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With large open spaces, rustic features and vaulted high ceilings, it is no surprise that barn conversions are becoming increasingly popular. Converting a disused barn is an exciting opportunity to create a home that is of bespoke design and tailored to your requirements. Furthermore, on the resale market, they are an attractive option for a range of buyers. As with any large project, conversions do require careful planning and it’s best to start from scratch. In this blog, we answer some of your frequently asked barn conversion questions.

A modern barn conversion

What is a Barn Conversion?

Simply put, a barn conversion is taking a disused farm building and transforming it into a home. Some barns are easier to convert as they may already have functional quality structures, but others may have deteriorated more. Barns that have been left unmaintained for some time may have weak structures, missing walls etc. and will require more work which will, therefore, be likely to cost more.

Where Can I Find a Barn?

If you do a Google search for barn conversions in your area, you will undoubtedly find some options, but some of the best websites for searching are:
• OnTheMarket
• Barnsetc
• UKLandAndFarms
• UKAuctionList
These websites offer barn conversions ready to move in as well as ones that are in need of some work.

How Much Does a Barn Conversion Cost?

It is hard to put a figure on how much a barn conversion will cost because it is dependent on the size, how much work has been put in and what the price of the original building was. An essential cost factor in converting a barn is ensuring the structure is strong enough to bear the weight of additional elements such as extra floors of mezzanines. It is vital to employ the expertise of an experienced structural engineer to ensure a safe and effective project.

Structural beams in a barn conversion

Do I Need Planning Permission for a Barn Conversion?

In some cases, planning permission is not required. Barns and other farm buildings may sometimes be eligible for conversion under Class Q Development Rights, which allows for the change of use from agricultural buildings to homes. Class Q Development needs to be approved by a local authority but does not need regular planning permission. For more information on Class Q Development, take a look at our recent blog. Although, you will still be required to submit a notification to your local planning authority before commencing work. By notifying the local authority, the site can be assessed for factors such as contamination, flood risk, road safety, noise, etc. Barn conversions that are eligible for development under Class Q can pose as a unique opportunity to build a home in a rural area where the chances of acquiring planning for a new build are slim.

However, in many cases, barn conversions still require planning permission. If your project falls into any of the following statements, then you will require planning permission:

• The barn is larger than 450m2
• The barn is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
• The barn is a listed building
• The barn isn’t on a farm, e.g. in a garden or paddock
• The barn will require demolition and reconstruction or replacement to attain a successful conversion
• The barn will need new structural elements to create a building that is able to be converted to a home
• The external dimensions of the converted barn will extend beyond the outer dimensions of the existing barn at any given point
• The barn will require building operations (other than the installation or replacement of windows, doors, roofs or exterior walls, or bringing services such as water, drainage, electricity or gas that would be considered reasonable in a home).

painting of an old barn in the country

How Do I Know if a Barn Conversion Project is Too Big for Me?

A large project such as a barn conversion can be challenging and expensive. With this in mind, it is therefore essential to employ the services of skilled professionals to ensure the process is in good hands. Here at Martin Perry Associates, we offer a range of services from structural engineering and design to planning and building regulations packages. We have worked on many barn conversions in the past, so if you are interested in using us for your project, get in contact. Call us on 01579 345777 or email us at mail@mperryassociates.com.

We hope you have found this informative and we have answered some of your questions about barn conversions. If you are looking for a structural engineer in Newquay, the surrounding areas, or Devon, then please do not hesitate to get in contact with us here at Martin Perry Associates.