Can I Put A Beautiful New Bedroom In My Basement?
Want to add value, space and extra rooms to your current property? Converting your current cellar or basement, or creating one from scratch can be a fantastic way to gain sq footage and improve your home. But just because something looks like a good idea on paper, doesn’t mean it will necessarily be right for your home. Creating space below a home is expensive. It’s only really worth it if you create quality space.
The good news is converting an existing cellar or basement space beneath a dwelling from a storage area to habitable space does not require planning permission. This will be covered by your home’s Permitted Development (unless you are in a Conservation Area or specially designated area, or your home is Listed).
Adding a bedroom requires conforming with several UK building regulations. All rooms classified as bedrooms, from 2015, have to have a minimum floor space of 6.5sq m (70sq ft) for a single room, and 11sqm for a double (120sq ft). At least 50% of the ceiling has to be a minimum of 7ft tall.
You will also need to include a window to the outside of the property, that opens widely enough to provide escape access in case of a fire. The window should be 55cm and 110cm from the floor, it needs at least 5.7 square feet for the opening, and it must measure no less than 60cm high and 50cm wide.
The room will need to contain another form of access/escape but the door will count. You will also need adequate ventilation ducting if the opening measurement of the window is less than 4% of the room’s floor area.
There is no way around the fact that a basement room will be darker. There is a basic lighting requirement, but the government makes no distinction between day and artificial light, so if it is in a dingy or north facing location, use plenty of daylight mimicking warm LED lighting to make it a comfortable in inviting space. Factor into the costs that you will need to add extra lighting. There is also a requirement to have a minimum of 2 plug sockets in a designated bedroom.
It is worth pointing out, there is no legal requirement to have a window in a bedroom or a set floor space for your own use, but you will not be able to sell or rent it as such.
The creation of a new habitable basement will require Building Regulations approval regardless of whether it involves a change of use of an existing cellar or the creation of a new or larger basement through excavation. The Building Regulations are statutory minimum construction standards that ensure buildings are safe, hygienic and energy efficient. The renovation of an existing habitable basement, or the repair of a cellar that does not involve a change of use, i.e. from storage to storage, is excluded from the Building Regulations.