Which regulations do you need to consider when planning a basement conversion?

There are many things to consider when you decide to improve your home, such as the purpose of the improvement. Is to bring the property up to date, to add additional space or to increase the value of the property? Once you have decided this, there are a number of routes you can take: remodelling the existing space, adding an extension, or converting the loft or basement. 

Whichever route you choose, there will be a number of legal requirements you will need to fulfill. Let’s take a look in more detail at the regulations and requirements surrounding a basement conversion.

Planning permission and building regulations

There have been many high-profile basement conversions in the press in recent years; as a result, the planning regulations in this area are currently under review and may change in the coming months and years. In the meantime, you are unlikely to require planning permission if you are converting an existing space. 

Digging out an entirely new space is a different matter. If your property is listed, it is likely that you will need permission for any work you carry out, both internally and externally.

Whatever your circumstances, it is always worth checking whether you need planning permission. If you choose a reputable contractor to carry out your conversion, they will be able to provide you with the relevant advice and guidance.

As with most home improvements, building regulations apply to basement conversions. These cover aspects such as damp proofing, ventilation and fire escape routes.

Party walls

Unless your home is detached, you may also need to adhere to the Party Wall etc Act 1996. This act protects shared walls between terraced and semi-detached properties and ensures that where work might affect the walls in someone else’s property, they are notified in advance and have the opportunity to object to the work. 

If you have a good relationship with your neighbours, it is worth having a chat with them to explain your plans. You must supply any parties affected with notice at least two months before any planned work commences. This notice should include details of your proposed plans and when the work will start. You will also need to provide them with a copy of the act and the appropriate explanatory booklet. Your neighbours will be able to provide written rejection or approval within 14 days. 

With so many things to consider, it is worth choosing your architect and builder carefully before embarking on your basement conversion. Make sure that they are specialists in this field and can provide you with a range of customer reviews. It can also be useful to choose a London basement company that can provide a full end-to-end service for your project.