Most people would like to create a little more space in their house and one way of doing this is by carrying out a cellar conversion to turn it into an entire basement storey underneath their home. One of the advantages of a basement storey over a loft conversion is that it is positioned closer to the main living area of the house, making it much more accessible. Your new basement can be used as an extra bedroom, a utility room or a play room for the children. In fact, there is no real limit on the uses to which a basement storey can be put. You could even use it as an office if you work from home and create its own entrance.
Is Planning Permission Required?
Unless you intend to use a new, self-contained basement as a separate dwelling, you are in a conservation area, your home is a listed building or you intend to excavate the floor to create more ceiling room, there is no need to apply for planning permission.
Do I Need Building Regulations Approval?
If you are converting a cellar to create a basement that is habitable it will be necessary to apply for Building Regulations Approval. If the conversion does not involve a change of use, for example maintaining the basement as a storage room, approval will not be required.
Do Any Other Regulations Apply?
The most likely legislation that will apply to your conversion is if the works are going to impact on a party wall. In these cases, because of The Party Wall Act 1996, those who own or rent properties that fall within the building where the basement works are proposed and those of the properties that share a party wall must be informed.
Will It Be Worth The Cost?
Of course, one of the key questions that any homeowner who is considering a basement conversion will want to ask his South Devon builder is whether it will increase the value of the home. Basement conversions may be complicated, especially if the drains have to be diverted, the house has a solid concrete floor, there are challenging ground conditions, there is a high water table or the access to the site is difficult. There is also a different between the amount that a well lit basement with its own external access will add to the house’s value as opposed to a windowless basement with no independent external access. An estate agent should be able to advise you about the likely value following completion of the conversion and you will be able to consider this in conjunction with the estimated cost of the works.
Will I Be Able to Remain in the House?
This really depends on the extent of the works to be carried out and the issue of access. If there is access and the existing basement floor is of a timber construction you should be able to remain in the house. Conversely, if the existing floor is solid concrete and there is no external access you will probably have to move out for part of the works.
Basement conversions can add value and space to your home. If you have a cellar and would like to convert it to a basement, why not ask one of your local Devon builders for a quote?