How to design a garage with plans and design criteria: the complete guide with standards, layouts, example projects to download together with videos
When searching for “garage plans” you can find plenty of illustrations on how to arrange garage spaces or even find “DIY” ideas too.
In this week’s insight, we’ll be providing a complete technical guide to analyse different garage definitions, types, standards, regulations, layouts and other helpful design elements. Further on we’ll also examine models of underground, outdoor, public or private garages and highlight the minimum and recommended measurements together with other important design criteria, such as safety requirements.
Layouts and project models in the native .EDF format are available for download and use as your free design resource reference. To open these file formats, you can download the free trial version of Edificius and open the free project files and check out the various designs and other useful project documentation.
Garage plans: definitions and classifications
With the term “Garage” (or automated parking garage or carport) we normally refer to a space where one or more vehicles are parked. In addition to housing vehicles from climatic conditions, a garage is also used for other types of uses, e.g. storing tools, cleaning supplies and laundry machines.
These areas mainly refer to covered spaces where motor vehicles are either repaired, serviced or parked. Sheds that are open on at least two sides are not as considered garages.
Based on certain construction characteristics, garages can be classified:
according to the use of the building as:
- detached, located in buildings exclusively for parking use;
- mixed, all the rest.
according to the location with respect to the terrain as:
according to certain operations:
- guarded, the one which is equipped with automatic control systems to prevent fire spread, or provided with continuous surveillance systems;
- unguarded, all the rest.
according to the organization of internal spaces as:
- box garage;
- open space.
Charging points for electric vehicles
In recent years the high innovation introduced in the automotive industry, with special regard to electric vehicles, has raised the need for electrical charging points to be installed. When designing a garage, it’s extremely important to carry out the necessary checks to ensure that a property can accommodate such charging facilities.
Garage or Car Port Planning Permissions (UK)
This section provides you with general information to help you comply with the Building Regulations when constructing a garage within the boundaries of an existing property.
Building Regulations approval is required for building a garage but planning permission may not be in all instances – the local authority should be able to advise as to whether it planning permission is needed or not. Planning permission is not required for a detached garage or car port provided that:
- The garage is used for domestic purposes only.
- The ground area covered by the garage/car port and any other buildings within the boundary of the property, excluding the original house, is not more than half the total area of the property.
- No part of the garage is in front of the principal or side elevation of the original house that faces onto a road.
- The maximum height of the garage/car port is 4 metres.
- The maximum eaves height of the garage/car port is 2.5 metres if it is within 2 metres of the property boundary.
- No part of the garage is within 3.5 metres of the boundary with a road to the rear of the house.
Building a detached garage of less than 30 square metres floor area would not normally need building regulations approval if:
- the floor area of the detached garage is less than 15 square metres.
- the floor area of the garage is between 15 square metres and 30 square metres, provided the garage is at least one metre from any boundary, or it is constructed substantially of non-combustible materials.
For more info, check the relevant Planning Portal document.
Residential garages building regulations (USA)
There are several building codes in use across the country and many States make modifications as they see fit. Ask what code is being used in your local area and in most cases, your State will have their building code online as a convenience for contractors and DIYers who are attempting to build a garage.
Your local building department will check to ensure the building is properly designed and their field inspectors will visit to verify that it’s being built according to the plans and that all building codes are being met or exceeded. While it can vary depending on where you live, most building departments just require a simple drawing to issue a permit to build a garage
In determining the specifics of a project, the overall size of the project should be carefully calculated. It is important to determine the size of the project, because many areas have specific rules and regulations that must be followed when building a structure that exceeds a certain height or width. Smaller garages may require a subject-to-field inspection permit versus a traditional construction permit.
Often, a permit must be secured before a project is started. Because local and state laws vary greatly with these requirements, homeowners are advised to thoroughly research local regulations before beginning any large project.
Construction permit – subject-to-field-inspection. Most new and remodelled garages require only a subject-to-field-inspection permit. To qualify, your garage needs to be 750 square feet or less, a single story without a roof deck, and with beams spanning 14 feet or less
Construction permit – addition or alteration. If your project doesn’t quality for a subject-to-field-inspection permit, you will need an addition or alteration permit.
Electrical or plumbing permit. You may also need to get an electrical permit or plumbing permit if your garage will be wired for electricity or have a sink.
How to design garage plans: characteristics and measures
It is fundamental to consider the minimum dimensions for your garage layout.
As seen in our previous article “Car parking design: types, examples and BIM model” the basic sizing of a garage depends on the overall dimensions of a car, therefore 2,50 mt. x 5,00 mt. (8.20′ x 16.4′) for a standard garage and 3,20 mt. x 5,00 mt. (10.4′ x 16.4′) for parking spaces for the disabled (parameters that vary a little, depending on the different national regulations).
A comfortable solution is 3 mt. x 6 mt. (9.8′ x 19.6′) for standard garage space and 3,75 mt. x 6 mt. (12.3′ x 19.6′) for parking spaces for the disabled.
Extra lateral spacing must be provided to ensure that the vehicle doors can be comfortably opened by passengers on either side.
The garage height should be at least 2,40 mt. (7.8′)
The opening measures provided should be at least 2,40 mt. (width) x 2,20 mt. (height). (7.8′ x 7.2′).
Additional elements to consider in garage plans are:
- washable walls
- concrete floor or oil-resistant clay tiles
- proper lighting
- anti-slip flooring for ramps used in underground garages
- a rigid surface for getting on and off in front of the garage
- a space for storing winter tires and car accessories
- a space for storing other objects such as skis, bicycles, luggage racks, work and garden tools, etc.
- installation of the automatic opening systems with remote control.
Careful design of walls and ceilings should not be overlooked and, most of all, it is fundamental to take in consideration that they need to be fireproof.
Ventilation of car parks (U.K.)
Approved Document F provides guidance on building ventilation in a domestic or non-domestic structure, inluding garages and car parks. The requirement will be satisfied for car parks below ground level, for enclosed-type car parks and for multi-storey car parks if predicted pollutant levels are calculated, the ventilation rate is designed and equipment is installed to limit the carbon dioxine to:
- an avarage concentration of not more than 30 parts per million over an eight-hour period
- peak concentrations, such as by ramps and exits, of not more than 90 parts per million for periods not exceeding 15 minutes
Alternatively, the following guidance would satisfy the requirement:
- naturally ventilated car parks. The provision of well-distributed permanent natural ventilation, e.g. openings at each car parking level with an aggregate equivalent area equal to at least 1/20th of the floor area at that level of which at least 25% should be on each of the two opposing walls
- mechanically ventilated car parks. Either the provision of both permanent natural ventilation openings of equivalent area not less than 1/40th of the floor area and a mechanicl ventilation system capable of at least three air changes per hour; or for basement car park, the provision of a mechanical ventilation system capable of at least six air changes per hour. For exits and ramps, where cars queue inside the building with engines running, provisions should be made to ensure a local ventilation rate of at least ten air changes per hour.
Floor plans and sections of the different types of garages that we have analyzed so far are available below to download.
Parking areas design
Garage plans and car parking design share very similar problems and aspects that are somehow connected. Read our article regarding ‘Car parking projects‘.