Tag: basement conversion


How You Can Do A Basement Conversion

Everybody wants more space in their home. Most of the homeowners are looking for ways for basement conversion to create more space beneath their existing houses. Unlike loft conversion, which helps you create additional bedrooms, a basement is located beneath your home and provides easy access.

Options for Basement Conversion

To convert your basement, there are the following routes:

  • Basement as a part of a new build
  • Renovating existing cellar or basement
  • You can also think of creating a new basement in an existing home, or you can extend the cellar out in the garden.

In this article, we are going to deal with 2nd and 3rd option.

How Can You Use Basement For?

A basement can provide additional living space for your families such as an entertainment room, or playroom for your kids. Furthermore, it is an ideal location for relocating boiler, utility room, storage, or you can use it to store items to free up some space on above-ground.

Alternatively, you can have an external entrance for the basement to use it as a home office. If you want to sell it as an independent dwelling, then you need to express consent.

Is Basement Conversion Worth it?

Whether the cellar conversion worth it or not depends on the value of your property. If your house is in a high-value area, then it is a good idea to add some lower ground floor space. If you are living in central London or other sought-after urban centers, then a basement conversion is a good bet. But if you are living elsewhere, then you need to careful analysis. To get an idea about the worth of your house; you can contact with a local estate agent, as he or she can help you get an idea about the value per square meter in your area.

You should keep in mind that a basement living space with an external entrance worth more than a dark cellar. Also, you need to keep in mind that the ceiling value for the location has a maximum value. There is a threshold when it comes to the cost of a property. So, using high-quality materials cannot help increase the value of your estate above that. If you are looking for garage conversion or a loft conversion, you should keep in mind that a basement conversion costs the same as a loft. However, creating a basement from scratch is expensive, but you get more usable floor space with a cellar compared to loft conversion.

Planning Permission for Basement Conversion

If you are going to convert a cellar under your property, then you do not need planning permission. Your property’s Permitted Development will cover these kinds of house extensions.

However, if you are going to reduce the floor level to improve the ceiling height of cellar, then it will be treated as an extension, hence requires planning permission. There are some circumstances, in which you can undertake an alteration or extension without the need of planning application. (For more information you can visit UKGovWeb )

Planning policy can vary in case of a basement conversion because it is difficult for the local council to find a reason for the refusal. Cellar conversion does not require alteration in the building’s appearance, so there is no need for planning permission.

Basements and Building Regulations

A basement conversion requires building regulations, whether it involves the creation of a new basement or a change of use of an existing cellar. These regulations are minimum standards for construction to make sure buildings are hygienic, energy-efficient, and safe. If you are going to renovate or repair an existing cellar, then it is excluded from the building regulations.

If you want to know more about these regulations, then you can get a copy of approved documents, which includes all the rules and regulations. We will advise you to make a full application for conversion, instead to follow the notice procedures. Because, in this way, you will have time to resolve any issues with the design.

Party Wall Act

If the conversion affects a Party wall, then it is your responsibility to inform the house owner. To get permission to start work, you need their signs on the party wall act.

(Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

Basement Conversion in London Guide for Homeowners

Basement conversion in London can help provide valuable extra living space, and it does not require any change to the exterior of your home. Everybody wants more space in the home, and one of the ways is by house extension or converting the basement.

Loft Conversion provides additional living space on the top of the house. You can use it to create additional bedrooms. On the other hand, a basement is close to the main living space and access.

Options for Basement Conversion in London

If you want to create living space underneath the home, then there are the following routes:

  • You can create a basement
  • Or you can renovate an existing cellar or basement
  • If your house does not have a basement, then you can build a new one underneath the home or can extend out into the garden.

In this article, we are going to discuss 2nd and 3rd routes.

How Can You Use Basement For?

There is no doubt that the basement is a great space for your family; you can convert it into a home entertainment room or playroom. You can also use it as a utility room, storage and boiler furthermore, as the basement has its external entrance which makes it a self-contained unit, which makes it an ideal space for annexes or home office. If you want to make It an independent separate dwelling, then you need to express consent.

Does Basement Conversion London Worth It?

Whether a basement or cellar conversion worth your money depends on the cost and value of the property, additional living space under the house does make financial sense in high-value areas. If you are living outside London, then you need to take this decision after careful analysis. If you want to get an idea about the worth of space per square meter, then you can ask them from a local estate agent.

However, you should keep in mind that a basement with direct access worth more than any other dark cellar space. You also need to keep in mind that an area has a maximum value which you cannot exceed no matter what improvements you make. It also means that converting your basement is not going to increase the value of the property.

Sometimes, it is challenging to decide whether to convert a loft or a cellar. Because both of them costs about the same, but building a basement from scratch is a daunting and expensive task. However, creating a cellar will provide you with useable floor space compared to loft conversion.

Planning Permission for Basement Conversion in London

If you already have a cellar beneath your home, then you do not require planning permission for conversion. Because it comes under permitted development unless you are in a conservation area, if you are going to reduce the floor level of a basement to improve the ceiling height, then it will be treated as an extension which needs planning permission. However, some of the alterations and extensions also do not require a planning application; for more information, you can visit the planning portal, or you can visit the office of the local council.

The planning policy for the basement varies from one location to another. However, getting approval from the local council is not that difficult. If the work is not going to alter the appearance of the house, then the council does not have reasonable grounds for refusal. We have seen many people made iceberg basements which indicates that the policy for basements is still under review.

Basements and Building Regulations

If you are going to create a new basement, then you need building regulations approval. It does not depend on whether you are going to use existing cellar or creating a new one. These regulations are to make sure that the buildings are safe, energy-efficient, and hygienic. Renovating or repairing a current basement does not require building regulations approval.

You can download the documents from the government website. That is why; we recommend our clients to apply for planning permission rather than waiting for notice.

Party Wall Act

If the work is going to affect any party wall, for example, if the excavation is to be carried out near a party wall, or you are going to extend the wall. In such a case, it is essential to inform all the owners of adjoining properties.

How Long Do Basement Conversions in London Take?

A basement conversion usually takes a few weeks to complete. If you are going to convert a simple bedroom, then it will take just two or three weeks. But if you are going to convert the basement of the entire house, then it can take several months. Furthermore, if you can access directly, then you can live in your home during the work. But if the contractor has to remove the ground floor and rebuilt it, then you have to move out.

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Basements: why are they uncommon in the UK?

Having a basement in your home may seem like a given if you are from most parts of the United States. However, if you are from England, you probably don’t know that much about having a basement. 

When were basements common?  

Although, you may have not seen many, basements/ cellars actually are pretty common in some places in the UK. The Victorians and Georgians loved them. So, any town with lots of Georgian and Victorian housing like Leeds, Manchester or Edinburgh will have lots of basements. As for the places that don’t, you can break them down into a few reasons: 

Age of home. While the technology required to build underground spaces has existed for thousands of years. However, the requirement to do so has not. Before mass urbanisation began in the early 1800s, 60% of people lived in small, communities where land was pretty cheap. The cost of digging a basement for your house compared poorly to the cost of just buying a field out back and building a bigger house. 

Ground conditions. Unlike Scotland, Wales and the west of England, much of eastern and central England is quite low lying, and a lot of the east coast was reclaimed from salt marshes by the Georgians. This means that the ground was too wet and muddy to build a basement in, especially when it’s expensive and impractical to pump the water out every time it rains heavily and the water table rises. 

The weather. One of the main reasons that basements became very common in America is the weather. Both the intense cold in some parts and the risk of adverse weather in others. Foundations have to be built far below the ground to stop them being damaged by frost, so you might as well fill all that space with an extra room or two. Similarly, a basement doubles up as a tornado shelter in other places. The UK has little extreme weather, so basements weren’t as functional in the past as they are in North America. 

Why did the UK stop making basements? 

However, nowadays almost all new build homes have no cellar or basement. This is due to the extra cost of digging down further into the sub-soil and a requirement for much deeper foundations and waterproof tanking.  

How much would It cost to build a basement? 

If you are thinking of building an entirely new basement under your home, you should expect the starting costs to be around £2000 – £3,500 per square meter. On top of this you would need to pay for the contractors to complete the job. So, it’s not often a cheap project.  

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