Jonathans Blog
blog12 06/11/2011

August 2018

Crazy but true. Building materials increase in pricing
The price of materials has increased the last 2 months. 
Insulation is about an increase of 30%.

July 2018

Incredibly busy. Ten conversions are booked. However still some jobbing builders telling prospects you don't need planning. Are they Planning Officers? No, so don't accept what Builders say. Check with Jonathan.

June 2018 - Actually 29th May

Today I had a drive around an estate in Wokingham and was surprised at the number of conversions that have been undertaken without thought to the window line matching to the existing. The Builders undertaking such conversions have opted for a cheap route probably proposing the lintel over the garage door can't be lifted. It looks rubbish.

 May 2018

Have spent my evenings in May to date, updating our Guide To Converting your garage. It's not a sales document it's an educational document that covers some of the most important issues you should know about. Most important is planning permissions and how builders quote.

April 2018

So very busy at the moment. Particularly brick matching! Also pleased to announce that Matt is back with us after a break of some 6 months. Currently we have 12 Conversions booked for the coming months with 7 of them coming from referrals. Must keep this Blog up to date every month. 

November 2017

It happens a lot - Competitors using our photographs of work we have undertaken on their web site suggesting they undertook the work. I'm pleased in one way that they they used our photographs suggesting "the brilliant brick match we achieved" but I feel this is cheating and misleading prospective Clients of theirs. We undertook a Companies House search and found this particular company was struck off anyway in August 2017.

September 2017 Dust Management

Hands up, who wants to work in a dirty, dusty environment - you wouldn't expect a big show of hands. So now explain why such conditions are willingly accepted by home-owners when even a basic level of site house-keeping and investment could eliminate much of this nuisance and make life more bearable for you and your family.

I’ve spoken to many people who have had builders in their homes and I am astonished by the comments they have made when questioned about Health and Safety and in particular dust control.

Mention the words HEALTH & SAFETY and the majority of Builders will go into raptures about some ridiculous regulation or 'job's worth' and invariably miss the point.  A poorly set up site and unplanned work puts you at risk from trips, slips and accidents and serious dust hazards.

A professional Company will take measures that eliminates slips trips and hazards and has in its processes and of huge importance - managing dust hazards. Dust can cost you your HEALTH

We've all heard about the issues of dust in the mining industry and how the effects only surface much later in life. There's plenty of dust-related health risks in today's construction environment with the same potential long-lasting consequences which can affect you and your family, whatever the work or indeed the duration of the work.


Ask us for our Dust management programme

 June 2017

Yet again we are seeing prospective Clients been told that no planning is required for conversions without checking with the local authority. We have seen also past part conversions undertaken without Building Control approval. It's not right. A conversion requires Building Regulations.

April 2017

Our referal rate has never been higher. We are working to 3 generation referals.

March 2017

At last a Face book page

March 2017

We are so, so busy. Just secured a major conversion in Caversham. More than a double garage into snooker and games room. It is requiring steel supports under large pitched roof and it's complex and our attention to detail with the Client won us the work.

Feb 2017

Undertaking another garage conversion in Sonning Common, after a referral from another satisfied Client in Sonning Common. Again a conversion of the garage to a kitchen with roof lights. We have a wonderful team who will complete in three weeks.

December 2016

We have updated our Guide To Converting Your Garage this month.  Version 11

October 2016

This year to date will see us complete 55 conversions in and around Berkshire and Surrey ranging from part conversions to extended garages into kitchens and bathrooms. 

August 2016

In August this year we partnered with AEDIS a national and independent specialist in Building Control and compliance. This partnership allows us have pre- approvals, guaranteeing sign off for your project. Glyn Lyon is our Building Control inspector for all your Conversions. 

Feb 2016

The year has started well for us with January seeing 5 Clients appointing us for conversions during January and to mid February.  

December 2015

We need a rest and have closed for business during the last two weeks in December, anyway who wants construction work whilst putting up the Christmas tree!

October 2015

If you have the time to read many of my Blogs in the past, you will have seen that a number of so called garage Conversion Companies have copied my photographs and used them on their web sites. Yet again!!  this October we have challenged, as to what I can only describe as a "trader" using our photographs. This time we are going legal, because they are proposing to prospective Clients - end users, that they have undertaken Conversions that they have not.  

September 2015

Another Delighted Client - Wokingham. I am so proud to show this - Its The County Garage Conversions Experience.

Hi Sharon , Jonathan. Thanks for the receipt. We are very happy with everything and really cannot commend your team highly enough for their professional and courteous manner. Whilst always a very stressful process having workmen in the house with children around, they have taken every opportunity to chat with the children, explain what they're doing and have been so friendly. Please do thank them all very much from us!

Best wishes,Sarah 

New Appointment

I am delighted to announce that Mark Cossey our Building Manager, of some 5 years, has now been appointed as a Director of County Garage Conversions Ltd. Mark fully deserves this position. A genuine asset to the company in Client interfacing and ensuring your project is to plan. Congratulations Mark.


August 20th

We love what we do and so it seems that our Clients children do as well. We recieved a wonderful drawing for young Abigail "Dear Mark, Matty and Fred thank you for building our new playroom. Will publish this wonderful picture in due course.

Late August 2015

Having visited some 9 home owners late this month we gained valuable feedback.

"Asked 3 companies to visit me - only you responded" "Non of the other Companies sent a quotation except you" "Other than you, all the Builders only had a mobile phone contact number"


August 2015

Our best year ever. Even from April this year, were we received more referrals than ever. It's rather frustrating because many of these referrals are outside of our practical geographical area. We have had referrals Clients from Essex, the south coast and even Birmingham. 


April 2015

Sorry for delays in my update of our Blog. We are experiencing unprecedented  demand for our services and much of our work is coming from referrals.

17th July 2014

Our conversion to a kitchen plan is working well for us and helping our customers reduce investment. We have a great way of providing a brand new kitchen and garage conversion together with removal and re-use of the old kitchen with every thing planned to ensure a smooth transition.

We now have kitchen designers totally independent of the big stores and trade suppliers allowing to offer  better designs and reduced costs. 


12th July2014

Our Guide To Converting Your Garage is proving very popular. I hope that it raises questions that you didn't even to think to ask in the first place. Email us for your Copy it could save you £100s!

June 2014

I'm well overdue in updating my blog but we are so, so busy. This month we have seen our best referral month ever. 13 projects are booked which is wonderful news. Jonathan

April 2014

We are nearing completion of our latest major garage conversion. It's a double garage conversion to create a new kitchen and living area for John and his family, We have undertaken everything from planning drawings, designing the kitchen, down to final floor laying and painting and even have had to raise the roof level. This project shows our complete service capabilities and great project management capabilities. All on budget - our fixed price quotation.    Jonathan.

PS don't forget to ask us for our guide to converting your garage.

March 2014

It's so easy to get quotes for garage conversions but it is more difficult to ensure you are entering into an agreement with a reputable Company. An example of this is we recently won a new contract for  double garage conversion. It was a complex project. Other vendors offered prices and simply listed their work. In comparison, County Garage Conversions produced a scaled drawing which allowed the Client to understand the available living space and we further suggested new plans that would make their life easier. It's again The County Garage Conversions Experience.


Feb 2014

We really do try to educate and help our prospective Clients understand what our true value is to them and how we take the risk away from the project. It is a unique experience.

It seems to be reflect the business we are winning - we have 11 clients to undertake conversions for between now and April 2014

Jan 2014

Just a note to thank Shirley and Robin for their business.Conversion to new kitchen. You were a great Client. Thank you also for the wonderful reference you have given us.

4th October 2013.

We have now completed 320 garage conversions and have a real insight to the concerns families have when choosing a contractor. We know this  because we have undertaken surveys to ask our Clients. I don't believe any other Company in our industry has undertaken this type of detailed survey. The top 3 concerns where : 1) Will they be on site every day. 2) Will I end up paying extra and 3) how do I know what I am paying for. These are valid concerns and we have eliminated these concerns by instigating the "County Garage Conversions Experience" Just ask us, email us, why we really do believe we are the best in our industry. Jonathan

1st  October 2013.

I have just updated A Guide To Converting Your Garage. Its available in a PDF file. Just email me for your copy

12th September

Read the small print in your quotation.

It’s so easy to get carried away in your enthusiasm  to get the ball rolling and move ahead with your chosen Contractor but stop !!  Have your really read the quotation and small print? So often the small print and sometimes even the quotation is open to interpretation and so reveals much about the contractor. Recently we came a across a competitors quote  which for example did not specify the grade of window, did not include the insulation thickness and  put in a disclaimer that if the Local Authority building control officer wanted to change the specifications, the client would be responsible for the costs!! – the main issue is the Quote did not include the specification, so this low cost quote could and probably will end up more than the original quote, by how much? who knows, except the Contractor, and this is a major garage conversion company!!! Jonathan

Always ensure you have a scope of works that specifies the building work to be done, in detail. Don’t accept terms in the small print, that suggest if the Building Control Officer requires a change in specification you will be responsible for additional costs – YOU will pay a high price.

1st September

Yet more referrals have resulted in us having 9 conversions to undertake between now and mid October. 

22nd August

We just love new home developers! New released 4 bedroom homes had total floor space of 102SqM of which a massive 28 SqM is the garage!! The largest individual "room in the House"

1st August

I dont believe it. After tackling rouge traders using my completed projects photographs today I have had to address an issue wherby a Company has created an off shoot operation with a name County Garage I guess its a compliment really in trying to associate with a Company that really has got a great brand and is known for quality of work. Anyway its still not cricket. Jonathan

29th July 2013

You may have read in previous posts about the number of other Companies using pictures of our own completed work on thier web sites. As expected, its happened again, and its copyright infringement. They have been asked to remove the picture within 24 hours. Its annoying that a business can  show completed projects knowing it's not thier work, its underhand and fraudulent. The annoying part is that it can cost us money to prove the infringement.

15th July 2013

Its mid July and we have 5 new conversions to undertake between now and the end of August. I have decided to expand our team, once again, to cope with our expansion. We are also ensuring our back-up in the office remains efficient and we now have both Sharon full time and Rosie, part time working with us. 

21st May 2013

We always propose prospective clients see our previous work.  Many thanks to our past Clients for showing our prospective clients our work. This has resulted in winning 6 new Clients in the last 6 weeks.

Thanks, Jonathan

April 5th 2013

I'm well overdue in updating my blog. We are just so busy. Since my last Blog we have converted 15 garages. Its taking it toll and have decided to employ a new junior member to join us.

October 2012
Whilst we rave and all read about how the web is changing the way we buy products I would never believe that a company could risk issuing a quotation for a garage conversion via a web site without even seeing the works. Yet it's happened!  The "quote" is given on size of the conversion NOT the specification required to meet with building regulations - there must be a hell of a contingency margin in thier quotes!!
And why would you accept a quote from a builder you had never met.

29th September 2012
Whilst a number of companies offer credit facilities beware the APR's charged are very often excessive 

15th September 2012
Whilst many Building Companies are struggling in the current economic climate at County Garage Conversions Ltd we have 9 conversions to complete before Christmas. As our reputation grows, so do our  referral levels increase, from past delighted Clients.

28th August 2012
Yet again! Some of you may have followed by previous Blogs regarding other so called garage conversion companies using our photographs purporting to be thier own work. It's becoming rather boring as we have now seen the 5th company (jobbing builder) use our photographs. On this occasion we have decided to take direct legal action as this practice is totally misleading the consumer.

23rd August 2012
A new flooring solution! On many occasions there is a need for laying a screed floor rather than a floating timber floor. The problem with a screed floor is that it take a considerable time to dry meaning our clients cannot lay the final  flooring for some weeks. The drying time is calculated at 1mm per day that means a full drying time of  some 55 days minimum. However we have recently tested an additive that was introduced to the commercial building market last year and and we can now lay a screed floor with a drying time of just 2 days!!

14th August 2012
We are now 2 weeks into one of the largest projects we have undertaken - a conversion with extensions to both rear and front together with forming a new pitched roof. We designed and planned the project, with Clients input, and gained Local authority planning approval. All of this was undertaken in-house without the need for outside Architects, which considerably reduced the Clients outlay. 

30th July 2012

We know it is difficult for home owners to understand the build process for a garage conversion and in particular to compare like for like quotes. If you don't have sufficient detail it's almost impossible to compare. You may have read within other pages of our web site that we undertake all our own Building Regulations documentation and so we have decided to include these in all our detailed quotations. We hope this helps you choose the right Company!

12th July
Hard work and great customer service pays off!  We are proud to announce we have now opened a new branch office in Wiltshire. Vince Boyle joins us this month and is responsible for business in Wiltshire and part of Avon. Vince will be supported by our technical team and our in-house planning services as required. 

30th May 2012
We have been undertaking a survey of our competition recently, based upon a Google search (national and Local) with additional  searches against a number of companies who purport to be dedicated garage conversion companies. The results where surprising. The fact is that there are just a handful of Companies in the whole of the UK  who are dedicated just to converting garages. So many web sites suggest they are garage conversion Companies but when "digging" deeper we find they are really are only a general builder. On the lighter side of this confusion, we found one garage conversion Company (Only garage conversions, that's what they state) had been given an award for their quality of work - they then showed the certificate on their web site for a two story extension!!

May has been a particular busy month for us, completing 5 conversions. 

19th May 2012
Just some more advice for you when seeking quotations, Sorry if its sound obvious but never use a Company that operates from a mobile phone only. You need to know there is office back-up, or at minimum, the home number of your builder or service provider. Mobiles are a great asset but when you are spending £8000 upwards why trust someone who only has a mobile as their main point of contact.

10th May 2012
We wrote  in our Blog,earlier this year, about other  Companies using  photographs of Garage Conversions we have undertaken, purporting to be their own work. Yet again we have found 3 Companies using our photographs, we believe this is because they have insufficient examples of work undertaken by themselves. We have changed the rules now and are   sending out a legal summons of copyright infringement. Yet these same Companies are supported by such organisations that are promoted by Local Authorities.

3rd May 2012
Just wanted to buck the trend with so many web sites and jobbing builders suggesting planning is not required for garage conversions. The fact is the majority of conversions for houses built after the 1970 do.
Many properties have their permitted development rights removed. If this is the case we have to go through planning for a change of consent. Don't accept builders suggestions planning is not required. Just call us and we can advise you with no obligation.

6th March 2012
Here is a real challenge - If you receive a quotation from another garage conversion company that is lower  priced than ours, has the same guarantees and same specification and is supported by a Contract we will match that price and refund 10% of the difference!!!

9th Feb 2012 - Launch of our kitchen design and install
Over the years we have converted many garages to new kitchen and have advised clients on prospective suppliers and educated them on the need for good planning. Consequently we have worked with many kitchen suppliers and fitters. However in constantly expanding our in-house team we have now appointed Mark Cossey to our team to undertake full design and installations to our normal high standards. We have a range of 35 inspirational kitchen to choose from as well as a host of accessories.We will be posting a new page on our site very soon.

Feb 2012 - We don't ask for testimonials  but many of our Clients do send their comments to us. Thanks to Di and Colin for this recent comment on our work
If you are looking for someone that it is passionate and dedicated to creating the space that you want, as you are, then look no further than Jonathan and his team.From our first meeting we knew that County Garage Conversions was the Company for us, and they have exceeded our expectation. Jonathan passion to create what you want, a room that you will love, is second to none. He has great vision and helped us to make the use of the space available by offering us excellent advice and ideas based on years of experience. So we now have a room that we absolutley love and that has transformed the way we live. It was such a pleasure to have the team in our home. Not only was their workmanship top notch, but they were personable, with a nothing is too much trouble attitude. They arrived when they said they would, did exactly said they would and every night left our home clean and tidy, inside and out. These guys knew exactly what they were doing and completed it to the highest standards. This is a professional and slickly run team that really does take an interest in what you want and takes pride in what they achieve
Di and Colin

Copy Cats
All our photos are copyrighted. Anyone using our photos is subject to copyright laws.
As you can guess I am not happy with some "cheap jobbing builder" using our photos. I have contacted a particular web site to demand  these photos are removed. Lets see what happens.

January 2012.
Going Open Plan. Many prospective clients we meet with are clearly looking for additional living space and understandably see converting the garage as the best route. However we encourage home owners to look beyond the standard doorway entrance, 4 walls and a window by discussing options that can truly create a more contemporary look. Typically this could mean extending the opening to the garage from the house creating an open plan look. Another option is opening the rear of the garage up to create a wonderful overview of the garden by installing french doors or  better still sliding french doors. Many of the options we try to offer do not make the project expensive. Some imagination can change the whole outlook of a home. In January we will have completed 2 such projects and will be posting the photographs on our site.

A Lesson In How Some Builders Operate
We recently quoted a prospective Client and initially the Client choose a general builder to do the work. Their reasoning was that the Builder had told them planning was not required. Our detailed quotation showed costs for the planing application and cost of drawings. They implied  that we did not know our business  as 2 of  their neighbours had undertaken conversions  and not submitted planning and so thought we were making unnecessary money from them. After a rather drawn out story, we did win their business, the 2 conversions to the neighbours property - by the same Builder!  were not legal, had no planning granted and had no Building Certificates. The sad part of this episode is that the Builder knows he is not responsible as the local authority states "it is up to the house owner to establish if planning is required or not"  Even sadder is the fact that one of the home owners does not have sufficient parking spaces left after converting the garage. That is going to be one expensive mistake. 

November 2011
In October we really did expect a downturn in business with the current uncertainties in the economy.
However, as last year, our enquiry rate remained consistent and with our unique guarantees clients have  continued to choose us over our competitors.

Thanks for Client Feed Back
Many of our prospective Clients have asked us to show more photographs of the completed internal works.
We are embarking on a photo campaign in December to upgrade our site.

This may-be a Record
In a cul-de-sac of just 40 houses we have completed 3 Garage Conversions in just 18 months. It shows Client references for undertaking exceptional work speaks volumes. 

With our keen interest in quality and detail just had to share this site with you- nothing to do with building whatsoever

There is so much more we should placing on our Blog but with our workload I just don't seem to find the time. With this in mind Sharon, our Company Secretary had proposed to undertake some of the workload.
Is there a name for this in our IT world - blogmistress?


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