The Garage is an indoor area or building used for parking or storing motor vehicles. The garage is a part of the everyday Australian home, used to keep vehicles safe and provide protection from the weather. A standard family home consists of a double-garage, usually attached to the house with internal access.
A double-garaged property will always attract a higher rental return. Single garages will greatly reduce the size of the home, and in return reduce the overall build cost. However this is not always a valued option. For a 3 bedroom home or larger a single garage will reduce re-sale value. My tip would be to avoid single garages unless the property has 2 bedrooms or less.
In the majority of investment homes the laundry is often part of the garage. This is usually to conserve space and reduce costs. (refer to laundries)
Covenants and council design codes often stipulate garages to be set back from the main building line to avoid a garage dominate street-scape. This in return allows for more architectural elements to be introduced into the design and of course extra driveway and car parking space.
Garages are generally set on build to boundary lines and are best positioned on the lower side of the block. Retaining is less complicated and cheaper to construct on the low side. Some covenants require garages to be set on the western or southern side of a property to enhance private open space and the northern aspect. (refer to site)
Garages today are more commonly being used as storage areas, work shops and even being converted into habitable areas. (see post etc) With small homes and limited space vehicles often get left in the drive way in order to make way for more valuable internal floor space.
Many developments and covenant required a select number of covered car parks and / or onsite parking depending on the size and width or the property. Councils also require a number of off street parking relative to the number of bedrooms or occupants of the home. This is crucial in higher density areas where off street parking becomes limited. Driveways and streets can becomes cluttered and congested if garages and off street parking are not correctly catered for. If this is a re-occurring issue in the area or street it can create long term issues and negatively affect the estate or area, potentially impacting the growth of your property. If converting a garage into a habitable area, this needs to be considered.
In some instances double garages are not accepted on small blocks, tandem garages are an alternative solution to this problem. Tandem garages are single entrance and are two car lengths deep. The down fall of this being one car must move in order for the second to exit. A tandem garage will consume more floor area compared to standard double garages when calculating Gross Floor Area (GFA).
Ensure there is a recess or significant fall at the entrance or point where the garage door meets the slab. This is important because water can penetrate or be forced under the door in bad weather conditions.
If the garage has windows ensure they are high enough to avoid prying eyes scoping out your valuables or checking to see if you are home. Good design will prevent this issue, obscure glass is an alternative solution.
Depending on the design of the dwelling, the terrain and the access to the property, garages are either attached as part of the house or free standing. (Refer to driveway access)
Internal access to garages is always a more attractive feature and adds value to the property. Access can be directly via the garage or can be through another non habitable room such as the laundry. The best position for an internal access door is at the opposite end of the garage door in a corner. This prevents the door from opening on to the vehicle and blocking egress. For small tight garages or where the access door is positioned to open onto a vehicle the use of a cavity sliding door will improve access and egress.
External access to the rear of the property through the garage is always an advantage. This provides an alternative access on a narrow block improving ease of routine inspections, movement of garbage bins and access to the clothes line.
Investment homes commonly have small garages. Due to the developers creating smaller and thinner lot sizes the overall house width is forced to follow suit. Smaller garage sizes also reduce the cost of the Ground Floor Area (GFA). A single garage should not be smaller than 3.0m x 5.6m and a double garage should not be smaller that 5.6m x 5.6m. Any thing less than these suggestions are not practical and do not function well.
Common garage sizes are
- 5.6m x 5.6m – Small
- 5.8m x 5.8m – Fair
- 6.0m x 6.0m – Luxurious
If housing small vehicles, only commuting once a day and have no need for extra storage, you will find a small garage will suffice for this purpose.
A family house hold with frequent vehicle usage needs extra space and egress for large items such as baby strollers, sporting equipment no to mention the family pets. A fair to luxurious size garage will be best to accommodate this lifestyle and ensure adequate space for the storage of work tools, bicycles and the odd kayak or two.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do garages need to be insulated?
Garages do not need to be insulated as it is not a habitable area. Some building companies do not insulate garages and this can be a cost saving optional selection depending on the building company.
Garages are part of the house and contribute to the overall thermal rating.
How big should a garage door be?
Standard sizes are 2400mm wide for single garage door and 4800mm wide for a double garage door. The standard opening height should be 2100mm high, however some manufactures sizes vary.