DIY : Garage repurposing – Dominick Ciccarelli – Medium

Finding an already used space in home to repurpose is tough. The repurposing requires a bit of creativity. Adding a couch or a television to the garage does not transform it in a new place. Dominick Ciccarelli, licensed architect with New York City’s Department of Buildings advises the homeowners to consider the budget and the area before you begin with the change.

A home needs to have enough space to allow you to build on your garage or improve it. Before you go and build the new conversion make sure that it is not an illegal conversion.

Examples of illegal conversions include:

  • If you are using the property specifically zoned for the use of manufacturing or industry for residential occupancy, the conversion will be an illegal conversion.
  • Creation of a proper housing unit in a building designated for industrial use
  • Adding an illegal apartment in the basement, attic or garage without obtaining permits and approval from the New York City’s Department of Buildings
  • Creation of a rooming house or a single room occupancy or dividing the apartment in single room occupancies.

Each New York area has its own zoning laws. To make sure that your conversion is not illegal, call a registered licensed architect to file the permits and plans and receive NYC Buildings Department approval.

Why are illegal conversions harmful?

While it is quite difficult to get permits and approval on plans, illegal conversion will harm you more in long run. Illegal conversions are serious concerns for the occupants of the buildings. If you do not get permit on your conversion, you are not complying to the fire codes and the building code of NYC. The illegal conversions can also reduce the quality of the life of the home if done wrongly.

Does your home has an illegal conversion?

  • Do you have a bedroom in the cellar? This is illegal as the cellar has at least half its height underground.
  • Does your home has a converted room in the attic?
  • Does your converted garage get electricity through an extension cord?
  • Do you have to lock your converted garage room with a padlock?

Remember, before you convert the garage in man cave or office or even a bedroom, look for any kinds of red flags. According to the housing expert Dominick Ciccarelli, a sudden inspection by Department of Buildings (DOB) can lead to huge fines.


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