Do I need building regulations approval for work on my basement?
Building work above ground is not always readily available so it's quite common for city-dwellers to consider investing in the development of a basement to create extra living space.
There are key construction issues to bear in mind to ensure basements are properly designed and built – water ingress and structural stability of the existing superstructure are the main areas of concern, and it's crucial to get this work right because any failures will be very difficult and expensive to rectify later on.
Building regulations apply when constructing or refurbishing a basement, so it's important get the help of professionals to assess things like the geology and hydrology (earth and water) of the site, foundation design and waterproofing. For your specific project, it's best to contact your local building control team before starting work as they'll give you appropriate advice and guidance to help you ensure the structure is safe and fit for purpose. They'll be checking aspects such as:
- fire escapes
- damp proofing
In addition, you may need underpinning and foundation work and if you share walls with neighbours, you'll have to think about the Party Wall Act 1996 which deals with how to handle disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.
For more technical information on this type of project you can read our free guidance on the design and construction of basements.
Want to know more about working with basements? Read on...
- How to get it right: Basement work that avoids house collapse
- Basement waterproofing and how to comply with the Building Regulations
- How to get it right: working on or around a party wall