Converting a garage to a habitable room (living space)

A carport or garage may be converted to a habitable room (e.g. bedroom, study, living area) if there is sufficient space elsewhere on the property to provide parking in a complying location. It is recommended that the materials and finish of the proposed alteration match with that of the existing dwelling.

Planning requirements

Converting a carport or garage to a habitable room may require development (planning) approval where it does not meet the requirements of the Residential Design Codes (R-Codes), or the Residential Development Local Planning Policy. There may also be different requirements if you are located in an area subject to a structure plan, local development plan, or activity centre plan.

Generally, a conversion will require development (planning) approval where it is:

  • Visible from the street and not of a material or finish that matches the main dwelling
  • Proposed to contain an opening to a habitable room and setback less than 1.5m from a side or rear lot boundary
  • The car parking provided on-site is less than the amount required under the Residential Design Codes. Typically,  two bays are required to be provided.

Building Permit requirements

A building permit application will be required for a carport or garage conversion.

Construction requirements for conversion of a carport or garage to a habitable room

The National Construction Codes – Building Code of Australia (NCC BCA) is a uniform set of technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and other structures throughout Australia. The goal of the NCC BCA is to achieve acceptable standards of structural sufficiency, safety, health and amenity for the benefit of the community.

Such provisions include the following:

  • The walls of the new addition must maintain a continuous cavity with the existing dwelling
  • The floor to ceiling height must be a minimum of 2.4m
  • Noting that generally, carport floors are constructed without a waterproof membrane or termite barrier, the building permit application must indicate how the proposed works will prevent the ingress of moisture into the new room. The existing slab may need to be drilled to install a termite barrier
  • Natural light and ventilation must be maintained to all existing rooms
  • Hard wired smoke detectors must be installed to protect all existing and proposed bedrooms of the house
  • Applications may also require engineering details
  • Power Meter box – Any existing meter box within the proposed enclosure must be relocated to an external wall.

Building permit application forms (certified or uncertified) are available from the Building Commission.

Certified building permit applications must be accompanied with a Certificate of Design Compliance.

Please refer to the City’s Uncertified Building Application Checklist – Dwelling and Habitable Additions (Class 1a) for information required to be provided with the Building Permit Application (BA2 form).

Fees are in accordance with the Building services fees and charges.