The market for basement conversions has exploded over recent years and while there was once a time where standard contractors would simply apply for such projects, nowadays the industry has got to a stage where there are specialist companies that dedicate all of their business towards the conversions.
If you happen to be using a company like what has been described above, you shouldn’t have any concerns about issues such as building regulations as the contractors should have everything in hand. However, if you have decided to take a DIY approach, you should be aware that the building regulations will apply to practically every element of your conversion and you must therefore design your cellar accordingly.
While we are not going to delve into every separate area of the regulations, we have detailed some of the most common ones that have to be satisfied if your basement is going to satisfy a building control officer…
Means of Escape
Anybody that has dabbled in any form of construction work in the past will probably be aware that Part B of the regulations is one of the most difficult to satisfy. It revolves around fire protection for a building and in relation to a basement, this usually focusses around the means of escape in case a fire starts.
If your basement has a window with an opening space of at least 0.33m2, you have very little to consider. However, with most basements having no windows at all, other precautions have to be taken. A FD20 self-closing door needs to be installed between the basement and the other rooms in the house, with this forming a protected escape route that will lead to a door out of the house. Suffice to say, this is just the tip of the ice berg in relation to Part B and considering the amount of varying situations that basements bring, you will need to scour this part to make sure that your room will be satisfactory.
Fortunately, the stairs are a little easier to define. If you are installing a new staircase, you should ensure that there is at least 2m headroom, with the pitch of the staircase being approximately 42 degrees.
The regulations are quite vague in relation to specific basement waterproofing mechanisms, although you will need to satisfy BS8102:2009 with the product that you use. Considering the destructive nature of moisture in basements, this is one of the primary issues you should consider with www.sovchem.co.uk having several reputable waterproofing systems that can eradicate any damp concerns.
The regulations for electrical work have changed extensively over recent years and you must ensure that any work is carried out by a Part P registered electrician. This will result in the work being officially certified and therefore being satisfactory in the eyes of a building control officer.
The regulations suggest that a ‘reasonable’ amount of insulation is applied to the walls of the basement, with many contractors opting for at least 50mm. This generally has to be boarded and compatible with the waterproofing system that you have decided to use.