Are barn conversions the new way forward to create your Grand Design? Quite possibly.

Class Q barn conversions are renowned for being difficult to secure planning permission for. Planning Managers Councils are still working out the amount of ‘new build’ that is acceptable in this conversion category. Open barns do not meet the criteria – however, barns with three or more sides enclosed are acceptable for conversion, so long as enough of the original building is kept intact. Although planning permission for these rare builds is not the easiest to come by, our recent success proves that it is not impossible. With the right research and design, a Class Q barn could become your dream home.

So here they are. Our 10 top tips for gaining Class Q consent:

  1. Make sure the barn is in agricultural use – barns not used for agriculture cannot be converted.
  2. Make sure your barn is structurally sound, and that it’s possible to convert it without adding any additional structure.
  3. Get a structural engineer to visit and give you advice about the structure.
  4. You may need to make some minor repairs to ensure the barn is convertible, but get advice about this.
  5. Find an architect or designer that specialises in barn conversions and understand the regulations.
  6. Get advice from a planning consultant on the likelihood of obtaining Class Q.
  7. You can insert windows and doors, but avoid very large expanses of glazing that might need additional structure to support them.
  8. Get creative! Barn conversions really lend themselves to large open plan and double height spaces.
  9. Think laterally – could that telegraph pole acting as a column make a great design feature?!
  10. Check your costs. Barn conversions can be more complicated and expensive than building a new house; we allow a rate of £1500- £2000 per sq m as a starting point.