The Ultimate Guide to Basement Conversions

An increasing number of people are converting or installing basements to make more space in their homes.
In most cases, basement conversions have a positive impact on the value of the house, which makes them even more desirable. However, installing or converting a basement is a significant project that requires a fair amount of planning, considerations, permissions, and money.
To help you take on this challenge, the Danford Brewer & Ives’ basement conversion experts have shared their ultimate guide to basement conversion:

Your Ideas

When planning to add a basement room to your house, you must have an answer to some crucial questions, including the reason, the worth, and the time duration of the conversion or installation. You may need to consult a professional to get an answer to your questions.
Firstly, you need to decide on the use of the basement room that you are planning to build. Are you going to use it as a spare bedroom? Will it be a leisure space or an extra bathroom or kitchen? All basement builds irrespective of the intended purpose come with challenges, which you need to be prepared for in advance.
You should also make sure that the basement conversion or installation will add value to your property and look at the return on your investment because you would not want your money, time and effort to go to waste if you eventually plan to sell the property.

Considerations

After you have decided the purpose of the basement room and considered the return on your investment, then you can go on to evaluating other, more specific aspects of the room, which include:

  • Waterproofing

Waterproofing, alongside any structural changes, are the most significant considerations for basement conversions and basement installations. Because they are below ground level, basements will be subject to groundwater and some may be below a water table or a perched water table. Protection of below ground structures against water from the ground is fully explained in British Standards 8102:2009. It is very important that this standard is followed in any basement conversion or new build. These rules will ensure that a correct method of tanking or water control is used. Basements are often more vulnerable to condensation and adequate insulation, ventilation and heating will be necessary.

  • Lighting

Understandably, basements will not have a lot of natural light so you will have to consider how you will adequately light up the area using artificial lighting and light reflecting colours. Another way by which you can increase natural light in the basement is to add a sunken garden, which will increase the cost of the project.

  • Bathrooms

If you intend on using your basement conversion as a spare room, then it is likely that you are going to add a bathroom for washing up. If a bathroom is in the plan, consider the ventilation, the type of toilet you will use and the plumbing.

Financial Planning

As with all construction projects, you need to plan the financial aspect of the basement conversion meticulously, ensuring that you stay within the budget. Start by contacting the professionals for quotes and plan your budget accordingly.

Building Permissions and Regulations

Often a straight forward cellar conversion will not require planning permission, but checks must be made and Building Regulations will apply. Some changes to form new windows and doorways may come under permitted development and not need full planning consent, but major changes to the appearance or change of use should always be checked before any work is started. An architect of the local planning authority should give the best advice. An experienced, qualified contractor should be aware of the rules and regulations.

Look For Basement Conversion Professionals

Once the planning, financing and permission aspects are completed, you can then start looking for professionals that are reputable and can provide you with high-quality solutions for basement conversions within your budget. Do your research, read reviews and meet with the professionals before the selection. Remember to comply with British Standard 8102:2009 and all relevant Building Regulations.
Danford Brewer & Ives are basement conversion experts.  With many successful projects completed, we are the perfect partner for anyone looking to have a basement conversion.  To discuss your plans further simply contact DBI and book an appointment for one of our qualified site surveyors to visit you and run through the options with you.