If you are short of space to expand your property, you’ve already converted the loft and there’s not enough garden to build a conventional extension, then digging down and creating a basement is an attractive option.
Basements can be used for a whole variety of things, whether you want an office to work from home, a teenage den, a cinema room or many more options, the space below your home is a great way of providing them. But a badly constructed basement can lead to a whole raft of problems, which is why it’s always important to employ a builder who is familiar with and experienced in this kind of work.
In planning to add a basement to an existing property there are a number of factors. The soil type and how it handles loads and compression is key as this will influence the design and materials used. A good builder will know the area and understand whether the soil is adequate to support the foundations.
It’s important that during the work measures are taken to support and stabilise the existing structure so that it isn’t damaged in the course of the basement construction. Again, a builder experienced in basement construction will know the risks and understand what needs to be done.
Even things like the time of year can be a factor as it may be necessary to, for example, install temporary roofing to protect the workings.
Basements are of course subject to planning permission, so it’s important to ensure your basement builder understands the rules and is aware of any local restrictions such as those applying to conservation areas.
A factor in building your basement will be how you are going to use it. But hiring a builder who isn’t experience in this type of work can lead to issues. Of course you want to make sure your basement is waterproof and modern techniques that basement builders should be conversant with include the use of membranes to allow water to drain to a sump from where a pump can take it away.
You also need to consider light; whether you bring in natural light via a light pipe or use artificial light to make the most of the space. With an inexperienced builder you may end up with a space that’s gloomy and uninviting.
Safety is of course an issue too. Your builder needs to be aware of the need to have a safe escape route and to ensure that the basement is properly ventilated. Again, the best way to do these things will depend on your usage and an experienced basement builder will understand the various options, whereas a non-specialist may not.
If you can, it’s always worth speaking to people in the area who have had similar work done and asking for recommendations to ensure you get the right builder for the job.