Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Size really does matter: UK Garages are too small for modern cars

According to leading garage door installers and distributors in the UK, more homeowners are being forced to leave their cars in the street because they are now too big to fit in their garages. 

The size of the average garage is still being designed according to measurements from the 1930s when cars were significantly narrower.

The "industry standard" garage door comes in at seven feet (2135mm) wide with architects designing, and developers building garages only a little wider internally. This leaves drivers with very little room to open the car door, let alone park their cars. This video we found on YouTube comically illustrates the point well!

Width is not the only problem, it's length too! Some garages are also too short on length for some larger models, presumably leading to people having to point their car at the garage then push it in and leave the door up!

Seriously though, with many people also using garage space for storage, even fitting in a small car can be a tight squeeze. But with four-wheel drives, MPVs and SUVs becoming increasingly popular, many have no choice but to leave them on the street.

This puts them at greater risk of vandalism and theft and car owners consequently will see a rise in their car insurance premiums.
Derek Hibbart, a garage door industry veteran and Editor for the Door Industry Journal, said: "Car design has changed dramatically and much larger vehicles, such as four-wheel drives, have become very popular." 

"People are bigger too, so it's no surprise that getting in and out of a vehicle in the confines of a garage can be almost impossible." 

He added: "People risk expensive damage to paintwork and even injury by squeezing out of vehicles into an ever decreasing space."

Luckily, a few architects and developers working in the top end of the market are now increasing the size of garages and specifying doors that are either 7' 6" (2286mm) or eight feet (2438mm) wide.

Interestingly, whilst these sizes come with a bigger price tag due to them not being the industry standard, there  is clearly a saving on brickwork and labour that must balance the books to some extent. Also, we assume that the more popular these larger sizes become, the price will reduce through economies of scale. It would be useful to receive a comment from a garage door manufacturer on that point. 

So, if you are an Architect or Developer, please remember when you are next designing a garage, that size really does matter.

Image by Garador

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