A beginner’s guide to barn conversions

A barn can provide the perfect shell in creating your home. These large and often very solid structures give the opportunity to create a house with big expanses of space and high ceilings. And by retaining the original form and structure, it adds character, history and charm to your otherwise modern home.

1. Where can I find barns for sale?

Two comprehensive search engines for derelict barns for conversions:

  • Barnsetc is a website dedicated to help you find your perfect barn or barn conversion.
  • On The Market has a good list of barns for sale, including barns ready to be converted as well as completed conversions.

2. How much will a barn conversion cost?

This depends on a variety of factors, but barn conversions are typically pricier than new builds per square metre, so expect to pay £1500 per square metre or more. Carefully upgrading whilst retaining the existing fabric and structure of a barn can be costly. But of course, the character and history it preserves is priceless.

3. How do I get building regulations approval for a barn conversion?

There are ultimately three routes to obtaining building regulations approval for your barn conversion:

  1. A ‘building notice’ is where you give notice to the council that works are about to begin. This is the fastest way, although there is more of a risk that you will be asked to change parts of the design as you go. This route is suitable for small extensions.
  2. A ‘full plans’ application to the council means you submit plans and details for approval before work commences. Once submitted, the decision takes 5 weeks minimum. When work on the site starts, regular inspections will take place.
  3. Using an ‘approved inspector’ – a private individual or organisation who ensure that your project complies with the building regulations. An approved inspector can be invaluable if your proposals push the boundaries of the ‘approved documents’, and they will be on your side to make sure your proposals comply with regulations.

4. Do I need planning permission for barn conversions?

Permitted development rights were extended in 2014 to allow agricultural buildings to be converted into homes. But there are still certain rules and restrictions with every case, and there’s a chance that permitted development rights won’t apply to your project.

We advise discussing your particular case with an architect, perhaps even before purchasing the plot. NJ Architects can help you navigate the complexities of the planning process during the design and development phase of the project. We have vast experience in the redesign and redevelopment of barn conversions.

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