Basement Conversion London Blog

What is Drained Protection in Basements?


The protection method commonly known as 'tanking' is referred to as drained protection in the construction industry. This method involves managing groundwater penetration through the implementation of an internal drainage system. This system typically comprises drainage channels and sump pump systems, which are utilized to collect and remove water. Additionally, vapour barrier drainage membranes may be included to isolate the internal basement environment from damp and wet wall and floor substrates. When all necessary considerations applicable to a given scheme are duly considered, drained protection can provide low-risk solutions.

To simplify, this protection method involves lining the walls and floors with dimpled cavity drainage membranes, similar in appearance to the back of an egg box but smaller. The walls are then dry lined and plastered, and the floors are finished in screeds or floating timber. Beneath this layer, a drainage system is installed which will either drain out at low ground if in a hillside position or be linked to fixed floor drains or a sump station.

Drained Cavity Systems

A Drained Cavity within the basement or sub-structure refers to a pre-formed cavity that is designed to intercept and drain away water ingress in compliance with BS8102: 2009 Type C (Drained) protection. This cavity is relied upon to collect groundwater seepage through the structure and channel it to drains or a sump for removal on a permanent basis. It is imperative to ensure that the external basement structure provides sufficient resistance to water ingress to ensure that the cavity only accepts a controlled amount of water when selecting a suitable water management system.

Cavity Drain is a profiled HDPE sheet cavity former that offers a clear and safe route for water seepage into an existing or new basement while also providing a vapour barrier. This low-risk form of construction can be used for all Grades of basement. Cavity Drain is installed inside the basement structure and onto the structural slab.

The design must incorporate facilities for inspection and draining ground water ingress, which may involve the use of Aqua Channel at the wall/floor junction or casting the structural slab to falls to direct water to pumped collection sumps and/or to gravity-fed drainage systems.

What are the different types of Basement Conversions?


Transforming your basement is a highly lucrative investment that can significantly increase the value of your home. With careful upkeep and protection, your basement can become a desirable and functional space. If you're considering converting your basement into a livable area, it's worth exploring the most popular options available in the UK. Investing in a basement conversion is a big decision, but one that's increasingly popular among London homeowners. A basement offers complete privacy and a secluded area that can be used for a variety of purposes, from a kitchen to a cinema room, swimming pool, or gym. Depending on your budget and needs, there are several types of basements to choose from. Don't hesitate to explore your options and transform your basement into the ultimate living space.

Full Basement Conversion

The full basement conversion is the most comprehensive type of basement that can be created under your home, including any extensions. This conversion adds the maximum amount of space to your property, essentially creating a whole new floor. It is also the most expensive option starting at £400-600k (plus VAT), and takes the longest time for design, planning, and construction.

Half Basement Conversion

Opt for a half-basement conversion to create a brand new space underneath the main part of your house, excluding any extensions. This option starts at a cost of £150k (plus VAT) and provides ample room for an additional room beneath the main section of your home. Our expert architectural teams can also design a lighting well to accompany your new basement area, enabling more light to enter your newly created space and even generating a small outdoor area at the front or rear of your property.

Garden Basement Conversion

Introducing the garden basement - a fantastic option for those seeking extra space without disrupting the main structure of their home. With a starting cost of £150-200k (plus VAT), this type of basement conversion requires a garden area on your property. However, it is a much simpler construction process than other types of basements and can be used for hobbies or storage. Don't hesitate to consider this option if you need additional space, as it has a similar timeframe to other basement types.

Cellar Basement Conversion

For those seeking a more compact storage space, a coal cellar basement is an ideal option. This type of basement is thin and located underneath your home without a lighting well. It is perfect for storing perishables that require a cool, dark environment, such as wine. The cost of a coal cellar basement starts at £50k (plus VAT), and our surveyors will provide you with detailed information on the available options and timelines during your complimentary site survey. Choose a coal cellar basement for an efficient and effective storage solution.

In London, local Borough councils have implemented stringent regulations governing the type and depth of basements that can be constructed for many properties. It is imperative to consult with your local building authority to determine the feasibility of your basement plans, and to discuss your options with one of our surveyors who have conducted their own investigations. Rest assured, Basement Conversion London can transform your basement into a revitalized space for you and your loved ones, subject to planning permission and your financial resources.

What can go wrong in a Basement Conversion?


Basements can be a fantastic solution for many projects in London, whether you're building from scratch or renovating your existing cellar. They provide an opportunity to increase the value of your property and create living spaces. You can even incorporate luxury amenities like hidden swimming pools, saunas, game rooms, gyms, home theaters, and more.

In some cases where space is limited or buying a property is too expensive, converting an existing cellar or extending downwards can be a smart and cost-effective choice.

However, before you dive into this kind of project it's crucial to plan and execute it to ensure an outcome. Dealing with any issues that may arise underground can be stressful and expensive. So what factors should you consider before moving 

Before Starting Off

Firstly it's important to assess the likelihood of obtaining planning consent. Some London councils are currently hesitant to grant permission for this type of development due to concerns about its impact on neighboring properties.

Secondly, think about the purpose you want your basement to serve. There are three categories; storage space; parking area; or living accommodation. Each category has requirements, in terms of water resistance that will affect the design considerations.

Are basements feasible based on the site conditions? It's important to research to determine this. Analyze flood data, for the area. Determine the groundwater level as these factors will influence the type of waterproofing system or tanking required. Additionally, a site investigation is necessary to assist the structural engineer in establishing foundation depths.

What construction method would be most suitable? There are options depending on the conditions identified in your surveys and investigations. For existing houses, even those with existing cellars underpinning may be necessary to increase head height and effectively transfer loads. Alternatively for basements mass concrete walls (ideal when ample space is available) or concrete-filled blockwork can be used.

How should it be waterproofed? There are external tanking systems designed for different types of projects. Your design team must select the solution for your project so it's advisable to consult experts who specialize in this type of work. In some cases, a combination of two methods may be employed.

Potential challenges

Fortunately, structural integrity issues, with converted basements are rare occurrences. However, if proper surveys are not conducted and their findings are not taken into account the consequences can be devastating.

For instance, there have been cases where the water pressure in the soil surrounding a building is substantial enough to cause the basement to lift. Addressing this issue without replacement is extremely challenging.

Why Do You Need a Party Wall Agreement for Basement Conversion?


Why is it essential to have a party wall agreement for basement projects?

Well, when you dig a hole near another house and even under your own it's crucial to ensure proper design and execution. All you wouldn't want is someone's living room accidentally falling into the excavation! The underpinning of existing walls must be meticulously executed.

We've noticed that every basement project in London has resulted in some degree of damage ( minor) occurring even when the projects were well-designed, effectively managed, and properly constructed. The nature of work is invasive and building issues are bound to arise. This extract from BBC Inside Out demonstrates the type of damage that can occur.

What do we suggest? 

Before you start any basement construction work it's important to engage in discussions with your neighbors regarding the party wall. We can also guide you if your neighbor plans to carry out a basement excavation.

This is because if there is no connection between your property and your neighbors the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 mandates that you serve an Adjacent Excavation Notice under section 6 of the Act when you dig within 3 meters of your neighbor's property and go deeper, than their foundations.

Considering the complexity involved in constructing basements we highly recommend involving a Party Wall Surveyor at the initial stage to gather information and communicate effectively with your neighbors.

Do I need a Party Wall Surveyor?

If your basement is not in a detached property and if any excavations are within three meters of another property you will require a Party Wall Agreement. In this case, it is important to hire a party wall surveyor, with expertise and experience in dealing with basements.

To proceed with the Basement project it is crucial to gather all the right information;

1. Ensure you have all the basement calculations and engineering drawings for the works. In some cases, these can be prepared while dealing with Party Wall matters.

2. Obtain drawings to have an understanding of the project.

3. The significant document you'll need is the works information, which outlines how the basement excavation will be carried out. This is crucial because neighboring properties are at risk during this phase concerning potential extensions involving Party Walls.

4. Verify soil conditions by examining borehole and trial hole data.

5. It's important to secure funds for any expenses that may arise due to damages caused by the works on neighboring properties. This can be done by setting aside money in an escrow account, which will cover any work if required.

6. This situation often arises when undertaking high-risk projects particularly when neighboring properties have already undergone their construction work like loft conversions involving Party Walls. We suggest engaging a Surveyor to protect your interests and calculate funds, for the escrow account is essential.

If any damages are discovered after the completion of the works the Party Wall Surveyor will examine them and come to an agreed-upon financial arrangement. This agreement serves as a binding document, for all parties involved. 

Ideas to Transform your Basement into a Fun Space


An unused basement represents a missed opportunity to create a cozy and valuable living environment. If you happen to have a basement and are seeking ideas, on how to transform it into usable space then you've come to the right place.

In this guide, we will explore a variety of practical suggestions for converting your basement. Additionally, we will provide some considerations that should be taken into account during the conversion process.

Inspiration for Basement Conversion

There are possibilities for utilizing your basement space to enhance your home. In fact, the potential for basement conversions is only limited by one's imagination. With the designs and plans, in place, your basement can be transformed into anything you desire!

To assist you in making a decision we have compiled a list of some practical ideas for converting your basement.

Converting a basement can seem like an undertaking requiring a significant amount of time, effort, and money. However, once it's finished it's important to embrace and enjoy the space you've created. When it comes to decorating your basement there are possibilities, for creating a practical area. Drawing from our experience here are some ideas that we love!

An Area for Entertainment and Games

A basement provides the setting for hosting parties and get-togethers. Picture transforming it into a retro gaming paradise with pinball machines, air hockey tables, and a classic pool table. Set the mood with LED lighting at ground level to create an inviting glow and cozy atmosphere.

A Haven for Relaxation

In these times having your own relaxation space is priceless. Your basement could be transformed into an oasis where you can unwind completely. How about including a ball pit or even a dedicated cocktail bar? The options are endless. Each choice adds value to your home.

Fitness and Leisure

Basements are ideal for fitness enthusiasts as well. You might consider installing a swimming pool that offers opportunities for staying active while also providing fun for the family or hosting children’s parties. Adding features, like sauna rooms or gym areas can further enhance the space.

Imagine the joy of swimming while listening to your songs through a sound system that has been expertly installed!

Creating a Home Cinema Experience

If you're a movie enthusiast transforming your basement into a home cinema is, like a dream come true. With blinds and comfortable seating, you can create your movie theater. Picture yourself enjoying some popcorn under a blanket as you watch movies without any interruptions and, in comfort.

These ideas are just scratching the surface when it comes to the possibilities of converting your basement. Our team is here to listen to your ideas and assist in bringing your vision to life. Don't hesitate to contact us via phone or email so we can start planning the transformation of your basement!

Creating a Guest Room

If you want your guests to truly feel at ease in your home it's important to offer them their space where they can unwind and relax during the evenings. However, not every property has room to accommodate this need. If you happen to have a basement that's currently unused consider transforming it into a living area specifically designed for accommodating guests. Take some time to consider what amenities and features your guests might appreciate and create a plan to bring this project to life in the most optimal way possible.

Create a Basement Man Cave

Sometimes we all need a break, from our daily routines. Treat ourselves to some personal indulgence. For those seeking a place where they can unwind and do their thing a basement man cave provides the solution.

A basement man cave can be tailored to your liking. The key is having a space where you can pursue hobbies enjoy games or simply relax. Some popular uses for man caves include;

 A bar area

 A small scale microbrewery

 A room equipped with darts, pool table or table tennis

 A home gym setup

 A recording studio or band practice room

 of its purpose the important aspect of your man cave is that it offers an escape, from the rest of your home—a sanctuary where you can truly enjoy some "me time." If you're looking for ideas to inspire your man cave creation...

Build a Swimming Pool

According to the report, on the swimming industry in the UK, it has been noted that 27 swimming pool facilities have closed down in the year. Some individuals find it difficult to allocate time for visiting swimming pools. Transforming a basement into a pool is among the ideas for converting basements. It serves as an option for those with outdoor space who desire to have their own pool on their property regardless of the circumstances. However, it's important to remember that constructing a swimming pool can pose challenges. Numerous crucial factors need to be taken into account when undertaking such a project. It is advisable to seek assistance, from a professional who can help turn this dream into reality.

Build a Wine Cellar

Creating a wine cellar, in the basement is an aspiration for wine enthusiasts. The basement provides an environment to effectively preserve and safeguard your collection of wines with vintage value. By designing this space it can be transformed into an area, within your home.

Build a Utility in the Basement

Basement extensions are quite popular in London as they can provide a space for a utility room. It's really convenient to have a utility area from the rest of the house. The first step is to plan everything. Take into account every detail to ensure the basement conversion is comfortable and practical. How many washing machines and tumble dryers do you intend to have in the room? Don't forget about heating, drainage, and ventilation too. Remember that while this room doesn't need to be aesthetically pleasing it should be user-friendly, for all family members.


Cost of a Basement Conversion in 2024


Understanding the Expenses Involved in Basement Conversions in 2024

While its widely acknowledged that transforming a basement can be a complex and expensive undertaking it is often a worthwhile investment. This is particularly true in space-constrained areas like London, where the added value to a home can outweigh the expenses. On average basement conversions are priced at around £1,600 - £1900 per meter. (this is a rough estimate as of December 2023)

Key Factors Affecting Cellar Conversion Costs

Several factors can influence the cost of a basement conversion;

Type of Project; Converting an existing basement tends to be less expensive than excavating a new one.

Size of Conversion; The overall cost increases as the basement area grows.

Intended Use of the Basement; The purpose of the conversion impacts the level of renovation required. For instance, utility basements have requirements compared to living spaces, which affects costs.

Material Quality; Opting for quality and durable materials will raise expenses.

Basement Condition; If the basement is in a bad condition extensive work will be needed, leading to higher costs.

Finishing Touches; Allocate funds, for decoration and flooring to complete your transformation.

Cost Breakdown by Type of Basement Conversion

Standard Cellar Conversion; Converting an existing basement typically incurs costs compared to constructing a new excavation site. The typical cost, for each meter is approximately £1,600 to £1,800. 

If you have a home in Central London there's a chance it already has a basement. Converting these basements into spaces usually comes with a price tag of around £1,600 to £1,800 per meter which is similar to what you would expect for other types of properties.

When it comes to remodeling basements the costs can range from £1,000 to £1,800 per meter. The final cost depends on factors such as the size of the basement, excavation requirements, waterproofing needs, and the types and quality of materials used.

To accurately estimate the cost of converting your cellar into space it's important to consider these aspects;

Size and Scope; Evaluate the size of your basement or cellar. Determine how much excavation work will be needed.

Purpose and Materials; Decide how you plan to use the space and factor in the costs associated with materials required for that purpose.

Additional Work; Include expenses related to work plumbing installation, plastering, painting, decorating, as well as fixtures like lighting or bathroom fittings.

Expert Advice; To get an accurate quote tailored to your project's specific needs and requirements consult with local basement specialists like us who can provide professional guidance.

Considering these elements during your planning phase and understanding them all will enable you to create an effective budget for your basement conversion project.

Bottom line

The total cost of a basement conversion depends on factors, such as size, complexity, and any unique custom features like a swimming pool. On average basement conversion London prices a basement extension at around £150k - 200k (+VAT). This estimate includes components such as soil excavation volume, floor-lowering requirements, architectural and planning services, material costs, and more. All these elements collectively determine the price of a basement conversion.


Why Garden Basements are the New Trend in London


Why 'Garden Basements are Gaining Popularity in London

In a city known for its mix of history and modernity residents of London are creating their havens amidst the bustling urban environment. One emerging trend that homeowners are increasingly drawn to is the concept of 'Garden Basements. These unique spaces combine greenery with the luxury of retreat and we will explore why they have become a prominent feature in London's architectural landscape.

An Oasis in the City

As urban areas continue to expand and become more crowded there is a growing appeal for having a sanctuary. Garden basements provide a solution by offering homeowners a slice of nature beneath their own homes. It goes beyond innovation; it represents a lifestyle choice embracing eco-friendly living amidst the concrete jungle.

Blurring Boundaries between Indoors and Outdoors

Garden basements seamlessly merge comforts with the charm of the outdoors. By incorporating glass ceilings and walls they allow natural light to fill the space bringing in the vitality and freshness of the garden into your living area. It's all about coexisting with nature, where the distinction, between inside and outside pleasantly fades away.

Multi-Purpose Areas

The beauty of garden basements lies in their versatility. These spaces can be transformed into a garden office or a luxurious spa retreat customized to suit preferences and needs. Just imagine hosting garden parties, in a setting that combines the elegance of comfort with the allure of outdoor charm. It's the fusion of practicality and aesthetic appeal.

Boosting Property Value

In London's real estate market properties that offer features stand out from the rest. A garden basement not only expands the living space it also adds a distinctive charm that can significantly increase the value of the property. It's an investment promising a return on investment while adding an extra touch of luxury and exclusivity.

Embracing Living

Garden basements signify more than luxury; they are a step towards sustainable living. By incorporating roofs and walls these spaces promote biodiversity contribute to reducing our carbon footprint and facilitate rainwater harvesting. They represent eco-living at its finest, where luxury intertwines, with responsibility.

Conclusion; The Future of Garden Basements

As Londoners aspire to discover their haven of tranquility and opulence amidst the vibrant cityscape garden basements are emerging as an ideal trend that perfectly caters to this desire.

It goes beyond a home improvement project; it's about improving the quality of life bringing a touch of nature to urban dwellings and designing spaces that blend seamlessly with the natural world.

Therefore with the rising popularity of garden basements in London now might be the moment to contemplate creating your green oasis. A place that exudes luxury, practicality, and a profound connection to the beauty of nature.

What are the Common Challenges in London Basement Conversions?


So you've got your eyes on that hidden treasure, beneath your London home also known as your basement right? Well first of all congratulations for thinking big! Basements have evolved from being storage spaces to becoming the new frontier in London's real estate market. Hey, you're not going into this blindly. You know there are challenges lurking in those corners. You're ready to face them head-on. Bravo! Let's uncover these challenges and address them one by one.

First and foremost let's demystify the age nemesis; dampness. In a city as rain-soaked as London this is likely the hurdle you'll encounter on your journey to convert your basement. But here's the spoiler; dampness can be conquered; yes! We've come away from ineffective waterproofing methods. With cutting-edge technology sump pumps and drainage solutions, at our disposal, we can transform your basement from a cave into a cozy sanctuary. So bid farewell to dampness. Bring in a professional who can handle the job with finesse.

Ah yes, natural light—or should we say its absence—is another consideration. Hey let's be honest no one wants to spend their evenings in a room that feels like some hideout. But here's the exciting part; modern architecture has come up with plenty of solutions. Have you ever heard of wells? How, about sun tubes? For those who love detective work why not "borrow" light from other rooms using reflective surfaces and mirrors? It's like taking advantage of light in the most brilliant and legal way possible. Ta-da! Your basement is now an inviting space.

Now let's talk about building regulations. Yes, they may not be the aspect of construction but ignoring them can lead to trouble. In London especially there are building codes that you definitely don't want to break. It's always wise to consult with experts who know all the ins and outs of London building regulations. Trust me it will give you peace of mind knowing that your new basement is fully compliant with the law. This attention, to detail, will pay off when your property value skyrockets and you're sitting pretty financially.

Ah yes, the challenge of space. You can't magically expand your basement walls like a pair of pants. There are ways to create illusions that make it feel more spacious than it actually is.

Imagine having made shelving that seamlessly lines the walls or furniture that serves purposes, like a seasoned actor. From tables to beds and nesting furniture, these pieces become your ultimate companions. By planning the layout even a modest basement can transform into an underground haven. When your friends step inside their jaws will drop as they ask incredulously "Is this really a basement?". You'll proudly nod in response.

One crucial aspect to address is reducing noise pollution. All you wouldn't want is your brand basement cinema experience disturbed by the sound of footsteps echoing above you right? That's where soundproofing comes to the rescue like a knight in shining armor. Whether it's panels or foam insulation there are options available. Once implemented you'll feel like you're in your oasis blissfully disconnected from the chaos happening upstairs.

Now let's address the elephant in the room; the budget. Converting a basement in London may not be as affordable as shopping at a discount store; however consider this an investment, rather than an expense. Rest assured that adding value to your property is almost guaranteed—should you ever decide to sell or rent it out—the transformed basement could become your ticket.

There are also financing options specifically designed for projects, like this so you never find yourself in a situation.

So there you have it a journey through the maze of challenges that come with transforming your London basement. But remember, each challenge holds the potential, for growth and success. By combining creativity, professionalism, and a touch of boldness your basement can become the highlight of your property. So why wait? Let's roll up our sleeves and get down to business, shall we?

Does a Basement Conversion Require Planning Permission?


Does a Basement Conversion Require Planning Permission?

Basements are a great option for people living in areas where there isn't much room to expand outward and digging down seems like the only solution. In recent years basement construction has become quite a topic in London leading many boroughs to tighten up their respective regulations. One example is Kensington and Chelsea which was the borough to implement a basement policy. According to this policy, basements cannot exceed 50 percent of the garden area. Must not have wells or railings at the front or side of the property. These measures aim to preserve the appearance and character of the neighborhood.

The rules governing the creation of living spaces in basements are constantly changing and in many are currently, under review in different boroughs across London. If you're considering building a basement it's best to consult with your local authority and planning department before starting any construction work.

Planning Permission for Basements

Typically you don't require planning permission when converting an existing basement or cellar into a living space. Converting a cellar to a living area is considered a "change of use " which means that planning permission is not necessary. However, if you're constructing a basement significantly increasing its size, or making changes that alter the external appearance of the property such, as adding a light well then planning permission is required.

If you need to lower the floor level of your cellar to increase ceiling height this may require planning permission. However minor extensions and alterations can often be carried out under Permitted Development Rights. Additionally, if your property is listed as a building you will likely need consent for any external modifications.

To ensure clarity and confirmation that planning permission isn't necessary, for your project it's advisable to contact your planning office in writing. Having documented proof that no planning permission was required can be valuable when selling your property in the future.

Is a Basement Extension Classed as Permitted Development?

In theory, converting an existing basement into a living space typically doesn't require planning permission. You can find information, about basement conversions on our site. However, it's important to note that like any home extension project falling under permitted development, there are rules that must be followed. For instance, if you plan to add features like a lightwell, railings, or skylight at the front of your property that significantly impact the appearance of your house you will likely need to apply for planning permission.

If the excavation work involved in creating a basement is extensive planning permission will likely be required.

Additionally, any of the conditions listed below would prohibit the development from being classified as permitted development. Would necessitate obtaining planning permission;

The creation of a separate residential unit.

Living in a conservation area. Having listed property status.

Having a property from permitted development rights (e.g., being a flat, than an entire dwelling).

Do I have to obtain building regulations approval if I want to extend my basement?

For any excavation work or expansion of a basement, you will need to obtain approval, from the building control authority locally in your borough or county.

Are there any permissions required for a basement extension?

In some cases, you will need to reach an agreement with your neighbors regarding party walls. This applies when the excavation is within three meters of a neighboring structure when it goes deeper than the neighboring structure foundations or when it is within six meters of the neighboring structure and falls within an area defined by a 45-degree line from that structure. If your property is leasehold you will also need permission from the freeholder as most residential leases require landlord approval, for alterations.

Ready for your Basement Conversion Project?

To determine if you need planning permission, for a basement extension based on your circumstances and property it is advisable to consult with your planning authority. For complex projects, it is generally recommended to seek guidance from an architect who can effectively communicate your intentions and navigate the process.

Basement extensions that involve excavation are typically more complex than extensions unless you are simply converting an existing space. The first step usually involves hiring an architect who can assist in hiring experts such as a structural engineer and party wall surveyor ensuring compliance, with legal requirements. Contact our team for more information.

Understanding Soil Structure Surveys


Understanding Soil Structure Surveys

A Soil Structure Survey also referred to as a Soil Investigation, Geotechnical Survey, or Site Investigation is an examination carried out to gain an understanding of the soil properties and characteristics in a location before commencing any construction project. This critical investigation offers insights, into the composition, stability, and other essential attributes of the soil.

Why Conduct a Soil Structure Survey?

Determining Soil Type; The type of soil plays a role in determining its load-bearing capacity, which directly impacts the design and structure of the foundation.

Identifying Potential Hazards; The survey helps identify issues such as soil instability, contamination or the presence of water tables that could potentially affect construction.

Planning for Construction; The information gathered from the survey aids in planning aspects of construction processes like selecting machinery or determining if any soil improvement methods are necessary.

Compliance with Regulations; In regions conducting a soil structure survey is mandatory to adhere to building codes and regulations.

What Does a Soil Structure Survey Involve?

A typical soil structure survey may include;

Desk Study; This initial step involves examining existing data and records, about the site and its surrounding area.

Site Inspection; This involves examining the site to identify any issues and determine optimal locations, for conducting detailed soil testing.

In depth Investigation; This step entails extracting soil samples using drilling or digging techniques, which are then sent to a laboratory for analysis. The analysis aims to understand the chemical properties of the samples.

Results and Reporting; The findings from the analysis are compiled into a report that provides insights into the composition, stability and other characteristics of the soil.

Importance in Construction; A soil structure survey plays a role in the building process as it provides data for designing safe and durable structures. It helps mitigate risks ultimately leading to a more predictable and efficient construction process.

Please note that this is an overview as specific methods and requirements for conducting a soil structure survey may vary depending on regulations, project size, site conditions, etc. Always seek guidance, from qualified geotechnical engineers or similar professionals when carrying out such surveys.

What are the Most Popular Uses for a Basement?


If you happen to have a basement in your house you might be pleasantly surprised to discover that it holds a lot of potential, for usable space. Typically basements and cellars tend to be gloomy, humid, and unwelcoming which explains why homeowners often resort to using them as storage areas. However, with planning and preparation, you can easily transform your basement into a functional area. Let's explore some of the favored ways homeowners utilize their basements.

1. Storage Space

Utilizing a cellar or basement space for storage is a normal practice in many households already. However, it's essential to organize and enhance the area by clearing any debris adding shelves and cupboards. This transformation can turn it into a storage spot for items rather than a place where things are haphazardly tossed and forgotten until the next move. Adequate lighting is also crucial in this regard so consider more, than a bare bulb hanging from the rafters.

2. Home Office

During the pandemic, many office workers were compelled to transition to work from home. Now that restrictions have eased a substantial number of us have realized that we're more productive and content with this arrangement. However, working from the kitchen table for periods can impose pressure on both you and other household members. It becomes necessary to establish a proper workspace. Your basement has the potential to transform into a home office offering you the luxury of an incredibly short commute.

3. Home Bar

Your bar at home can bring a touch of sophistication whether you're hosting a wine tasting event creating a neighborhood pub atmosphere or mixing up cocktails.

4. Games Room

Why limit the fun to video games? Consider setting up a game room where kids of all ages can enjoy ping pong, pool, foosball, or even classic pinball. Don't forget to include a table and chairs for board games or card sessions.

5. Home Gym

Finding time to make it to the gym can often disrupt the best-intentioned fitness plans. However, by setting up a gym in your home you can eliminate the need for commuting and remove any excuses. Working out at home is exceptionally convenient for individuals with children or busy work schedules.

All you need to get started is a piece of cardio equipment and a decent set of weights. With these essentials, you can design a workout routine that challenges and engages you. For those who enjoy following workouts consider installing a television in your home gym; alternatively you can catch up on your Netflix series while working out.

6. Home Cinema

If you consider yourself an avid movie lover why not indulge in the home cinema experience? Your basement presents an opportunity, for creating a movie haven since it's easy to darken the room and requires only a projector and comfortable seating options. To enhance the ambiance further consider adding popcorn cart curtains around the screen and subtle mood lighting to achieve that perfect cinematic feel.

7. Library

With the rise of digital devices book enthusiasts still enjoy the comfort of holding a physical page-turner in their hands. Finished basements provide an environment for bookshelves and cozy reading corners.

8. Playroom

Children thrive in spaces that allow their imaginations to take flight and basements can easily transform into settings for all kinds of make-believe adventures. They also serve as a storage area for toys, games, and art supplies – keeping them out of the way yet accessible whenever needed.

9. Additional Bedroom(s)

Having a guest room on the floor of your home might seem like wasted space if it's rarely utilized. Consider creating a bedroom nook or even a complete bedroom, in your basement to accommodate guests more efficiently.

10. Swimming Pools

Lastly, the swimming pool is why most townhouses in Mayfair, Chelsea, and Regents Park have extended their basements. Well, not every average household has the space or funds for this luxury. If there's a swimmer in your family you can consider installing a compact endless pool. It allows you to swim against a current while remaining stationary. Alternatively, you could opt for a pool designed for relaxation and rejuvenation. Perhaps even add a hot tub area and sauna. 

Is it worth converting your basement?


Is Converting Your Basement Worth It?

Are you looking to increase the living area in your house? Perhaps you haven't thought about utilizing the space on your property. It can be a wonderful solution to gain more space.

Don't worry about dark and damp environments anymore; modern basement architecture has made significant progress. With design techniques, you can create inviting and warm spaces that are just as bright, as the rest of your house.

Converting your basement can be a way to expand your living area and significantly increase the value of your home. Whether you already have an existing basement that you want to convert or you're starting from scratch with a brand room here are three compelling reasons why adding a basement is worth considering.

Ultimately the value of a basement conversion hinges, on requirements market circumstances, and the unique attributes of the property. Making this decision necessitates consideration and expert advice to ensure that the advantages align with the time and financial investment.

1. Enhancing the worth of your residence

A well-executed basement not only expands the floor area but also boosts the overall value of your property. In fact, basements often provide a great return, on investment compared to their construction costs in specific London postal codes. The average cost for converting a basement ranges from £4,500 to £6,000 per meter. Therefore in areas where the price, per meter exceeds this range incorporating a basement can prove to be a viable decision.

For instance in Chelsea the average cost, per meter for properties ranges from £10,000 to £15,000. By investing between £400,000 and £600,000 to add a 50 meters of basement space you could potentially increase the value of your property by around £750,000.

As house prices continue to rise in areas like Chelsea in London more homeowners are turning to basement conversions as an option when the cost per meter surpasses a certain threshold where adding extra space becomes financially feasible. Therefore it's crucial to consider both the value per meter of your property and the maximum sale price of homes in your area before proceeding with a basement conversion.

To illustrate this further; suppose your current house is valued at £1 million and you plan to allocate £500,000 for a basement project. In that case, it's essential to ensure that houses in your neighborhood have sold for, over £1.5 million.

2. Improve Energy Efficiency

When it comes to making your home more energy efficient considering a basement conversion is always a choice. This is because homes, with basements typically have several walls directly exposed to the elements along with enhanced insulation in both the walls and floors. As a result, this helps regulate temperature fluctuations, within your property ensuring that rooms don't heat up or cool down rapidly.

3. Make Your Property More Sealable

Adding a basement to your home not only increases its value but also makes it more appealing, to potential buyers. By expanding the floor space and incorporating features you create a property that stands out. Utilizing the basement allows for the transformation of living areas into functional spaces, which can greatly contribute to selling your home.

For instance, relocating utility or storage rooms to the basement opens up opportunities to create a bedroom with abundant natural light on the upper floors. These types of modifications have the potential to significantly enhance the marketability of your property.

Additionally, basement conversions can be a way to work within planning policies for your area. Even if you encounter challenges obtaining permission for extensions or loft conversions there may be flexibility when it comes to gaining approval, for a basement conversion especially if your property is listed or situated in a conservation area.

4. Extra Space For Growing Families

It's quite common for families to find themselves in a situation where they need to search for a place to live even if they are satisfied, with the location and layout of their home! However, having a basement can offer the flexibility to create bedrooms or rearrange the rooms in your house allowing for more bedroom space on the upper floors. For instance, many individuals choose to relocate their utility room, home office, or family area to the basement to free up space, for bedrooms on levels of their home.

5. Create a Better Living Environment

When our families grow and we start accumulating things it's natural to feel the need for more space. Instead of leaving a property that you love why not consider creating a living space that you can expand into?

Basements offer various possibilities like having a home theater, a wine cellar, a cozy relaxation area, a game room, a gym an office, an art gallery – you can even have a swimming pool down there! You can create a fun space for children. Make it an exclusive sanctuary for adults to unwind in the evenings. By moving functions like laundry, utility rooms, or storage to the basement you'll free up room, on the upper levels of your house. This will greatly improve the layout and functionality of your living spaces.

Preventing Damp in a Basement


Why are Basements Damp in London? 

Basements, by their nature, can be completely below ground level. While this does offer some insulation against temperature fluctuations compared to the rest of your home it's important to note that during spring and summer, basements tend to warm up. As a result, the walls, floors, ceilings, fixtures, and fittings may still retain a coolness even when the air becomes more humid. Consequently we often encounter concerns about dampness in basements during the months rather than in autumn and winter.

When humid air comes into contact with surfaces or enters the basement and gets cooled down further its relative humidity increases. In some cases, this increase is significant enough for condensation to occur and visible water droplets to form. However, before reaching this point mold growth can begin – an issue that often remains hidden within basements. It is this growth of mold that causes odors and damages furnishings. In some circumstances, it can also pose health risks. Over time, persistent dampness in your basement can cause damage; therefore, it is wise to take action at the first signs of a problem.

How to Treat a Damp Basement? 

It's always important to take action when you notice dampness. Here are some useful tips to deal with small scale problems and safeguard your basement from future moisture issues.

To begin with start by identifying the root cause of the dampness. If possible determine what is causing the humidity and moisture as this knowledge will help you resolve the issue efficiently.

Ensure that your basement is free, from any leaks. Repair any leakages or pipe breakages. Consider insulating your pipes to prevent condensation from pipes.

Proper ventilation plays a role in keeping your basement dry. Make sure you have efficient vents installed and make an effort to minimize humidity levels.

Using a dehumidifier in your basement can effectively control the moisture levels in the air.

However, there may be instances where seeking assistance from a professional becomes necessary for employing damp-proofing techniques to effectively dry out your basement. For example, basement tanking is an option that can prevent penetrating dampness and address any existing issues present in your basement.

For information about our services related to damp proofing and basement tanking, in London and the surrounding areas please feel free to reach out to us.


How to Maximise Natural Light in Your Basement

How to Bring Natural Lights to Your Basement

Natural sunlight plays an important role in how we decorate our homes and perceive them. The presence of light can make a space feel more comfortable and inviting. In the UK basements often tend to be gloomy and dim due to the absence of windows and adequate lighting.

When it comes to renovating your basement there are some things to keep in mind. Since the space is below ground level, proper ventilation and adherence to building codes are crucial. Additionally, you want your basement to be a living area. It's essential to consider more than just the construction aspect. Making sure there's ample natural light is key in preventing that cave feeling. Luckily with some design choices, you can bring in sunlight and transform your basement into an inviting space. Here are some features to consider when remodeling your basement;

Solar Tube

Consider using a solar tube that directly brings in natural light to your basement. Typically installed on the wall solar tubes contain mirrors that help guide the light and brighten up areas, in your basement.

Install Light Wells

Another option is to install wells. These are openings that allow natural light to enter your basement. Light wells can come in sizes ranging from sized windows to smaller ones. It's best to position them on the walls that receive sunlight throughout the day. This way they can effectively flood your basement with daylight.

Hang Up Some Mirrors

Take inspiration from solar tubes and hang mirrors in your basement. This will help reflect the light, from windows and solar tubes throughout the space. When hanging the mirrors consider the angles strategically. Imagine a line connecting the source to the mirror. See how it will bounce off and If you're having trouble visualizing where to place them shine a flashlight at the mirror to get a sense of how light will reflect.

Manage the lighting

With windows, solar tubes, an open floor plan, and mirrors all working together to bring light into your basement there may be times when you want to control or reduce brightness. Like when watching a movie downstairs. Retractable screens can be useful, in situations. Install them on your windows so that you can adjust and control the amount of light entering your basement. Deploy these screens when you want to enjoy a film or play video games to minimize glare caused by sunlight.

Open The Floor Plan

First start by considering the layout of your basement. It's important to ensure that there is a flow of light, throughout the space. We suggest avoiding overusing walls and taking into account the placement of windows when deciding where to position them. For instance, if there is a window on one wall make sure not to obstruct its path with any walls. You can place walls around the window and avoid positioning them perpendicular as it hinders the movement of light across different areas of the basement. The goal is for light to move seamlessly from one side of the basement to the other.

Similarly, when arranging furniture in your basement keep in mind that it shouldn't block or impede the flow of light and avoid placing bookshelves or large pieces in front of windows; instead position them parallel, to the windows.

Modify Existing Windows

Sometimes we don't fully realize the potential of our basement windows when it comes to letting in light. There are steps we can take to improve this situation like giving the glass a cleaning and using curtain rods that allow the curtains to be fully open.

However, some improvements might require assistance. For example, replacing glass with glass upgrading from small windows to larger ones, and removing security bars or grates that obstruct natural light.

Typically basement windows have hopper-style frames that tilt inward or outward for ventilation purposes. However, these frames tend to be quite thick and made of wood. It may be worth considering replacing them with sliding windows featuring vinyl or aluminum frames instead.

Use of Light Coloured Paint

The greater the glossiness the more resistant the paint becomes, offering added protection against moisture intrusion. Additionally, high gloss paint is easier to clean resulting in walls that stay bright and fresh.

To maximize brightness in a basement space opt for colors such as whites, off-whites, and pastels. This principle applies not only to the walls but to any furniture that you choose to paint and incorporate into the area.

Remove Clutter

One of the ways to make a basement room brighter is by removing any objects that obstruct the flow of light. Try to arrange your furniture against the walls rather than in the middle of the room and also consider finding places to hang your coats, towels, and laundry.

If you happen to use your basement for storage purposes the same advice applies. Try placing items on a wall or in an area that is rarely used. Keeping surfaces free, from clutter will help create a sense of spaciousness since spaciousness and light are interconnected.

Increasing Ceiling Heights

In some cases low ceilings can make a space feel even darker in basements. While the cost of raising the ceiling height can be high there are ways to achieve an effect without breaking the bank. For instance, choosing colors for the walls or using wallpaper can create the illusion of taller ceilings.

Glass Doors

Another method to maximize light in your basement is to incorporate glass elements indoors. This could entail installing glass partitions opting for glass doors or even using glass balustrades. The inherent reflective properties of glass not only enhance the existing light but also lend a more spacious and contemporary feel, to your basement.

What are the most effective waterproofing techniques for basements?


Effective Waterproofing Techniques, for Basements in London

When it comes to converting your basement waterproofing is absolutely crucial. It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to get it done right. Dealing with a basement can lead to a host of problems, which can significantly increase the costs of your conversion by making it difficult to pinpoint the source of the leak – something you definitely want to avoid! That's why we strongly recommend involving a Waterproof Design Expert from the start to guide you through the design process.

During your project, your Architect should help you find and coordinate with a Waterproofing Specialist. Choosing the experts and construction companies for waterproofing is highly critical due to its nature. Make sure you receive all the documentation and certifications as they can be helpful for warranty claims (if you ever decide to sell the property) or insurance claims (in case of leaks). Generally, manufacturers offer a 30-year warranty. We have experience, with DELTA Waterproofing systems.
Now lets explore the three methods of waterproofing;

Type A. External Waterproofing
This method works wonders for constructions that have plenty of space surrounding them. It's a way to prevent leaks. However, when houses are built close together having an amount of space to implement this method becomes challenging. Therefore it is generally not suitable, for conversions in London.

Type B. Waterproofing using Concrete/Slurry
In this technique, concrete is careful. Laid around the edges to prevent water from seeping. It works well for preventing water-related problems in London. However, we have noticed that over time there is a possibility of leaks occurring with this approach.

Type C. Cavity Draining Tanking System
This method involves installing a drainage system that collects all the water and directs it away from the conversion by means of a trench, around the perimeter. We highly recommend this approach as it not prevents but actively addresses any water issues that may arise during the conversion process.