Everyone seems to want more space these days. Whether you need more rooms for your growing family, require a home office or just want extra leisure space, converting or expanding a basement in London could be the answer.
Although adding extra rooms to your home will inevitably cost a considerable amount of money and take a lot of time and effort, it will undoubtedly add thousands of pounds onto your property’s value, as well as giving your family more room to breathe.
Do You Need Permission?
One of the main questions you need answering before you embark on a basement conversion is whether or not you need planning permission.
The answer depends on what you’re converting, what to, and also what type of house you live in.
Essentially, if you are converting an existing basement or cellar to living rooms, games rooms or bedrooms, you may not need permission. However, if you are creating a brand new basement it will be treated as an extension and there is a possibility planning permission may be required.
The best thing to do is to check with your local planning authority before starting any work. Your construction firm may be able to do this for you, or at least advise you of how to go about the process.
What About Building Regulations?
As with any building work, a basement conversion has to comply with local building regulations, covering issues such as fire escapes, ventilation, damp proofing, wiring and water supplies.
Whether you need planning permission or not, all basement conversions which involve a change of use (from storage space to living space) will need to be approved by the buildings regulations authority in your region.
Is Any House Suitable?
The main demand for converting or creating a basement in London is in Victorian terrace homes, where space to expand upwards or sideways is limited or non-existent. But is any home suitable for a basement conversion?
Modern homes are usually built on raft foundations, so will not be able to have a basement, and if mains services run beneath your home or you live in a neighbourhood with a high water table, you will probably not be able to have a basement constructed.
If in doubt, check with your local authority.
How Long Does it Take?
Most basement conversions take between 12 and 20 weeks, although of course this will depend on the type of work you’re having done as well as the efficiency of your builders.
A more complicated, larger conversion or extension could take several months, so remember to factor this in when planning your work.
How Much Does it Cost?
Again, it depends on how much work you want carried out. A simple basement conversion should cost no more than a basic loft conversion, while costs could be higher if the property has concrete floors.
Whatever you propose to do with your basement, make sure you only use a reputable and experienced company, who you can trust to carry out such an important job.