Building Regulations - converting garage into cinema

Secondhand

Standard Member
Hello. So I’ve just purchased an established detached house with an internal double garage which I wanted to convert to a home cinema.

I’d like to shut and lock the garage door and create a stud wall in front of the garage door as well as appropriate soundproofing. Then create a door from the lounge into the garage by knocking through an internal wall.

My problem is planning and building regulations. I live in Bedfordshire, U.K. They say I need to create another door/window in accordance with fire safety regulations. Whilst I understand why another door/window is needed, this would go against a completely dedicated cinema room as well as another potential weak spot with letting sound out/light in.

Is there no way round this? Anybody else done anything different or offer advice how to make Building Regulations happy? I asked them if putting a fire extinguisher in the cinema would be sufficient enough but no joy.

Here is the layout of my house. There are bedrooms above.

2EA3D8A5-DEFC-473F-B945-0F628C2C1C2B.png

And here is a very rough drawing of how I wanted the layout.
698A7F44-96BF-4104-8DD1-A82AE3A90CB5.jpeg

Many thanks.
 

AmericanAudio

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor
You can't get round it unfortunately, you need that second route or just possibly a spinkler/misting system to protect your single exit route.

Where would you screen be? Could you put a window/door behind that and hide it behind a big curtain. Thus killing two birds with one stone and providing some sound deadening at the same time.
 

iFi audio

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
You can't get round it unfortunately, you need that second route or just possibly a spinkler/misting system to protect your single exit route.
Absolutely agree. There are already many cases proving that messing with safety regulations did not end up well....

Where would you screen be? Could you put a window/door behind that and hide it behind a big curtain. Thus killing two birds with one stone and providing some sound deadening at the same time.
I also consider this solution as the best.
 

Secondhand

Standard Member
Absolutely agree. There are already many cases proving that messing with safety regulations did not end up well....


I also consider this solution as the best.
I think I’ll put in a window on the side exterior wall and hide with a thick velvet curtain (a’ la cinema style). In regards to sound proofing around a window, is there anything I should know?
I was planning to create a stud frame and fill in Rockwool, then put those hat clips (could be wrong with the name) to decouple the wall. Then put on a double skin using two different thicknesses of sound board.
 

mazon27091

Well-known Member
You could make internal shutters for the window and include soundproofing that faces glass (not a full proof solution but better than nothing.) It would also block out the light. Do a similar design fixture on the wall opposite to finish off the look.
 

Secondhand

Standard Member
You could make internal shutters for the window and include soundproofing that faces glass (not a full proof solution but better than nothing.) It would also block out the light. Do a similar design fixture on the wall opposite to finish off the look.
Could you elaborate please. I’m trying to understand your solution. So hang a shutter blind… I don’t understand the soundproofing facing the glass part? 😅
 

mazon27091

Well-known Member
How can I explain this better, building regs require the window so you put in the window. You don't want or need the window so you fill the inside of the window with sound proofing. Then you make two doors that keep the sound insulation in place. These doors can then be decorated in anyway you want (I suggest doing matching doors on the other side of the room to balance the asthetic look)

This solution gives you the option to open the doors remove the soundproofing and still use the window if you change the use of the room. I hope I explained it better this time.:)
 

Secondhand

Standard Member
How can I explain this better, building regs require the window so you put in the window. You don't want or need the window so you fill the inside of the window with sound proofing. Then you make two doors that keep the sound insulation in place. These doors can then be decorated in anyway you want (I suggest doing matching doors on the other side of the room to balance the asthetic look)

This solution gives you the option to open the doors remove the soundproofing and still use the window if you change the use of the room. I hope I explained it better this time.:)
Yes it does. Thank you. A friend at work suggested this idea to but maybe a solid oak door would be easier to soundproof than a window due to vibrating glass.
 

mazon27091

Well-known Member
Yeah I thought of that too. A heavyweight door would do it, just make sure it is air tight around the seals to stop any noise escaping.

One other thing you may need is air con as a sealed room can get hot very quickly.
 

Secondhand

Standard Member
Yeah I thought of that too. A heavyweight door would do it, just make sure it is air tight around the seals to stop any noise escaping.

One other thing you may need is air con as a sealed room can get hot very quickly.
That’s been on my mind - how hot will it get in there. Even though it has no light coming in, how hot can these converted garages get with all the AV equipment in? Air con seems like another ball ache installing.
 

AmericanAudio

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor
All this is a good direction and would meet building regs. Just don't enclose the window until the room is signed off by building regs.

Also, what sort of budget do you have for the room. In most build budgets the money is better spent in better equipment than mediocre kit and a bunch of unnecessary soundproofing.

Just some food for thought.
 

Secondhand

Standard Member
All this is a good direction and would meet building regs. Just don't enclose the window until the room is signed off by building regs.

Also, what sort of budget do you have for the room. In most build budgets the money is better spent in better equipment than mediocre kit and a bunch of unnecessary soundproofing.

Just some food for thought.
That could be an idea.
My budget is £12,000. I’d like a 7.2.4 setup with a fixed screen. Already have the Denon 6500 and MA sides. I’d like to upgrade to MA silver range and buy another BK sub. I do believe most of the money will be going towards sound proof as there’s a bedroom above. My partner also wants an star infinity screen.
 

mazon27091

Well-known Member
That’s been on my mind - how hot will it get in there. Even though it has no light coming in, how hot can these converted garages get with all the AV equipment in? Air con seems like another ball ache installing.
Unfortunately with the projector and av equipment things can heat up pretty quick. In the winter this may save some heating costs but in the summer it can be unbearable to sit in. The recent temperatures would stop you using the room altogether. Personally I would say because of your budget make sure you have the room and air con right before spending loads of money on the speakers etc. These can be added later when you have the time to save a bit more. You have to get the construction right otherwise you might be taking the place apart sooner rather than later.
 

ufo550

Well-known Member
Done exactly as your plan with my home cinema build. As others have said, you will be required to provide a fire escape window. To comply with Building Regs, your escape route from your conversion, cannot go through another room.

So I've had a window installed, it was specc'ed with acoustic glass. I don't know how much that reduces the sound, but I still need to reduce it more. I've got a black blind on order, and will make a removable 'window plug' to further reduce the sound getting out.

Another vote for AC; I was working in my room the other day, and had to turn on the AC before I fainted. I expect it to be the same, with all the av kit running, and warm bodies watching movies.
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
Also, what sort of budget do you have for the room. In most build budgets the money is better spent in better equipment than mediocre kit and a bunch of unnecessary soundproofing.
What would you consider to be unnecessary soundproofing, as opposed to useful soundproofing?
 

maverick177uk

Distinguished Member
i talked to my build regs about this and basically I have a door into my garage from the open plan downstairs area, if when I do the conversion I take off that door it is counted as an open plan area, same as all the rooms downstairs. If I choose to put a door on after it’s been signed off and the building regs guy has left, well that’s upto me.
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
i talked to my build regs about this and basically I have a door into my garage from the open plan downstairs area, if when I do the conversion I take off that door it is counted as an open plan area, same as all the rooms downstairs. If I choose to put a door on after it’s been signed off and the building regs guy has left, well that’s upto me.
A garage must have a fire door if the access is to the main house. Thats not really a bad thing as it's provides great sound proofing and not that much more expensive. All my internal doors are fire door expect the bathroom one.
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
A garage must have a fire door if the access is to the main house.
Purely guessing here, but isn't that if it's being used as a garage? If it's converted to living accommodation, then the fact it was once a garage is surely irrelevant?
 

maverick177uk

Distinguished Member
A garage must have a fire door if the access is to the main house. Thats not really a bad thing as it's provides great sound proofing and not that much more expensive. All my internal doors are fire door expect the bathroom one.
Well I’m keeping my garage door intact so no window, I will remove the door to the garage from dining room leaving it open plan, the door itself is a double glazed unit ( last owners had it on, I’m guessing when the garage was built many years ago building regs where different). Once the building reg guy goes I’ll just pop it back on.
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
Purely guessing here, but isn't that if it's being used as a garage? If it's converted to living accommodation, then the fact it was once a garage is surely irrelevant?
Not really, while the garage is not storing a car and the original safety issues are not relevant. We are not trying to recreate grenfeld, A garage has far less in the way of insulation and therefore an internal door would advantageous and when sold could delay or scupper a sale. I had similar issues with a conservatory a few year back.
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
Not really, while the garage is not storing a car and the original safety issues are not relevant. We are not trying to recreate grenfeld, A garage has far less in the way of insulation and therefore an internal door would advantageous and when sold could delay or scupper a sale. I had similar issues with a conservatory a few year back.

If you're converting a garage, you'd need to insulate it anyway for building regs. A conservatory needs a door to the main house, whereas I assume a converted garage wouldn't.
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
If you're converting a garage, you'd need to insulate it anyway for building regs. A conservatory needs a door to the main house, whereas I assume a converted garage wouldn't.
The op is not wanting to follow the regs and is looking for easy access from within the house.
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
The op is not wanting to follow the regs
Where did you get that from? He said he wanted a solution to keep building regs happy. And if you thought he wasn't wanting to follow the regs, why have you said "A garage must have a fire door if the access is to the main house"?
 

ufo550

Well-known Member
i talked to my build regs about this and basically I have a door into my garage from the open plan downstairs area, if when I do the conversion I take off that door it is counted as an open plan area, same as all the rooms downstairs. If I choose to put a door on after it’s been signed off and the building regs guy has left, well that’s upto me.
Interesting how these Inspectors interpret regulations and guidance they give.

Mine was straight down the line. I kept a small part of my conversion as storage. That had to be treated as a garage, which required fire proofing with fire plasterboard for the ceiling and base brick course for stud wall, to prevent fluid travel, even though a toy car couldn’t fit in it!

But you’ve been given the solution 👍
 

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