Barn Conversions Bristol

At Bristol Group Services, we have the skills and expertise to turn that run-down old barn in your dream home. Get in touch today and let us help make your barn conversion dream a reality.

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    7 Common Challenges with Barn Conversions & How to Overcome Them

    It can be the ultimate blend of modern living and enjoying something of old: A barn conversion.

    But this is a unique project. Even if you’ve done home conversions or extensions before, a barn conversion calls for some unique skill and talent if you want a smooth process & successful outcome.

    Here you’ll find all you need to know to start off well and finish with a smile.

    What’s Possible?

    If you haven’t thought of this, I just want you to realise what’s possible. A barn conversion company can transform one of these buildings into something quite spectacular:

    • A barn situated in a rural area can become the perfect getaway home.
    • Their large spaces are ideal for big families or if you need space to work; yes a barn an become your office
    • The open spaces usually associated with barns are perfect for avid gardeners

    So why haven’t you considered this option yet?

    Before you start let’s help you circumvent the biggest challenges.

    Let’s Counter Those Challenges

    Are You Allowed to Convert the Barn?

    Don’t even start with any plans unless you’ve sorted out the legalities. Don’t assume any barn you see a ‘For Sale’ sign on can become your new home. You’ll have to contact authorities and discuss facts:

    • Some barns have historical value, and changes to the structure won’t be allowed.
    • Barns often need to be used for agricultural purposes for a certain number of years before they’re allowed to be recommissioned.
    • Listed buildings have building restrictions which you’ll need to adhere to.
    • Your perfect barn and the surrounds may be home to wild animals. You’ll need to ask permission to remove them or to build near their habitat

    Can you still realise your dream within the confines of these guidelines? Then let’s continue.

    Balancing Preferences and Requirements

    Can you handle the balancing act when converting a barn into a house? You may have creative ideas, but the guidelines mentioned above or practical reasoning may keep you from doing exactly what you want:

    • If regulations prevent you from adding more windows, you’ll have to make do with light paint to draw in the light.
    • Your renovation ideas may not be practical when an architect evaluates the structure and supporting walls.
    • Your preferred colour scheme may not match the existing brick or wood that you’re not allowed to cover up.

    You can see that long-term planning is your priority before you start spending any money. Will you realise your dream with the barn you found or must the search continue?

    The Budget

    So now you’ve found the perfect building. Let’s help you manage that budget from the start, so your dream doesn’t get shattered by unforeseen barn conversion cost.

    Financing an existing building differs from a new building. It gets even more complicated when you have to insure both old and new parts if you’re lucky enough to add some extensions.

    When you draw up your extensive budget for the project of converting a barn the items below will each add to your list of expenses.

    One option is to go DIY. Many of the repairs may be done by your you and your family with minor assistance from an architect or barn conversion contractor.

    Is it Strong Enough?

    Not all barns are the strong stone buildings you see on TV. A barn could be extremely picturesque but not built to live in. It may have been enough to keep some wind off the animals it was built for, but that doesn’t mean it will be snug and cosy for your children in the midst of a winter storm.

    Is it Insulated?

    Even if it will stand chances are it will never be warm enough or protect you from summer’s heat if you don’t insulate it. A building constructed for animals or storage won’t have the normal insulation houses have.

    Your challenge will be to get this done without changing too much of the structure. Can you place insulation behind cladding perhaps?

    How Practical is it?

    What will you use it for and does it have all the amenities you need? Chances are it doesn’t since barns aren’t designed for comfort. This means you’ll have some additional effort connecting it to main power and plumbing lines, much different than conversions involving other buildings.

    You’ll have some expenses employing plumbers and electricians, but I want to challenge you towards an alternative solution. You can be one step ahead of the rest of society and go green during your barn conversion.

    Next to building a brand new building, a barn conversion presents you with the perfect chance to promote greener living for you and your family:

    • Instead of only insulating the roof you can turn it into a green roof where plants grow. As a bonus, it will help maintain the interior temperature and will add that rugged look a barn should have.
    • When you install light fittings ensure that they’re appropriate for LED globes.
    • Instead of picking an ordinary geyser system why not add solar panels?

    You’re going to pay for changes anyway so why not pick the most environmentally friendly option? The bonus is that green buildings will have more market value when you sell it in future.

    How Dark is It?

    Do you think the light is a priority when constructing a barn? Not likely. Glass is expensive, and there’s no real use for it. So you’ll have to figure out how to make your barn lose its dungeon look.

    Building restrictions may limit how much you can change so you’ll need to install enough artificial light sources. But here’s a handy tip: If you can make some adjustments pick one large window rather than a few small ones. It’s less effort and chances are you’ll get permission easier.


    It’s every child’s dream: sleeping in a barn. And why should that dream end? You can create a lovely home—or office—and live your dream every day. But take care along the way. You don’t want your dream turning into a nightmare.

    Are you ready to start your barn conversion project?

    Bristol Group Services can assist clients across the South West including Bristol, Bath, Wells, Glastonbury, Frome, Trowbridge, Shepton Mallet and beyond. If you’d like to learn more about our barn conversion services, request a quote by clicking the button below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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