BASEMENT CONVERSIONS IN LONDON
Welcome to Home Constructive, specialists in ground-breaking London basement conversions. As a basement conversion specialist, we offer you a complete design and build package. You can discover more about our work right here.
Why Go for A Basement Conversion?
A basement is a great option to add space to your house. When extending upwards or outwards is not possible, a basement conversion is perfect for an additional living space. Especially in London, where space is an extremely valuable asset, converting a basement can create that extra room that can really change your family life.
Technology and materials have evolved so that a basement is no longer a dark low-ceilinged space. Waterproofing and damp proofing basements are never an issue when you rely on the right professionals.
If well designed and properly built, a basement can be used for virtually any purpose in your house, including an open plan kitchen, for example.
At Home Constructive we love building basements in London because somehow, we always manage to surprise our clients with a better result than their expectations. With us, they enjoy a relaxed and hassle-free life while the construction is in progress, thanks to our unique approach. We always have a structural engineer in charge, to ensure the maximum safety and security on-site, including the temporary structural support that is required while building a basement.
What to Do with A Basement Conversion
A basement is ideal to create more living space in a house in London, especially extra space for the family. One great option that a basement gives you is to build an independent entrance, so to create a self-contained unit.
Usually, basements are converted into:
a playroom for your children
a cinema room for the family and friends
a gym or a sauna
a utility room for appliances and laundry
storage space for valuables like wine, cigars or other collections
a hobby lab for adults and kids
a home office with an independent entrance
Indeed, if a basement is well designed and built, it can be used for any purpose. One of our clients in London, for example, chose to have their open-plan kitchen living room in the basement of their 4-storey house in Uxbridge.
Shell-and-core and fit-out
When converting a basement, it is very important to select the right basement builders, for each stage of the work. Working with Home Constructive, you will have access to a pool of basement builders that are specialised in basement conversions.
The advantage of hiring Home Constructive is to have a construction project manager who is also a structural engineer, so to ensure not only that the final structure of your basement is safe and solid, but also that the works are carried out in a safe and controlled process throughout.
In the first phase, you excavate to create or extend the volume for the basement. This includes temporary works to support the existing structure of the house while the basement works are in progress. The result will be a waterproof reinforced concrete box that constitutes the external structure of the basement.
It is important to employ a specialised subcontractor to carry out this phase of the project. Home Constructive only employs contractors that have a solid portfolio of damp proofing basements.
The added value of working with us is to have access to a pool of experienced and tested companies specialised in basement conversions; plus, only Home Constructive will always appoint a construction project manager who is also a structural engineer on-site to supervise the works during this very delicate phase.
The following phase is the fit-out. This phase includes electrical and plumbing work, wall creation, flooring, lighting, plastering and painting.
With Home Constructive, you don’t need to worry about finding the right tradespeople for each job. Our project manager will take care of everything and report to you for project status, schedule updates and decision making at the right moment. They will help you clarify your requirements and make your decision at the right moment, throughout the duration of the fit-out, until completion.
Understanding the Basement Conversion Process
1. FREE SITE VISIT
One of our construction specialists comes to meet you in person and view the site. We cover all areas in London.
Meeting in person: understand what you want and the challenges within
Seeing the place: place the vision in the physical constraints of your house
Understanding the context: collect details and impressions and explore the neighbourhood
Discussing your ideas: identify challenges, prevent issues, remove blockers
When creating or converting a basement under an existing building, and even creating a basement for a new build, it is important to understand the physical constraints. A lot of info can be gained from the council planning authority, but a site visit always reveals more than any document can do.
Many elements can affect the feasibility of a basement, including party walls, layout, nature of the soil, underground structures like road tunnels or tube tunnels. Also, a visit to the neighbourhood will give us an idea of whether there are similar developments in the area, which would mean it’s more likely to get planning permission. If you are converting an existing cellar, for example, it is possible your basement conversion will fall under permitted development work and you won’t need to apply for planning permission.
2. THE PRELIMINARY PROCESS
In preparation for a basement project, you will need to take care of the formal procedures. They might include planning permission, building regulation, method statement, party wall agreements and so on. Our architects have experience in all councils in London
Understanding the context: evaluate all the physical factors that affect the conversion of a basement. Things to take into account are the load of the building above, the nature of the soil, the water table level, the underlying existing structures like services, tunnels, tube etc
Determining the formal process: understand the legal aspects and studying the council regulation; investigate the layout of the neighbourhood and the adjacent properties; define the need for party wall agreements, external technical reports, method statement etc.
Making the right decisions: maximise the value created by adding the basement, against the budget investment, when all the feasibility constraints are clear, choosing the best options for structure, design, usage, dimensions, layout etc.
Finalising the pre-construction phase: producing all the documentation including plans, technical drawings, structural calculations, method statement, work plan, submitting the plans to the council for permitted development or planning permission, serving the party wall notices and completing the party wall agreement
When converting a basement, the most important factor is to optimise the budget investment and maximise the generated value from your property. To achieve that, technical competence and experience are crucial to evaluate your options and make the right decisions.
Technical complexity, the neighbourhood, the length of the pre-construction process, the cost of external consultants and many more technical elements will support you for the best planning of your basement conversion.
3. FREE CONSTRUCTION ESTIMATION
One of our estimation specialists produces an accurate quotation, including a breakdown of all the details and their cost
Defining the costs: evaluate the basic construction work
Estimating the options: optimise the choice of finishes and suppliers for the best result
Explaining the quote: communicate clearly what is included or not and what might be the impact
Communicating effectively: explain the process and the program, define the communication channels, agree on the decision flow
Investing your money in renovating your property can be a big decision. That is why understanding the quotation is paramount to make the best decision. Most important of all, the price must be reasonable. Rogue companies often quote a very low price to get appointed, already planning to charge extras to make up for the difference; if not done on purpose, a contractor might choose to abandon the project when they realise it’s not profitable.
Basements need special attention to the construction procedure, because of the higher risk related to the existing buildings during the work.
Enforcing the method statement: create instructions for the team to carry out the work. Those include accurate descriptions and precise details, like props for vertical and lateral support, temporary roof, usage of conveyor belts for soil removal etc
Appointing the teams: choose experienced and well-tested basement specialists to carry out the work and the best project manager
Supervising the site: stay involved with day-to-day activities on-site, to provide guidance and coordinate the personnel, the supplies and the procedures on-site
Reporting and sharing info: give regular feedback and respond promptly to questions and requests
Setting up communication channels: dashboard, live chat, photo and video sharing using the latest tech solutions
Making timely decisions: follow a clear process for requests, approvals, last-minute changes and all decisions
Building a basement requires technical competence and experience and basement contractors work better under the supervision of professional experts. On top of that, information sharing and effective communication are also important to ensure the best results.
That is why with Home Constructive you will have a structural engineer in charge of your basement conversion, plus dedicated communication channels to ensure the decisions are made promptly and the crucial information is always at hand.
5. FIT-OUT, COMPLETION AND HANDOVER
Your construction project manager ensures you make the best decisions for your fit-out and finishes and the best tradespeople are appointed to deliver the best results for your basement
Finalising the approval of the finishes: although the requirements on the finishes are often defined in the design phase, it is important all the details are approved by you. Windows, flooring, lighting, doors, paint, tiles, fittings are all details that make a difference in the quality of a basement
Appointing the best teams: choose the right tradespeople for all the work on-site; electrical and plumbing, for example, are crucial to a successful project and the wrong choice can cause a lot of problems in the future. Home Constructive ensures you get the best specialists for electrics, plumbing, tiling, painting, flooring, decoration etc
Wrapping up all the final bits: make sure all the little details that need to be retouched are taken care of beforehand over
While building the shell of your basement is very important, you want to make sure that the space you create is pleasant to be used and lived in. In that, the finishes are essential, and we will make sure you are involved and informed so that you can choose the best for your requirements and have everything executed at top-notch quality.
Tanking and Waterproofing
Tanking is a building technique for underground structures that control the water that comes from the external soil, using draining channels to remove the excess of water, while the basement is protected from infiltrations by a tank that surrounds the walls and the base of the basement. For the tank, cavity drain membranes, channel drains and sump pumps are employed. The pumps are installed with redundancy and alarms. So secondary pumps can take over when the primary is full or not operating properly, while the alarms signal issues in the correct functioning, like battery exhaustion.
Waterproofing is a more generic term for ensuring that a structure, underground or overground, is not infiltrated by water, causing damp. In the case of the basement, waterproofing membranes are added to the tanking, to prevent water penetrating the basement.
At Home Constructive we have the in-house expertise to design and implement the latest technologies and the most effective waterproofing systems, to ensure that your basement is built to last longer.
Planning and Permitted Development Requirements
For basements in London, permitted development is restricted to not substantial alterations. You can convert an existing cellar or basement into a living space within permitted development rights.
Any excavation for a basement requires planning permission. Approval rate for basement conversions planning applications is very high, because councils usually grant permission. The process for the application, though, is a bit more complex, due to the amount of required documentation, reposts, investigations and other conditions that are specific to basement applications.
The final result is very predictable, but the process to get there is usually longer and has higher cost than applications for standard extensions like loft conversions or rear extensions.
Basement Conversion Budget
A basement in London is relatively more expensive compared to other types of extension alterations, so it is important to understand the costs and the value generated. The value will depend on the existing property, the area of London it is located, the size and the quality.
Variables that affect the cost can be:
Structural design: an efficient structural design can save on materials and costs, with the same final result
Construction process: following the correct procedure and building in the right time of the year can avoid contingency costs
Soil constraints: the nature of the soil can require specific measures, like piling foundations or thicker retaining walls and slab
Party wall agreements: depending on the number of adjoining properties and involved parties, party wall agreement can add up to the costs
Design choices: using materials like structural glass, expensive internal finishes and other specifications can change significantly the final cost
It can help to have an idea of how much your basement conversion costs as an average. It’s important to always keep in mind that many variables can add to the average cost; other conditions can make the cost lower. Make sure you work with the right company that can support you make the choices that are best for you, also considering your budget requirements.
Baseline costs of construction in London, which don’t include professional fees and finishes like flooring, windows, doors, furnishing and joinery, fittings etc:
Creation of a new basement under an existing building: £2,500 to £3,500 per sqm
Conversion of an existing cellar: £1,750 to £2,750 per sqm
Extension of an existing basement/cellar to the garden: £2,000 to £3,000 per sqm
Get in Touch Today to Start Your London Basement Conversion
If you and your family could benefit from more high-quality living space, all you have to do is call +44 7891 981021. We would be happy to provide you with a free, no-obligation site survey and show you just how breath-taking and useful your Home Constructive basement extension could be.
Need added peace of mind? All of our basement conversions in London are covered by our 10-year warranty. We provide all of the relevant certification and paperwork on completion of your project.
If you are in the London area, we are ready and waiting to transform your home. Call today on +44 7891 981021 for your free, no-obligation quote for basement conversions London or send us an enquiry via our Free Site Survey page.
Why Choose Home Constructive
Once you have decided exactly what you want with your extension, you can begin your journey to a bigger and better home with Home Constructive. Throughout the process, Home Constructive will provide you with a dedicated, knowledgeable project manager that will answer any questions you might have during the build and ensure that you are 100% happy before, during and after the transformation. So, if you’re a homeowner in London looking to expand and improve your current living quarters, rest assured that Home Constructive will turn your visions and paper designs into a reality.