Many of us would like more space in our homes, increasingly homeowners are doing this by converting their cellar to create a basement storey. Unlike loft space which lends itself best to creating additional bedrooms, a basement has a much more flexible range of uses, everything from additional family living space to a utility room. In addition basements can be converted with their own external entrance to create a self-contained unit. Converting an existing cellar from a storage area to habitable space involves only a change of use and does not require planning permission.
However excavating the floor of a cellar to improve the ceiling height is treated as an extension and so may need planning permission. Modest extensions and alterations can be undertaken without a planning application under Permitted Development rights. In any case you should contact the local authority before planning any works.
A basement or cellar conversion as an excellent a way of adding value to your property, while at the same time improving your standard of living. Converted basements can be used as games rooms, a home cinema, a home office or simply extra living space. The cost of a basement or cellar conversion will obviously vary depending on the size of your property, the size of your basement area, plus of the course the design. But, as a general guideline, a basement conversion including digging, plastering and structural renovation will typically cost between £750 and £1,400 per m2, if the floor level needs to be lowered and underpinning is required the costs will rise to around £2,000 per m2, whereas digging out a brand new basement space and underpinning will cost from £2,000 to £3,000 per square metre.
These rule of thumb costs do not include creating a new stairwell (an extra £500 to £1000), or fees in connection with building regulations or planning permission. The free service on MyJobQuote will help you easily find recommended builders and basement conversion companies in your local area and gather quotes from them. When comparing quotes ensure you are comparing like for like, for example check if VAT is included and architects or other professional fees for drawings, planning permission or building regulation approval.
In some basement conversions you may also have to account for additional administrative costs. Although planning permission is rarely required for modest refurbishments or alterations to an existing basement space. It is best to seek advice from a professional regarding building regulations and planning permission in your area. Costs will vary depending on your local council, but on average a building regulations application will cost around £750.00 and a planning permission application will cost around £165. These costs will not normally be included in basement conversion estimates, so please check all quotes and paperwork carefully. In addition, some conversions will require party wall agreements with your neighbour which will typically cost around £70.00 per neighbour per party wall.
Rather than simply looking through the Yellow Pages, you can find the "post your job" button to the left of this page which will allow you to quickly and easily provide details of the building work you require, then local recommended builders near you can get in touch to provide quotes and give advice on the project. Always get at least 3 quotes to compare prices, but do not base your decision entirely on price, check references and membership of trade associations.
Trade associations are not compulsory for builders and the best known of the building trade associations is the Federation of Master Builders. It costs new builders £370 for an annual membership and the Federation of Master Builders carries out reference checks on its new members, though it does not carry out physical checks on the quality of members’ actual work. Never the less, membership of an approved trade body gives some peace of mind.