Planning for a Basement Extension

Excavating a new basement is a great way to boost the square footage of your home. You might be renovating an unused area to increase your living space or, even digging a basement under the ground floor or garden. It can be expensive business and so it is extremely important you plan and budget carefully to avoid the many pitfalls that surround this sector.

A basement extension can give you considerably more living space than a loft conversion and can help you to avoid an expensive house move if going ‘up’ isn’t an option. In our experience, basement conversions only really add significant value to properties in more upmarket areas or areas in which space is at a premium. Generally, the amount of value the basement will add will also depend on the use of the new space.

A basement extension can add storage to your home, give you a utility room for noisy appliances, extra living space, play rooms for the kids, swimming pools, gyms – the potential is endless. A basement can be a functional area, a space for visitors to stay or even accommodation for elderly family members. It’s also perfect for more luxurious additions to your home, such as home cinemas, wine cellars, studios, gyms and pools.

When planning your budget be sure to consider the costs outside build costs. There are reports and permissions that need to be acquired before any work can be carried out. These can add to your costs significantly so make sure you speak to a professional to get the necessary advice.

A basement can be future-proofed if it’s constructed in the right way. It doesn’t need to be dark and dank, in fact most of our basements benefit from natural light through a light well, as well as natural ventilation and access to outside areas. We also recommend doing all works in one go – depending on your neighbourhood; basement work can be quite disruptive.

If you’re converting an existing cellar or basement without adding a light well that alters your property’s external appearance, you may not need planning permission. However, creating a brand-new basement that changes the outside of your home, you will probably require approval. Any work undertaken on listed buildings will require consent, so speak to the planners at your local authority.

Building regulations apply to all basement works, whether it’s a refurbishment or a brand new construction. Fire escape routes are crucial, and the regulations also cover elements such as ceiling height, damp-proofing, electrical wiring and water supplies.

Basement work usually affects shared property boundaries – or party wall – and neighbours must be given prior notice under the Party Wall Act. If you decide a basement is the solution for your home, contact us and we can take care of planning, building regulations approval and party wall essentials.

So, if you are considering a basement conversion make sure you avoid becoming a horror story in the Daily Mail. Contact us via email or on any of our social media channels, you’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Don’t just take our word for it – see George Clarke’s top tips for your basement – and keep your eye out for our very own Paul and Mike!

(video courtesy of London Basement) (feature image: one of our projects with London Basement)

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