Here’s one for anyone eyeing off that spacious 1970’s carport that would make a terrific rumpus room for the kids or a self-contained flat for the in-laws … do your homework!

There are a few major areas to consider when looking into converting a carport into a habitable room.

Firstly, open carports with concrete slab floors often don’t have a vapour barrier installed beneath the slab or proper damp proofing – relying on atmospheric air movement to disperse any dampness rising from the surrounds and soil below. Enclosing the space keeps the draught out but prevents any moisture on the surface of the slab and it’s edges from evaporating, thereby creating a damp and unhealthy environment.

Secondly, have you had a professional inspect the current structure for asbestos? Asbestos was used in flat sheet fibre-cement building products up until 1982 and in corrugated fibre-cement eaves lining, carport soffit and/or roofing material up until 1986 because of its cost effectiveness and ease of installation. The real risk of exposure to asbestos fibres and dust occurs with the demolition of walls, soffits or roofs during the renovation of a property, and drilling or cutting of products containing asbestos.

Thirdly, construction within 1.0m of a boundary needs to be fire-rated.

And finally, if you are wanting to create a “granny flat”, you will probably need to obtain Development Approval or a Planning Permit to have more than one dwelling on an allotment.

Ignoring any of these important issues could result in you building an illegal, dangerous or hazardous building … difficult to defend and even more difficult to sell!

So before you start your carport conversion, do your homework and seek advice from an Archicentre Australia architect who is by definition independent – to assess your circumstance and set you on the proper path including consideration of statutory planning and building code requirements.