Make your dream home come true: convert a barn into a house

Old barns have their very own charm and bring many great prerequisites for the conversion into living space. The robust construction, the high load-bearing capacity of the intermediate floors and above all: Large, open rooms that can be divided into living space at will, giving space for your ideas. You can find out what you need to consider when converting a barn into a residential house, which permits are required and many other tips and tricks in our guide.

Obtain building permit

Before you can rush into your housing project, you should check whether it is possible to obtain a building permit and thus also convert the barn into living space. There are 3 possible scenarios:

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  • The barn is part of the local development plan
  • The barn is located in a district without a development plan
  • The barn is outside

Zoning plan

The development plan shows whether your barn is located in a village, mixed or commercial area. Most barns are part of village or mixed areas, here a conversion of the barn to living space is usually not an obstacle. If, on the other hand, the barn is located in a purely commercial area, this can lead to problems with obtaining a building permit.

Districts without a development plan

In districts without a development plan, the provisions of § 34 BauGB apply . Similar to districts with a development plan, the structural use of the area in which the barn is located is important for the conversion to living space. If no clear classification is possible, the so-called "insertion requirement " applies in such areas. As long as your project blends in well with the surrounding buildings, nothing stands in the way of obtaining a building permit.

Outside barns

In the outskirts of localities, agricultural and forestry businesses in particular have privileged building rights. A change of use is also possible here in principle. However, it is more difficult to secure the development in outside areas than in the interior of the town. In outdoor areas, there must also be no impairment of public interests, such as nature conservation, for a change in use.

It is not possible to convert a barn into living space without a permit. In some cases, the previous owner of the building has already applied for a change of use and has this entered in the land register. In these cases, you can proceed with the interior work of the barn without further approval. However, if you make structural changes to the outer shell, such as installing new windows, you will need a building permit in this case as well.

Basic preparations

So that you can implement your ideas, there are a few basic things to consider before converting the barn:

  • Development: The barn must be connected to the electricity, water, sewage, road and telephone network in order to be used as living space.
  • Pay special attention to the roof structure: In order to meet the regulations regarding noise and fire protection, as well as the guidelines of the EnEV, you may have to reinforce the roof structure or even completely renew it. Plan in time as well as financially.
  • External walls and statics: Also pay attention to the load-bearing capacity of the external walls. If the roof structure is reinforced, the outer walls must be able to carry the greater load and dissipate the forces that act.
  • Heat and sound insulation: old barns are, so to speak, still completely "naked ". When converting, think about the appropriate thermal insulation and soundproofing measures.

When building the interior of the barn, only your creativity sets the limits of what is possible. Old barns offer ideal conditions, especially for lovers of open living concepts.