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Barn Conversions

Barn conversions make amazing places to live if the design works with the character and the existing structure, and if you’re in a position to create one of your own in the Manchester area, CK Architectural can help. If you are lucky enough to have bought a countryside building to convert into a beautiful new home, planning laws have relaxed, and it is now easier to create character rich warm homes in rural areas.

Barns vary in size but generally are long rectangular buildings, which gives us architectural designers a big job to do in making modern living spaces. With the right vision, inspiration, and skill however, it’s more than possible to create a residential marvel and form a modern, stylish and liveable building that is perfect for any lifestyle.

As expert architectural designers, we’re always working on ways to develop spaces into reaching their full potential. Contact us today for a free consultation on your own barn conversion project, and we’ll give all the information that we can on how CK Architectural Manchester can help you create a building like no other.

Design considerations

Barn Conversion Design considerations

As with all new build designs, you need to consider impact, amenity, utilities, access, services and ventilation. Then, it needs to get passed through building regulations. The size, orientation and outlook will be the key factors in designing a barn into a modern living space.

A barn is typically a long building, so through rooms are not always avoidable, but with high apex roofs you can create wonderful open mezzanines and galleries that can create amazement in any space.

Insulation will typically be formed within the fabric of the building, leaving the existing structure as external finish. All additional openings, windows and roof light will be in keeping with the original building – white PVC windows within a brick and timber structure won’t look tasteful.

Design options

When creating the right design for your barn conversion, you will need to decide how many rooms you want, and which rooms need orientating to the best outlook.

Generally, the space you have available is the size of the outer walls, with some deduction for the new insulated internals. Once the rooms are laid out, access, hallways, toilets, en-suites and the all-important glazing can be worked out.

Split levels can be a great feature too. Sometimes you can make up in height what you may not have in floor area and create an incredible design this way.

Planning permission and permitted development

Barn conversions usually face stiff opposition from the local authority and local residents because of farm building protection, open countryside development restrictions, infrastructure and sustainability etc. However, the new Barn Conversion clause authorises a change of use of a building and any land immediately surrounding it from use as an agricultural building to a dwelling. It also authorises building operations ‘reasonably’ necessary to convert the building to residential use.

The site must have been used solely for agricultural use and have existed as a barn by 20th March 2013. New barns can be built and converted into homes but must exist as solely agricultural buildings for at least 10 years. The total floor space of your barn to be converted must be no more than 450m².  If the barn is bigger, you’ll only be able to convert to a maximum of 450m². The 450m² can be divided into three separate dwellings. If there is a tenant using the building for agricultural purposes, the landowner must have their express consent to change its use. The local authority will take into consideration the impact on transport, noise, contamination, flood risk and whether the location or siting of the building is suitable to be changed from agricultural use to residential use.

Find out more about the Planning Process.

Building regulations

Barn conversions are subject to the same rules as any new build. You will need to provide the following:

  • SAP calculations, this will design the energy efficiency of the home and give requirement for insulation and heating performance.
  • Disposal of waste and drainage, access.
  • The building will need to be assessed for structural stability
  • Sound testing will be required on completion but all construction elements effecting sound need to be detailed and built in accordance with approved plans.
  • All other document of the building regulations will need to be checked via full plans approval prior to commencing.

Find out more about the Building Regulations Process.

Approved Documents:


Fire Safety

Site preparation and resistance to contaminates and moisture

Toxic Substances

Resistance to the passage of sound


Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency

Drainage and Waste Disposal

Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems

Protection from falling, collision and impact

Conservation of fuel and power

Access to and use of buildings

Glazing Safety (Withdrawn)

Electrical Safety


Building and builders

If you want a prestigious grand design, ensure that the builders you are getting quotes from have the right knowledge and experience for such a project. Do your research and don’t always go with the references they give you, it’s not hard to find out where else they may have been working. We can help with the tendering processes and provide architectural project management should you want it.

Try our new

Online Design Service

  • Free property assessment
  • Free project feasability report
  • Design your project with our experts
  • Easy self survey guide
  • Online planning applications
  • Online building regulations drawings