Get the right planning permission
You may not need planning permission at all, if you’re simply converting an existing basement. A conversion of this type will give you plenty of room, as it reflects the footprint of your property.
However, if you plan to excavate, then it’s essential that you seek the proper permissions and are aware of any restrictions on planning. For example, in Kensington and Chelsea, you will only be granted planning permission if your basement is 1 storey deep.
Consider the neighbours
Basement conversions can cause a tremendous amount of bad feeling with your neighbours. There’s no doubt the work can be noisy and disruptive, and if poorly done, can result in problems like subsidence.
When converting a basement in London, find a mindful contractor who will keep your neighbours informed, work within normal business hours and complete the job as quickly as possible, with the minimum of disruption.
Whether a traditional concrete tanking method or the newer cavity drain membrane is the best solution for waterproofing your basement, this will need to be executed by a reputable and experienced company so you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing there won’t be any nasty surprises in the future.
Ask to see examples of previous projects and any feedback your contractors have received, both positive and negative.
Keeping it clean
A good contractor will keep the building site as clean and tidy as possible, with hoardings and huts to screen the work from view. If you let your gardens, front and back, get turned into an eyesore, it won’t improve relations with neighbours, who might already be feeling annoyed at any disruption.
Quality at all costs
Although you will be paying a premium for your basement conversion because of your London location, don’t work with a firm who undercut other quotes by a considerable margin. A basement conversion has to be done properly or you could encounter problems, including leaks, damp and subsidence. Always ask for detailed quotes, so you can see where any corner cutting is taking place, and accept that this is a job that requires a professional approach, and budget accordingly.
Making the most of your space
Go over the initial plans carefully to make sure they’re maximising the full potential of the space. After all, you need to know you’re getting value for money and a good return on your investment.
Check that the plans reflect your own ideas and needs from the space, and that the conversion will serve you, rather than the architect. There’s no point paying for a 2 storey deep basement with a vaulted ceiling, when you’re just looking for some office space and a playroom.
Your stress levels
Yes, there will be times when you have no utilities or working appliances, and your stress levels will rise. Work through this list, be prepared to be flexible and tolerant, and use an experienced contractor and you’ll be able to manage your stress and have a great basement conversion at the end of it.