Basement Conversions Frequently Asked Questions.

Q. Can we have a basement conversion?

A. If you have an existing basement the answer is usually yes.

Q. Do we need planning permission and/or building regulations approval?

A. See page – Planning & Regs

Q. How much head height do I need to comply with the building regulations?

A. There is no regulation for height in respect of the floor to ceiling height. There is a requirement to achieve a height of 2metres at the bottom step of the staircase. This can be achieved in several ways. All our staircases are designed to comply with the regulations.

Q. What does tanking mean?

A. Tanking is a term which is used quite loosely in the construction industry. It is simply referred to when the discussion is about waterproofing (making sure the basement remains dry)

Q. My basement is dry so why does it need waterproofing?

A. Again the term dry is used loosely and often refers to the visual appearance of the basement.

All materials that make up a building contain some moisture. In addition the fact that the basement is partly/wholly underground means that some of the walls are earth retaining. The earth gets wet due to rainfall and some of this water enters the structure of the basement. In a well ventilated basement this moisture is often removed to the outside of the building.

When you renovate a basement without waterproofing it the moisture will be trapped behind the new wall and floor surfaces and start to degrade them almost immediately.

Q. My basement has never flooded.

A. All basements have the potential to flood due to the fact that they are below ground level. This is due to fluctuating water tables or periods of prolonged rainfall which can form a perched water table on the ground your home is built on. If your house is built on clay then effectively your basement is built in a clay sump. As the water table rises then so does the hydrostatic pressure. Water then passes from a point of high pressure to a point of low pressure through the path of least resistance. The low pressure side is within the basement hence flooding occurs. The hydrostatic pressure is greatest at the junction of the wall and floor as there is both upward and lateral pressure.

Q. My basement floods every year – can you guarantee to keep it dry?

A. Yes. We will issue you with an insurance backed guarantee.

Q. We haven’t got a lot of head room – can my basement be dug out?

A. Possibly. We can excavate only as far as the existing foundations allow. If further excavation is required then either underpinning will be necessary or a stepped floor can be constructed or a combination of both.

Q. How long does a basement conversion take?

A. That really depends on several factors. They range from a few weeks to a few months. After carrying out a feasibility study we would be able to give you a good indication of time.

Q. Do we need to move out?

A. Not normally. All the work is usually done without disruption to the rest of the property.

Q. Is there much mess?

A. No. We will protect your driveway/garden areas.

Q. Do we have to stay in all day?

A. No. you can carry on with your normal routine.

Q. What about welfare facilities for your staff?

A. We normally provide a serviced portaloo so that we aren’t disturbing you.