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Basement conversion...who's had one?

(4 Posts)
RainbowLoom Sun 04-Jan-15 09:01:41

Interested to hear from anyone who has had a basement conversion....did you move out during the work, was it straightforward, and what made you decide to build down rather than move?
Thank you much!!!!

Fayrazzled Sun 04-Jan-15 09:09:40

We had one 6 years ago in a Victorian terrace. The cellar already existed so it was a case of digging out the floor to give more head clearance, tanking throughout, fitting a pump system in the floor, enlarging the window etc. it was a fairly big job, lasted about 10 weeks as I recall. It was started in January so made the rest of the house freezing! We stayed in the house and it wasn't too bad as the builders didn't need to come through the house to work- they went in and out the front if that makes sense. At the height of the works there were 11 men down there digging out!

It made a big difference to us: gave us a useable extra reception room, utility room, small bathroom and study area. We didn't want to move house as we loved the location and this gave us much needed extra space. You need builders experienced in basement conversions though. Any questions, please ask me.

RainbowLoom Sun 04-Jan-15 10:31:00

Thanks very much - are you in the London area, and if so, would you mind telling me (or PMing) the name of the company you used.
Our layout would be the opposite, so that the builders would need to come through the house to get to the site, as we slope away at the back of the house. I've lived through building work before, and it's fine, but we now have more kids, who are obviously getting older, and taking up more space, and I'm not sure how well they would manage living in a building site...
However, if I'm using a good builder with a clear project plan of what is happening each week, then I think that makes it much more manageable - my builder has always tended to over promise, and then take much much longer!!!
Did you have any surprises during the project - the research I've done suggests that there is an element of the unknown when digging down, in terms of what will be under the house, which can add on time and cost - did you experience this?
Thanks!

Fayrazzled Tue 06-Jan-15 14:18:43

Sorry, only just come back to this. Am not in London I'm afraid, I am in Yorkshire.

There were a couple of elements of surprise: the first was that the foundations of the house in one corner at the back did not go far down enough (apparently quite common in Victorian houses) and this was only apparent once they started digging out. This involved a further trip out for the surveyor and the attendant cost, but that didn't add that much. As a result the utility room had to be a bit smaller than we had hoped but it wasn't a deal breaker. The second was that B uilding Control insisted on a fancier pump system than the one the builder had originally specified- but again, it wasn't a huge amount of money in terms of the overall project. Building control were very interested in the drainage, but that might be because we live fairly near to a water course anyway.

Other than that it was quite straightforward. A specialist sub-contractor did the tanking and that came with a 25 year guarantee. Touch wood, we've never had problems with any of it. It does mean you can't hammer things into the walls though; there is a fitted cabinetry in the utility room" though. I'm not quite sure how they got it up though!

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