Problems You May Encounter with Basement Conversion



Basement conversions are the new solution to creating more space in a home or commercial property. It gives a solution to the ongoing space problem that residents and industries have in London. So instead of using up space on the sides of your property unnecessarily, you are using the space you already have by going downwards.

A basement conversion is a very big investment that needs some planning and consideration before you can actually go through with it. There are a few things you need to consider before getting your basement or cellar converted. Here are a few problems you may encounter during a basement conversion.

Since there has been a sudden boom of basement construction applications in the United Kingdom, with it there has come a fair amount of past failure rates and an impending reform. Below some issues associated with basement planning, construction and waterproofing will be outlined and discussed.

National House Building Council Outlines Basement Issues

The National House Building Council (NHBC) which is the UK’s leading home construction insurance and warranty provider for new build homes launched a basement campaign in 2013 outlining various workmanship issues involved with basement construction.

NHBC states that from 2005 to 2013 alone there were 890 homes affected by basement claims made costing NHBC around £21 million. There seems to be a considerable amount of claims to registrations which has said to be occurring 1600 times more than foundation claims. This has made it a challenge to ensure that the quality of build is at the highest possible standard.

Since the basement campaign, NHBC has been working with key figures and organisations within the safe build sector. Together they have addressed several problems related to basement construction and proposed several initiatives to get the standards back on track.

The initiatives include having a new chapter included within the NHBC basement standards which was delivered in 2015. This new basement chapter has said to provide practical guidance for the construction of basements as well as the structural waterproofing.

Key Areas of Basement Conversion Before Construction

In order to be safe and ensure that your basement is going to hold up in the long run, you and a basement contractor will need to go over some factors. These key basement construction factors include:

·         Make sure that any site, ground and foundation investigations have been done and the results are safe to support the chosen design of the basement. This includes water levels.
·         Ensure that the important construction points of the chosen waterproofing system have been detailed before the construction
·         Make sure that you are satisfied with the waterproofing system you have chosen and it is a suitable grade for any potential risks
·         Have a trained and competent basement contractor to install the chosen waterproofing system
·         Ensure that the basement contractor is using value engineering and only uses products that have valid independent certification
·         Double check that the basement conversion is compliant with basement guidelines and legislations such as the NHBC CH5.4 and The Basement Information Centre New Guidance Document.

Value Engineering Basement Construction

Value engineering (as mentioned above) is a term used to refer to the act of engineering to the highest possible standard required by regulations and legislations without adding more unnecessary costs to the project. It picks quality over quantity and is essential at the start of any project, not just basement construction.

Look for a basement construction company that uses value engineering because they are reliable and trustworthy. You will be certain that you are getting the results that you want without cutting corner or being taken advantage of.

Can My Basement Be Converted?

This is the very first question you need to ask. A professional will be able to tell you the answer to this. Although a basement conversion is a common building task and can be done there are certain requirements that need to be met in order to make the property safe for a basement or cellar conversion. There are also certain regulations that may not allow you to get your basement converted, which is why planning permission is required. In other cases, a basement conversion is not possible; it all depends on the judgement of the professional basement conversion company.

Disruption to the Property

The process of getting your basement converted involves a lot of digging and moving around. Even though your basement is underground, you might find that you and your family need to move out of the house or at least move a few things around. In most cases a basement conversion company in London will allow you to stay in the property during the basement construction however, you may experience some disruption in your daily routine.

Underpinning Foundations

For a lot of property owners underpinning safety is a major concern. Only a trained and knowledgeable contractor will be able to do a good job safely. Underpinning is the task of creating an extension of the property’s existing foundation or load bearing walls. It is done backwards in a sense because the contractors are going downwards from your property floor to create the basement walls.

Rest assured, the guidance and reassurance of a qualified professional will put you at ease. The task of underpinning is difficult and messy, but can definitely be done safely. Speak with your basement contractor to see what their plans for underpinning are. If your current cellar or basement is big enough, it won’t need the additional work.

Insulation and Waterproofing

Making sure that the foundation of the basement is strong is a vital step in making sure that your new basement or cellar conversion fulfils its lifetime. In order to ensure that your basement doesn’t get flooded and your walls don’t develop rot or mold, it needs to be waterproofed. Basement waterproofing is the process of adding material to reinforce the walls, ceilings, floor and corners to ensure that no water affects the structure’s integrity.

Insulation is also needed because it can get cold underground. Just like how insulation is needed in a rood structure to keep heat circulating, a basement or cellar will need the same.

UHM Basements have completed dozens of basement conversions for London home-owners and are experts in what they do. Their services range from basement conversion to basement waterproofing.


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