Basement extensions are becoming increasingly popular in the UK and the trend looks as if it will continue for some time yet. There has been a lot in the news over the past few years about wealthy property owners building mega basements, but even the less wealthy are turning to basement extensions to give them some much needed additional space in their homes.
It was reported last year that Britain has seen an 183% increase in planning applications for basement extensions, with London being at the forefront of this trend. Loft conversions have been popular for a while as an attempt to get around the issue of a soaring property market, but now basements are seeing an even higher growth rate. Figures show that basement conversion applications have numbered over three thousand annually since 2014.
Why are Basement conversions and extensions so popular?
A large reason for this is that house prices are rising faster than incomes. And it is becoming increasingly expensive to move up the property ladder, not only due to the rise in house prices, but also because of the estate agent fees, stamp duty and conveyancing fees. Mortgage lenders are also being less generous since the credit crunch. As a result it can make a lot more sense for homeowners to increase the space they have available by building up or digging downwards.
New basements are a particularly attractive option for those who live in towns and cities in terraced or semi-detached properties, or in areas where they are not allowed to build large above ground extensions. Building downwards offers the only solution to increase space other than moving.
New developments in building materials, techniques and most importantly waterproofing systems have made basement conversions much more achievable and useful than they used to be. Whether converting an existing basement into habitable accommodation or excavating to create a basement where none existed previously, these new spaces can be made remarkably light and airy despite being underground.
Government policy has also encouraged local councils to be more supportive of these types of extensions, as they are considered to be environmentally friendly. Energy requirements are reduced as they absorb warmth from the ground and a house with a basement is likely to be around ten percent more energy efficient.
Considerations for a basement extension
If you’re considering adding extra space to your home via a basement, you will need to ensure that you get planning permission from your local authority. You may also need your neighbours’ written consent if you share a wall with any of them.
You will obviously also need to inform your insurer, as with any significant building work, as it will affect the structure of the building. If you are planning to use the space as bedroom accommodation there might also be additional implications so do check before you go ahead with any work.
Because a basement extension is quite a major change you also need to ensure that you choose an architect and/or builder that you trust, not only to do the work to a high standard but also to get all the relevant permissions and Building Regulations approvals.
If you’d like to discuss this with MSK Design, please do give us a call. We are able to manage your project from inception to completion and have an excellent understanding of both local and national planning and development requirements to ensure the process is as painless as possible.