Frequently Asked Questions
What planning permission do I need for a basement?
Planning regulations covering the creation of living space in basements is evolving and under review and can vary from county to county and from borough to borough in London.
Converting an existing residential cellar or basement into a living space or excavating below the footprint of the original house is, in most cases, unlikely to require planning permission. However, excavating to create a new basement which involves major works, a new separate unit of accommodation and/or alters the external appearance of the house, such as adding a light well, is likely to require planning permission. If you live in a listed building you are likely to need consent for internal or external work.
In all circumstances you are advised to contact your local planning authority for guidance on local policy before starting any work. At Cool Basements we have a dedicated team of architects and planning consultants who will advise and take care of planning requirements on your behalf.
What building regulations apply when constructing a basement?
Building regulations apply to all basement construction. This covers areas such as fire escape routes, ventilation, ceiling height, damp proofing, electrical wiring and water supplies. Underpinning and foundation work may also be needed. You must also consider the Party Wall Act 1996 if other properties adjoin yours and you share walls.
What is a party wall act?
Party walls stand on the land of two or more owners and form part of a building. This can also refer to garden walls. In accordance with the Party Wall Act 1996, you must tell your neighbours if you want to carry out any building work near or on your shared property boundary, or ‘party wall’, in England and Wales. Cool Basement’s experienced party wall surveyors will act on your behalf to secure the appropriate party wall agreements.
What insurances/guarantees do you have?
Our aim is to give our customers complete peace of mind so we go above and beyond the usual guarantees. We work to strict JCT building contracts, set out by the joint Contracts Tribunal, which means we ensure every element of the build is accounted for and completed on schedule. In addition we offer a full ten-year insurance backed guarantee on all our basement construction, which covers labour and materials. We use state-of-the-art tanking systems that come with a ten-year warranty and we offer a one-year warranty on minor defects such as cracking.
I am thinking about extending into a basement – what do I do next?
Adding a basement to your property can bring fantastic benefits. We can help you to explore the options so you get the most out of your new living space. The first step is to get in touch. We will then arrange a free site survey and initial consultation to understand more about your requirements. Every client is assigned with a dedicated project manager who will manage your build from the design stage through the planning process to the final construction and fit out. Read more about our simple seven-step process and take a look at our basement ideas gallery and Instagram for inspiration.