Conversions of garages to living areas and their associated problems

Garage conversions & associated problems. Courtesy of Peter Weddell, owner/operator of Qld Home Buyers Inspection Service.

Associated problems from garage conversions to living areas


Ceiling height of this previous garage converted to a living area was well under the requirement of 2.4 metres as required by Council.

Moisture meter readings:

  • Showing red and wet indicators with reading of 305.
  • Normal readings should be around 80 showing green and dry indicators.
  • The slab being originally built for a garage is highly unlikely to have a plastic membrane below it.

Rising damp can cause health respiratory problems with inhabitants of garage conversions.

Conversions of garages causing associated problems

Garage conversions & associated problems. Important notes:

  • All lower floor areas of this large western suburb house had been converted from a garage-storage to habitable areas that were non-compliant.
  • Water has seeped through the walls, rising damp has occurred from the slab, ceiling heights are too low for use as habitable areas.
  • The house was advertised by the agent as being a legal living to all of the lower level and according to the prospective buyer, priced accordingly “high”.
  • A purpose built two storey house is constructed taking into consideration drainage, seepage, rising damp and required ceiling height (for use as habitable areas).
  • Conversion of a garage-subfloor area to a compliant fault free living space (without associated problems) is almost impossible to achieve without totally removing and rebuilding (at a great cost).
  • It is extremely important for your inspector to inform you in their report, whether the house has been built as a purpose built two storey house or having the lower level converted from a garage-storage area to a habitable area.

An inspector must make a buyer aware of associated problems that are caused by garage conversions. This may prove to be a costly mistake, especially when reselling!

Related information that may be helpful:

Ceiling height requirements for habitable rooms

For independent Building Inspections Brisbane in all suburbs, Qld Home Buyers Inspection Service.