parking up is one sure-fired way to not only prolong the life of your car, but also protect it from potential damage when parked in your driveway or on the road. A car port or garage will also almost definitely add value to your home, and become a desirable feature when selling on. This article serves as a basic guide to the regulations relating to the erecting of a garage or car port.
Difference Between a Garage and Car Port
As the functionality of a car port and garage are essentially the same – somewhere to park your car as well as additional storage space – the main difference lies in the design elements. A garage will tend to compromise of enclosed walls and a locking door, thus making it more secure and insulated design than the more open structure of a car port.
A car port in its most basic form will consist of posts and a roof, but some designs will include up to three surrounding walls and an open, unsecured front. Both car ports and garages can either be built as extensions to your home, or be constructed as detached, standalone buildings on your property. A car port will offer much more protection for your car from the damaging effect of the elements than just leaving it parked on a driveway.
The choice between building a garage or car port can not only be a choice based on storage needs. You may also take into consideration safety, security and aesthetic design. A garage with a secure, locked door will offer much more security for whatever is stored inside. A car port is not ideal for storing valuable items such as tools – for instance you may have secure garage cabinets inside your car port, but because there is a visual line straight into the car port, thieves may not be deterred so much if access appears to be relatively easy.
However, a car port can incorporate side storage areas for things such as wood storage and basic garden equipment storage. The space is still very flexible, and if your car port is situated a little further back from the road and has good security lighting, your car should still be relatively safe.
From a landscaping and garden or house design point of view, a garage or car port can easily fit into modern and older properties. Oak structures in particular are a great way of ‘easing’ a garage design into an otherwise older or picturesque property, even complementing the landscaping. Many of the existing pre-fabricated car port or garage structure designs are so varied that you’ll most likely find a design that suits both your tastes and requirements.
Planning Permission & Buildings Regulations
In many cases, ready-made garages are defined by law as temporary structures and therefore will probably not require planning permission. Of course, this is not the final word of the law and it may not relate to your individual home, so you will need to check with your local planning authority regarding their local regulations. Buildings Regulations control is usually only needed if your car port or garage flooring area exceeds thirty square metres.
But as a guide, you should expect to have to apply for planning permission for your carport or garage in the following circumstances:
- The garage is going to be used for business purposes
- Any part of the garage is going to be closer than 5 metres from your house, or attached to the house, in which case it will be treated as an extension
- The garage or carport is going to be more than 4 metres high with a pitched roof, or more than 3 metres high with a flat roof
- You intend to build your garage or carport closer to the road than any part of your original house that is nearest to a highway More than half the area of your garden or land is going to be covered by your garage or carport
If you live in a conservation area, you’ll almost definitely have to apply for planning permission. This would also apply to listed buildings, as well as houses situated within a National Park or The Broads.
Buildings regulations approval will only need to be sought in most cases if the area of the floor of your garage or carport exceeds 30 square metres or the total ‘volume’ of the garage or carport is more than 70 square metres.
All in all, building a garage or car port is relatively easy and straightforward if you don’t need planning permission. There are a whole host of designs out there, and whether you choose to build yourself, or hire a good builder (research is always a must!), the chances are your build will be trouble free and fast. Remember if you are in any doubt at all, always contact your local planning authority for help and guidance.