Building a teaching room

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I've been a private guitar tutor for a number of years now( next year will be a decade) and I've been using the front room in my house. No one has ever complained about it and in fact it provides a relaxed informal atmosphere so not to scare or intimidate learners.

However as I've progressed through the years and improved my service with branding, equipment and quality of tuition at some stage I will need to expand my teaching space. I have a garage at the back of the house but its totally empty, no electricity supply, no actual door to lock it up and its just sitting there.

What would I need to have done and how much would I be looking at approx to get it kitted out to be a teaching room? Basic things would be electricity mains, soundproofing and a secure door. 

I know a mate that has a similar sized garage for storage and stuff, he said builders quoted £8k to do his garage.
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  • Heat insulation, ventilation.
    Don't attract council attention.
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • I'd have to apply for planning permission though wouldn't I? Surely I can't just go and build a studio on my tod
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  • I'd have to apply for planning permission though wouldn't I? Surely I can't just go and build a studio on my tod
    If you're converting a garage there's no particular reason to rattle the council's cage over it. What will rile them more than anything else is the notion that you're using it for "business purposes" and not paying business rates. Paying business rates would mean you pay out more than you get in lesson fees so don't even go there.
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • What about the neighbours? To be fair the ones on one side of us make more noise than we do and its not like I'm playing drums anyway, so they can do one!
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  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 683
    The rules changed recently for garage conversions. Check the planning portal interactive house to see if you need permission but I think they are generally exempt now. 

    Anything below 12 sq mtrs will also be exempt from Building Control providing you are not making structural alterations. Make sure you get all the electrical and gas certification (if applicable) so your house insurance is still valid.  

    As for cost of the conversion, I've done a couple of these for clients -  as an architectural designer - the last of which was around the £10k mark. 

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  • Still going to have to inform the council though? I was told an Indian bloke tried to wrangle past to build a garage thing and was told to knock it down after they found out. 

    If I’m using the garage for a business apparently the insurance would be separate?
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  • You should have a business insurance policy wherever it takes place.  Is this your primary income, or just a sideline?
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  • Does MU public liability insurance count? It would primary for now until I can find something else to sit alongside.
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  • I reckon the MU insurance would be fine.  Looking at the bigger picture though, unless your business will expand significantly then I'd be inclined to keep it low key.  By all means speak to an accountant and put some of your bills against tax but building a 'proper' facility seems excessive.  If you have capacity, why not approach local schools to offer your services?  You'd need a DBS check but that's pretty simple nowadays.  
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  • I'm not sure where it'll end up in a few years but I do intend to keep it low key anyway.

    I can see costs exceeding £10k including total jobs to be done along with possible insurance and stuff.

    I've tried the school thing but a) no one ever gets back to me and b) the pay is rubbish for small groups

    I already have a DBS I sorted out years ago.
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  • You'll have to self promote the school thing.  Just ask if they would provide some space at lunchtime or after school.  See if they would send out some flyers with their newsletter, or let you put something on a noticeboard.  If they're reluctant, offer to play at an assembly just to get your foot in the door.  Go for 1 to 1 rather than groups.
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  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 683
    If you are converting an existing garage to habitable space I don't think you'll need any permission*. If you are building something new you will.

    *Sometimes local rules prevent PD so always best to speak to your local planning authority and be up front with what it is you want to do. 
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  • uncledick said:
    You'll have to self promote the school thing.  Just ask if they would provide some space at lunchtime or after school.  See if they would send out some flyers with their newsletter, or let you put something on a noticeboard.  If they're reluctant, offer to play at an assembly just to get your foot in the door.  Go for 1 to 1 rather than groups.
    I’ve had a listing in one local school’s brochure thingy but not a single enquiry. It’s been active for 2 years. I did ask about setting up for an out of school lessons type lessons but no such luck.

    i think the key hiring times are around September when the academic year starts so I’ve missed it most probably.
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  • Fuengi said:
    If you are converting an existing garage to habitable space I don't think you'll need any permission*. If you are building something new you will.

    *Sometimes local rules prevent PD so always best to speak to your local planning authority and be up front with what it is you want to do. 
    Well I’d rather not be pulled up on it in the future if they discover I’ve been using it as a business premises.

    There’s so many things to sort out, and I’m figuring out which order to do them in:


    • Design/layout of the room
    • Planning permission from council 
    • Electricity supply
    • Heating and insulation
    • Soundproofing
    • Insurance 
    • Floor 
    • Doors and security 

    Is there anything else?
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  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 683
    A few garage conversion checks:

    If you're raising the floor up with insulation how does that affect your ceiling height?

    Does the roof need any alterations?

    Are you adding new windows, if so include trickle ventilation and openers which will serve on hot days.

    If you insulate correctly you will save on heating. 

    One other thing occurs to me: will the conversation of this garage affect your car parking? If the garage is at the back of your house presumably there is parking in front / along the side? 

    This is something the local authority may ask - is there still sufficient parking on the site. 
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  • I haven't actually measured the dimensions of the garage yet, and I don't know if the roof needs altering.

    As the garage is at the back you have to go down a side alley to access the garages, there is parking spaces outside the front of the house.
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  • ricorico Frets: 910
    Surely you’re just creating a space for you to play guitar in? It’s just a coincidence that it’s preferable to using the front room for playing guitar with others...
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3616
    Your kind of over thinking it .... your gonna teach in it, not live in it ...... that's 2 separate things.... Electric and a solid door is what you would expect in any garage anyway

    I did mine, to a standard that was soundproof so I could record loud guitars late at night. This meant a lot more material than you would need (only thing that stops sound is mass) . I also converted a mates to a similar man cave for his guitars

    Basically I did the following

    Made good any holes in the walls and roof

    Ripped out old window and door and replaced with well measured UPVC 

    Battened the walls and insulated the walls and roof with acoustic grade Rockwool

    Then a vapour barrier, then lined the walls and ceiling with plasterboard

    Built false floor with vapour barrier 

    Many builders will want to run the cable behind the plasterboard so they can cut into the plasterboard and use flush fitting pattresses for the electrics ... this looks neater but it will degrade the performance of the plasterboard in terms of it's thermal and acoustic performance. For best results surface mount sockets and put wire in conduit 

    In terms of cost your probably talking about 1.8K in materials for a basic single garage and 2 weeks labour so probably around 4K for builders to do it in total 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • rico said:
    Surely you’re just creating a space for you to play guitar in? It’s just a coincidence that it’s preferable to using the front room for playing guitar with others...
    Yes but I’m going go to be earning money from it and all the malark with tax and insurance.
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  • Danny1969 said:
    Your kind of over thinking it .... your gonna teach in it, not live in it ...... that's 2 separate things.... Electric and a solid door is what you would expect in any garage anyway

    I did mine, to a standard that was soundproof so I could record loud guitars late at night. This meant a lot more material than you would need (only thing that stops sound is mass) . I also converted a mates to a similar man cave for his guitars

    Basically I did the following

    Made good any holes in the walls and roof

    Ripped out old window and door and replaced with well measured UPVC 

    Battened the walls and insulated the walls and roof with acoustic grade Rockwool

    Then a vapour barrier, then lined the walls and ceiling with plasterboard

    Built false floor with vapour barrier 

    Many builders will want to run the cable behind the plasterboard so they can cut into the plasterboard and use flush fitting pattresses for the electrics ... this looks neater but it will degrade the performance of the plasterboard in terms of it's thermal and acoustic performance. For best results surface mount sockets and put wire in conduit 

    In terms of cost your probably talking about 1.8K in materials for a basic single garage and 2 weeks labour so probably around 4K for builders to do it in total 
    I can’t see it costing less than £5k. As mentioned above it’s literally bricks and mortar. No heating or insulation, no electric supply, nothing. I’ll grab some photos of it later and show you. I reckon the floorboard needs doing too. 

    Another concern is making profit back from lessons to pay back the cost of doing it up. As any guitar tutor will know it’s a very unpredictable climate where someone can quit with no warning.
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 443
    edited November 2017
    Some photos of the garage were taken earlier just can’t upload via my iPad for some reason.


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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 443
    edited November 2017
    Front of the garage, as you can see there’s no door:



    Inside of the garage, its literally bricks and mortar, floor needs doing:



    I have a lot of space, there's a door on the other side but I would change it that for a more secure one.


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  • Some things I found out about teaching room layout.
    1. You need a seat for a parent as well as a seat for your pupil and maybe a seat for a sibling or a place to put a baby carrier
    2. I found swivelling office seats with no arms are best for you and pupil. Any kind of fairly comfy chair will do for parents.
    3. Your pupil's seat needs to be between yours and the door, so as not to give the impression that you could try to stop them leaving if they wanted to.
    4. If they bring portable music storage devices you need suitable connectors to your stereo kit of a length that will reach from your input plug as far as the pupil's seat. If they bring (eg) Rockschool CDs they usually don't mind handing the disc over to you to put in your CD player.

    Sorry if that's so basic as to be beneath your own experience.

    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • ricorico Frets: 910
    edited December 2017
    Watch this for inspiration




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  • Some things I found out about teaching room layout.
    1. You need a seat for a parent as well as a seat for your pupil and maybe a seat for a sibling or a place to put a baby carrier
    2. I found swivelling office seats with no arms are best for you and pupil. Any kind of fairly comfy chair will do for parents.
    3. Your pupil's seat needs to be between yours and the door, so as not to give the impression that you could try to stop them leaving if they wanted to.
    4. If they bring portable music storage devices you need suitable connectors to your stereo kit of a length that will reach from your input plug as far as the pupil's seat. If they bring (eg) Rockschool CDs they usually don't mind handing the disc over to you to put in your CD player.

    Sorry if that's so basic as to be beneath your own experience.

    No worries, attention to the small details are always good! Though I don't actually have many children as students contrary to popular belief, 90% of my learners are aged 16 and above, only 1 parent ever sits in the room with their child during a lesson.


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  • rico said:
    Watch this for inspiration




    Wow, he pretty much had the same starting point as I currently have, just a basic garage with literally nothing in there.

    But he was handy with bricks and wood so he only had to pay for the materials as he pretty much built it himself, whereas I have no knowledge of building work.

    I have noted the fact he built "a room-within-a-room" which is something I'll have to do and put a new roof and insulate it.

    I would love to get a set up similar to what he did, though I'm not a drums tutor but the job he did on the soundproofing was great.

    The end result is totally worth it and it does give me some hope, costs aside!
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3616
    I built this room for less than 4K in materials, as I said basic timber, plasterboard etc is quite cheap ... the rooms too big to fit in a photo .... it was built as free standing, room within a room design





    As was this control room 




    Here's my old converted garage, I only took a few photos while doing it ... mine was worse than yours I think when I started. First thing I did was block up the doors with concrete blocks














    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • Yeah as you can see from the photos I've literally got to start from scratch. But I don't need as much stuff in there as you do like the mixing desk and drum kit. Its totally doable but as I said before I'm not a labourer and haven't got a clue how to do it myself.

    I do however know a couple of people who do bricklaying type stuff so I could possibly call on a favour if I can source the materials for around £4k like you say. I just have a feeling its going to cost more than that in total and there's a risk I might not pay it off with the lessons that are to come after.
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  •  I just have a feeling its going to cost more than that
    Most engineering jobs take twice as long and cost twice as much
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  •  I just have a feeling its going to cost more than that
    Most engineering jobs take twice as long and cost twice as much
    Yeah if I knew how to do it myself and it only would cost £4k in total I'd do it tomorrow but I don't.
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