Why convert my cellar / basement?
There are myriad reasons to convert your cellar or basement. Typically, if you would like more room in your home but don’t necessarily wish to go through the hassle of moving (just casting my mind back to dealing with legal fees, legal teams, waiting on chains etc. makes me shudder), then you are realistically looking at going up into your loft, extending your home or converting your cellar.
Lofts are really best suited to becoming bedrooms, and building in your garden reduces your garden space whereas your cellar is located nearer to the main living area of your house, which means it’s a bit more versatile when it comes to living space such as a dining room, playroom for the children (or adults!), second lounge, cinema room etc. Our customers have told us that they have converted cellars into saunas, offices, and even a gym.
Alternatively, you could just use the space as a way of removing items such as your boiler out of your living space or creating guest rooms, bathroom, clothes storage, shower room and more, which will create more space for you in your main living area. The list goes on. You can even install a separate entrance to your cellar from the exterior of your house.
We are often asked how much it costs to convert a cellar or basement. This is a tricky question, as each case is different and it very much depends on the state of the ground and what condition your cellar is in already. But you can expect to pay TYPICALLY at least £850 to £1200 per square metre of floor space.
This sounds pricey. However, in virtually all cases a cellar conversion will increase the value of a property. This increase in value will depend on a number of factors such as property prices in your area, the size of the cellar, and the quality of materials used in the conversion. Compare this to if you had to DIG your cellar in from scratch, which can be up to £4500 per square metre!
We are also asked often about planning permission. Typically for planning purposes your conversions would qualify as a ‘change of use’ and therefore wouldn’t need planning permission. It’s always best to check though, especially if you wish to lower the floor due to a low ceiling. In this case you would have to contact the local planning authority as technically the conversion would be classed as an extension.
Realistically, there isn’t a lot that your local council can do to prevent your conversion if you are only making small changes to the appearance of your home. We recommend that you visit www.planningportal.gov.uk, which will give you great planning advice. Ringing your local council can also be useful.
We would ALWAYS recommend that you recruit a specialist company to manage your project. A reputable firm will be well versed in all aspects of cellar conversion, from planning regulations, fire escape routes, dampproofing requirements, underpinning (if necessary) and so on. As a leading supplier of dampproofing materials and tools with decades of experience, we can help you find an expert. Just get in touch and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.
It is polite (and necessary to comply with the 1996 Party Wall Act) to keep your neighbours updated too when carrying out building work near their foundations. And we ALL like good neighbours.
For free advice on your cellar conversion, please visit www.pamties.co.uk or call us on 01942 887920
This article is not a definitive source of legal information. You should ALWAYS check with your local planning authority before commencing your project. PAM Ties are not responsible for the content of external websites.