Basement Conversion FAQs
At Convert My Basement we encourage our clients to ask questions throughout the conversion process. Basically asking questions means that we can inform you of any technicalities regarding to any aspect of the project, and in the early stages assist you with designing a dream expansion for your home. Here we’ll take a look through a number of the most frequently asked questions pertaining to basement conversions and ourselves in general.
How Long Will My Basement Conversion Take?
There’s no catchall answer to this question as properties differ so much according to dimension, structural construct and water level. That’s before we get to the planning and party wall stages! However the question also works both ways, as depending on what you want from us.
Some of our clients will have all the paperwork and plans in hand and be ready to get on with the task in hand; whereas others sill work with us right the way through the process. Likewise some clients are happy just to take us on for the construction stage and leave fittings and fixtures for a third party. So really the length of time depends on the size of the job, the stage we’re at, and what you’d like us to do.
As a rough aggregate for a medium sized project the whole process can take as little as two months, all the way up to a year for more complicated cases. Upon visiting you our surveyor will give an estimated timescale with absolutely no obligation.
I Don’t Have A Cellar Or A Basement … Can You Build Me One?
In the vast majority of cases – certainly. An existing cellar or basement will speed the process along, but with our excavation tools and expertise we’d be happy to help.
How Much Head Height Is ‘Right’ For My Basement Conversion?
Most of our clients find that a head height of 2.6 meters is a good enough to avoid the basement feeling claustrophobic – but of course we can go deeper if needs be. Bear in mind to try and remember to explain this to our surveyor when he visits, as it will likely extend the timescale and cost of the works.
What About Planning Permission?
Provided the room is going to be used as a habitable space you will 95% need planning permission for the project. Exceptions do occur, for example if the basement is already being used as a inhabited room, and we’re performing an extension that will not alter the outside view, yet most likely planning permission will be needed. The documents needed from planning usually take around two months, and our team of experts, surveyors and architects will be happy to help guide you through this process.
How About A Multiple-Floor Basement Conversion
We can do these provided the property is not in a London borough that has planning exemptions in place preventing conversions going too deep. Really this all depends on where you are, and we’d be happy to help you look into it to see if it’s possible through our expert team devoted to such projects.
Should I Move Out?
There will be some unavoidable noise but our teams take your personal space very importantly and will strive to limit disruption. Certainly some of our clients take on a short-term rent, but really it’s a personal call. The site manager (who is dedicated to your project) can see if there’s anything they can do to help should you find the disruption too much.
What About Party Wall Agreements?
These are contracts between you and the neighbour of any shared wall or with a property within 3m of the basement wall. As the wall is shared you need their agreement two months ahead of the commencement of work, and they have the right to appeal and refuse. If immediate agreement cannot be met then you will be obliged to employ independent surveyors to assess the case and see if compromise can be reached. We have dedicated Party Wall Surveyors who are great at resolving disputes, and if needed will be only too happy to put you in touch with them.
Do You Cover The Whole Of London?
Convert My Basement can operated generally throughout London with only a couple of exceptions. Please give our customer support team a call and they’ll be glad to help find out for sure.
How About Insurance & Guarantees For The Work You Perform?
We provide three forms of insurance:
- Company backed ten years structural guarantees
- Insurance backed ten years for all waterproofing
- Manufacturer backed thirty years guarantee on all Delta Membrane Waterproofing Systems
We hope this has answered some of the general questions that we receive, and look forward to hearing from you.