So, what do you do with your home when you can’t go up or out to the side any further? You go down, of course! In the UK, we are lucky to have a huge number of Victorian and Georgian properties that come with cellars. Some of us are taking advantage of that space and getting a cellar conversion to turn wasted space into usable and livable space. In fact, some people are even creating a cellar where there was none. And we are doing it in ever-increasing numbers.
Why a cellar conversion?
A report from home mortgage lender Halifax from 2017 showed a 183% increase in planning applications for basement extensions since 2012, with the huge increase blamed on the costs of moving house. Stamp duty, conveyancing fees and estate agents fees are always needed when moving home so many people are now choosing to create new space. The problem has been compounded by the fact that increasing a mortgage is harder than ever and the jump from a 3 bed to a 4 bed can be a huge leap.
Factors to consider
Whether you are planning a conversion using an existing cellar space or building one from scratch, you will need to bear in mind a number of factors before you start:
- A cellar conversion can be harder to achieve than a loft conversion. It will require a higher level of scrutiny from building control – this is because of damp and safety issues.
- Planning permission may not be required as it falls within permitted development, however, you will need to ensure that insulation, fire escapes, fire doors and the use of the room meet regulations.
- Cellars are notorious for being damp, so tanking is essential. Hiring the right contractor with experience is your first step to a damp free cellar. Expect for the insulation and tanking to be a huge part of the cost.
- Some cellars are low in head height so you may need to dig down further to achieve a usable space. This may expose the area to more water or cause the rest of the house to become unstable. In this case, planning permission may be needed.