Archive for February, 2015

Barn Conversions- How To Get Your Hands On one

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Barn Conversions- How To Get Your Hands On One

What do you see when you pass an old barn…Do you see a  worn out, derelict farm building, or does your imagination take over and conjure up images of luxurious barn conversions ?

Barn conversions became popular back in the 60’s and 70’s when people suddenly wanted to find a different style of home from the usual block styled houses of the post war years.

Nowadays, barn conversions are on the up again as people look for ways to re use resources and recycle.

Question is…How do you go about finding a barn that you can use for a barn conversion to create your dream home?

Here are 5 easy ways to find  barns that can be used for barn conversions.

Barn Conversions #1 Ask Your Local Authority

barn conversion

Check with your local authority.

Local authorities will have details of any barns that have had planning permission granted within your local area.

Then it’s a case of tracing the owner or vendor and setting the wheels in motion.

Barn Conversions #2 Check Local Press

barn conversions


Look through local papers and publications to see whether there are any barns for sale in your area.

Scouring through local newspapers can be a great way to source a barn in your area that can be purchased for a barn conversion.

Barn Conversions #3 Contact Estate Agents

Contact estate agents in your area to ask whether they have any barns for sale that have full planning permission allowing them to be used for barn conversions.

If they don’t currently have any available, then ask to be placed on their mailing list so that you can have first refusal when one becomes available.


Barn Conversions #4 Research Online

converting a barn

The great thing about living in the technology era, is that you can search for absolutely anything online…including barn conversions.

Two great sites for searching for barns that are for sale include…


Barn Conversions #5 Go For A Tour

converting a barnIf all else fails, then simply take a drive around your local area to look for any derelict barns.

When you find any barns that you think would be suitable for barn conversions, seek out the owners and discuss the possibility of them selling the barn to you.

Word of warning though: Don’t go ahead with the purchase until planning permission has been granted as all barns require planning permission that  fall with very strict guidelines.

Once you have got your hands on the perfect barn, complete with the necessary planning permission, then it’s a case of calling in the experts to get the work done.

Unless you’re skilled with the necessary qualifications yourself , it is really important to pass your barn conversion to the experts as there are very strict guidelines in place when it comes to barn conversions.

There are also financial benefits to doing this because  when you instruct a VAT registered builder to carry out the work on your behalf, you will be eligible to have the work and materials billed at a reduced VAT rate of 5%. Whereas, if you buy the materials yourself, you will pay the standard VAT rate.

For further help or advice on barn conversions in Cowbridge, Cardiff or anywhere in South Wales, Click here for your FREE quotation.


How To Convert A Barn Into Your Dream Home

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Looking To Convert A Barn Into Your Dream Home?

Over the last few years we have been privileged to help many clients convert a barn into their new dream home.

Barns always seem to have a prestige character appeal to them that draws people towards the idea of converting a tired, worn or even derelict old farm building into a lucrative new home. I have to admit that the same applies to me…

Although Barn Conversions can beIdeas To Convert a Barn into Your New Home challenging projects but they do offer the opportunity to be creative by utilising the heritage and countryside feel that barn conversion projects have to offer and being able to create something quite personal and unique .

Saving and preserving the features and character that old barns usually have is what appeals to so most people who set out to convert a barn into their dream home.

With some careful imagination, design and craftsmanship, combining the old features barns have to offer with new, seems to work well. Adding the smallest additional feature to a barn can dramatically convert the way it looks into something special..

Barn conversions never seem to date. They come in all different shapes, sizes and character that offer something different for everyone…  But beware…

Top Tips To Convert A Barn Into A Home

One of the biggest mistakes I see people do when they find an old barn for sale is to jump straight into the deep end and buy it thinking that they can simply convert it into a home without the need for planning permission. Nothing could be further from the truth. All barn conversions need planning permission.Tips on how to convert a barn into your new home by Derwood Homes

The rules that apply to renovate a barn differ from those needed to build a house. Most planning departments insist that the external appearance of a barn is kept more or less the same the same and that the materials used to renovated the barn are also the same.

Most planning officers and departments also prefer reclaimed materials being used to renovate the external appearance of a barn rather than using new materials.

You can generally add more living space to a barn conversion in the form of a new extension or orangery whilst renovating it as long as the design, style and size of the extension meets the various planning conditions and guidelines and is in-keeping with the style and look of the existing barn.

Obtaining Planning Permission To Convert A Barn

Although most barns that under go renovation are found on the outskirts of towns and villages some are located within conservation areas. Some barns and farmhouses are even ‘listed’ and can only be converted in to a residential home with the permission of the Planning and Conservation Department.

Before Barn Conversion

After Barn Conversion








Conservation areas are ‘areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’ (Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990). Some barns have features and history attached to them that can contribute to the reason why they become protected in order to preserve our National Heritage.

More and more properties throughout the country are being ‘Listed’. The aim is to help us acknowledge and understand our history and protect a building’s special architectural and historic interest. This is why some old buildings are placed under further planning protection laws to ensure that the planning system gives some extra thought about its future.

The older a building is, the more likely it is to be listed. All buildings built before 1700 that have survived in their original condition generally become listed. The same applies to properties built between 1700 and 1840. A building normally has to be over 30 years old to be eligible for being listed if you already have a building that you would like to protect.

Renovating A Listed Barn In A Conservation Area

Although we have carried out lots of barn renovation projects more and more of them are ‘listed’ barns located within a conservation area.

Make no mistake it’s hasn’t always been an easy job getting planning for our clients and on times it’s been a long hard fight taking months even years to get the necessary planning permission.

If you’re looking to convert a barn in a conservation you may find that the local Conservation Officer will insist on supervising the whole barn renovation project to ensure that it’s features and heritage are protected.

Although I am a big believer in protecting our heritage it does on times frustrate not only me but our clients when the whole planning process and renovation work is delayed because the local authority haven’t got the resources to carry out inspections as often as they should or because the conservation officers themselves ( not all of them) simply think that time doesn’t cost money and end up causing all sorts of delays.

Tips on how to convert a barn into a house

If only common sense and a more efficient service was brought back into place by some of our local planning departments it would make life so much easier.

Anyway, enough of my political views… Just be wary that the process to obtain planning permission to convert a barn into your dream home can be a long, tiresome and frustrating process.

How Much Does It Cost to Convert A Barn?

This is a question that 99% of people under estimate.

To be honest if you really want the truth then I can honestly say that it is cheaper to build a new house than convert a barn into one.

On average the cost to build your own house can vary between £1000 and £1300 per square metre for a basic 4 bedroom self build property, whereas the cost to convert a barn is on average anything from £1300 per square metre upwards. Now you might well ask why does it cost so much when the shell of the property is already standing?

5 Reasons Why It Costs More To Convert A Barn Into A Home

The most common reasons why the cost to convert a barn into a home can be more than building a house from scratch are…

1. The structure of a barn is usually in a poor state of repair. In order to bring it up to a structurally safe standard in compliance with current Building Regs often entails labour intensive specialist work and materials to be used that you wouldn’t normally use when building a new average four bedroom house. Full compliance with Building Regulations is however still required for all construction projects

Barn conversion tips and adviceBathroom Ideas For Converting A Barn

2.  Most barns don’t have any foundations so this can mean that the walls require ‘underpinning’ which again is a very slow, specialist and expensive process to carry out.

3. Some barns were built with large Oak beams and inspirational features that more often than not have to be preserved and or replaced like for like.

One recent project we completed in the Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales resulted in us having to spend over £9,000.00 just for purchasing new oak beams ! So you see, the cost for one item alone can be an expensive hobby.

Barn Conversion Builder Derwood Homes

4. The planning department generally insist that the character and previous look of a barn is reinstated to it’s former glory meaning that only specific authentic materials and finishes can be used to renovate the barn.

These can be expensive to source, buy and have delivered to site.

Don’t forget that the internal fixtures and fitting can also soon add up too!

5. Good, reputable builders who have the skill, expertise and quality workmanship to convert a barn are not the cheapest builders around, so don’t be fooled that any builder can complete a quality barn conversion project to a high standard for you. Like everything else you get what you pay for..

The key to any project is to seek the right advice, do your homework and carefully plan your budget before to decide to convert a barn into your new home. Make sure you can afford any unforeseen costs that may crop up during the construction stage and that your builder is someone with whom you can rely on..

The end result should be an amazing new home to be proud of..

Feel free to contact us at any time for further advice.. Until next time..