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BBC Garage Conversion, Hale Barns

Project completed: August 2011

What Happened?

In August 2011, Granada Home Improvements were approached by the producers of the BBC Two and CBBC childrens series "I Want My Own Room!" to convert a garage for their show.

10 year old Dean's dream was for a dedicated music studio to practice his piano. The goal was to convert an existing garage into a comfortable space for Dean by the end of Sunday night.

However this was to be far from an ordinary garage conversion! We had only the weekend to fully convert the garage and to have it ready for decorating and furnishing. We were going to have to work through the night to get this job done in time, not to mention the many pauses that are inevitably required when working on a TV set.

Preparation for the job

We had less than a week to make all the necessary preparations for the job. The most crucial part of the entire project was undoubtedly the week leading up to the start of the garage conversion. Because this garage conversion would be taking place over the course of the weekend, with large amounts of the work being carried out during the night, it was essential that all of the materials, down to the last screw were ordered and ready for the team on site. There was simply no margin for error and Craig (one of our site managers and also a company director) called upon his vast experience of garage conversions, to ensure everything was ready.  Of particular importance was ensuring that we could organise for the building inspector to come and do inspections at various points during the weekend, outside of their typical hours, which Trafford Council were very helpful about.

 - High standardsThe head of Trafford Building Control liaises with Craig Smith and a producer of the show -

Day 1 (Shift 1) - Friday 17:00 - Saturday 05:00

In order to do this job (which only a week earlier seemed almost impossible!) we had to fully staff-up the job from the very start and start the front blockwork, side window bricking up and internal work simultaneously. Not to mention the lads had already had a full day's work behind them at this point, so everyone would have to pull each other through to keep spirits high. The first pieces of filming were done of our team. Knowing the task ahead of us, we were more interested in just getting to work! It was immediately clear that this would be no ordinary building job. The curtain was up and the show was on the road!

Schedule of work:

1) Brick and block-up front

2) Brick-up side window

3) Install window to front

4) Install new floating floor in garage conversion

5) Render exterior of conversion

6) Frame ceiling and insulate

7) Install cattle grid drains to front

Great progress was made in the first 12 hours, with the front blocked up and the window bricked up as well as the floor almost complete by nightfall. It was definitely a night that no one involved will soon forget! Morale was kept high and despite the difficulty of working through the night everyone onsite performed superbly.


TeamworkThe summer night draws in as the real work begins, the cameras looking on all the while -

Day 2 (Shift 2) - Saturday 05:00 - Saturday 17:00

Schedule of work:

1) Plasterboard ceiling

2) Timber frame all walls

3) First-fix electrics

4) Plasterboard all walls

5) Make MDF cupboards outside of conversion, ready to fit inside

6) Fit MDF cupboards

7) Fit new window board

While pure adrenaline can you get you through night one, it was impressive to see the level of commitment and professionalism displayed once daylight hit for the second shift.

Our staff performed like only Granada Home Improvements staff can. Quality is key for us at all times and this was never compromised once. Particular credit should go again to Craig for driving the team forward to make sure everything was going according to plan.


Hard at workRay the finishing joiner crafts the cupboard and fits the skirting boards -

Day 2 (Shift 3) - Saturday 17:00  - Sunday 05:00

Schedule of works:

1) Plaster conversion

2) Fit skirting boards

3) Clean site off

Day 3 (Shift 4) - Sunday 05:00 - Finish

Schedule of works:

1) Second fix electrics

2) Snag job

3) Paint engineering brick black outside

4) Final cleaning of work areas and removal of any remaining site debris


Final curtainThe program director takes some external footage, while the internal work is nearing it's end -

With these last jobs the work was finally complete, the building inspector passed off the job according to building regulations, and the curtain came down on surely the most unique garage conversion ever carried out! It will undoubtedly live long in the memory of anyone who took part!


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