10 Basement conversion tips before you start your project
Before you start your basement conversion project, here are 10 things to consider and plan for.
1. Planning your basement space
How much space do you want to create in your basement conversion? Have a think about what rooms/space you want downstairs, such as living space, WC, kitchen, utility or boiler room, gym, entertainment room or even a swimming pool. Your basement could have its own external entrance to create a separate dwelling.
2. Talk to your neighbours
Before you progress too far with design, planning etc, speak to your neighbours to advise them you’re thinking about a basement – the more notice they have, the smoother the process should be.
3. Your budget
Speak to a basement contractor to get an estimate – the more information you can provide, the more accurate it will be. Allow a contingency for any changes you may make between now and starting together with the potential for issues in the ground eg unexpected water or concrete.
4. Find an architect
Speak to an architect/designer (preferably with basement experience) about some initial layouts and give feedback.
5. Basement planning application
Depending on which area you live in, this stage can involve a lot of work. Councils like to see that you’ve engaged with neighbours, have a draft traffic management plan or construction management plan (depending on area), construction method statement or Basement Impact Assessment depending on council again.
6. Basement construction timescale
Work out when you wish to commence works and work back to allow time for planning, detailed design, engineering design and party wall awards.
7. Party wall awards
Allow plenty of time for these to be completed – more often these days, a specific temporary works design will be required and your neighbour’s surveyor may engage a checking engineer.
8. Get final quotes
Either for the shell only or complete build – some clients prefer to use one contractor for both stages, others prefer to separate the two stages but make sure everyone is clear who is doing what.
Make sure your property insurer is aware of your plans and advises of any restrictions or conditions. Non-negligence insurance is also worth considering – your insurer can provide details.
Get references on your chosen contractor and ask to see some of their recent projects.