Everything you need to know about getting a barn conversion

Higher Churchtown Barn

If you’re looking into a barn conversion, there may be several things to think through before you decide to buy. This may depend on the location, the age of the property and what your purpose is for creating the idyllic barn conversion that’s right for you.

At ASAPS, we’re experts in providing advice to our customers for conversions. We make sure that you get the conversion you want whilst adhering to building regulations.

That’s why we’ve put together a guide for everything you need to know about getting a barn conversion before you get started.

Why opt for a barn conversion?

A barn conversion turns a former building that may have been used for farming, or industrial purposes into a residential home or holiday home. It can be a great way to create a new home that’s right for you.

Despite this, there are plenty of things to consider, including location, age of the property, the structure of the property and costs!

For example, these types of dwellings are often located in the countryside or rural locations and may not have been used for their original purpose – perhaps for some time. This can be an important consideration when you’re looking at purchasing a barn to convert, as often, these builds may require a considerable amount of work to get to the correct standards.

In addition to this, building regulations will need to be considered, taking into account the history, structure, safety, and potential energy efficiency of the property. As well as applying to your local planning authority to check if approval is needed. For example, noise impacts, transport impacts or flooding risks.

What’s the purpose?

Another thing to consider when it comes to your barn conversion is what you’re going to convert it into. Barns come in all shapes and sizes, from old farm or agricultural buildings to larger former factories.

Therefore, when you’re looking to buy it’s important to know what the purpose is, so you decide on the right kind of space for you. Are you looking for larger living spaces, exposed beams, or other character features for your property? Are you using it for a holiday home, your own home, a studio, or events?

Top 6 things to consider when investing in a barn conversion

1) Cost

When you’re looking to buy and renovate a barn, it comes with substantial costs. Yet, there is more to be considered depending on the state of the property that you’re looking to buy, as well as other components such as location. There may be significant structural repairs required, and insulation and upgrades needed. Equally, older properties, especially in rural areas don’t always have adequate heating systems. Oil and electric storage heaters or ground source heat pumps may be required to be installed. You’ll also need to bear in mind maintenance costs over time.

2) Access to transport and local amenities

Some people enjoy living in the rural countryside, but depending on the purpose of your barn conversion you may want to consider transport access and what’s in the local area.

Is it a commutable distance to work or local schools? Are the shops, healthcare, or a leisure centre nearby?

For example, if you’re looking to rent it as a holiday home you might want to consider what’s to do around the area for your guests. Alternatively, if you’re using it as an events space the surrounding land and a more excluded, peaceful environment may be more appropriate.

Despite all those considerations, it is also important that there is access to the property as you’re doing renovations and for property maintenance further down the line.

3) Structural integrity

Buildings that are built years ago are often not designed to support modern facilities. You may need to check the insulation, pipes, and heating within the property and how sound they are before purchasing. It might be best to hire a quality surveyor to conduct a full building survey to look at the structure of the barn before purchasing. They can check what needs repairing/changing and see if the building adheres to current safety standards.

4) Investment potential

When you invest in a barn conversion, it makes a great investment. There are a limited number of barn conversions across the UK, and their adaptability is appealing to many people. Once the property is bought and renovated, it’ll be worth a lot more.

Due to their rarity, plus the increase in people looking to buy a renovated barn, you’ll get a lot of interest. What’s more once a barn is converted, it holds its value for a long time. Especially if it’s been well maintained and the surrounding areas remain unchanged.

5) Energy efficiency & insulation

Older properties aren’t as well insulated or energy efficient as more modern properties. This  can often lead to costly heating bills.

It’s important to look at the property before you purchase it to see if it meets the proper building regulations for barn conversions. This may require adaptations such as putting in double-glazed windows or adding extra wall or roof insulation. Alternatively, those with the budget can look into a renewable energy system.

To meet building regulations, you’ll need a SAP calculation for your barn conversion. This will help to plan your design and build SAPS and get an EPC certificate.

6) Planning permission

The government often sets strict policies regarding conversions. Obtaining planning permission is not normally relevant for barns unless it’s a listed building. Class Q permitted development regulation was introduced to ease the pressure on housing in rural areas. It allows changing a business from agricultural to residential use if it meets certain criteria.

It’s important that you speak to the local council to ensure you’re meeting the correct regulations. It’s also worth considering the impact on the local area, for example, conservation areas or other surrounding land.

A barn conversion can be a great project and investment. However, there are many important things to consider along the way before you buy. Our guide above will help you get to grips with the basics. It’s always worth speaking to professionals if you need it.

At ASAPS we provide SAP calculations for barn conversions for our clients, along with expert advice along the way so that you know your meeting the right regulations and have peace of mind so you can enjoy your new property development. If you would like a free quote, simply give us a call on 01536 689 007. Or, enquire here for a quote and one of our experts will be in touch.