Going underground: planning your basement construction in London

Basement construction has become the preferred way to add living space and value to London property. With a pushback from planners in some of the city’s most exclusive areas, planning your basement construction can seem more daunting than ever; however, follow the key regulations and your basement construction should run smoothly.

Get a structural engineer’s report

If you live in central London, you won’t be able to proceed without a report from a structural engineer that details the effects the work will have on the surrounding buildings and environment.

The report should consider the surrounding built environment, the ground conditions, and the level of groundwater. It will also recommend the most suitable building techniques, including drainage solutions to minimise the overall impact of your basement construction.

Check the Planning Portal

If you have a suite of existing rooms that can be converted into living space with no structural alterations, you are in luck – the work can be done under development rights.

The picture becomes trickier when you need to dig down or dig out under the garden. Always check the Planning Portal; however, in the case of a smaller domestic development, you are unlikely to be refused permission, as no changes will be made to the exterior of the property.

Look at submitting full plans rather than just building notices. Although the latter is the baseline requirement for basement construction in London and across the country, remedial work may be required at a later date if your basement fails to meet building regulations for safety, hygiene and energy efficiency.

Get a party wall agreement

For most people, it is the prolonged disruption of a basement construction that causes difficulty. Site vehicles, dust and noise and a residential setting rarely mix well. With the added concerns over excavations near a party wall and the quality of any underpinning work, your neighbours may be unhappy with your proposals.

You will need a party wall agreement if you live in a terraced or semi-detached house before any work can be undertaken. Make sure you give your neighbours a heads-up on your planned development and communicate with them throughout.

Hire a specialist construction company

A properly designed and implemented basement construction can be completed without any major technical problems or significant impact on your neighbours. Basement construction is highly detailed and takes time to get right, which makes working with a specialist construction company critical to the success of your project. Noble Structures is a specialist basement company that fully understands the expectations of our clients and we will aim to deliver your basement construction on budget and ahead of schedule.