Building Below Ground: What You Need to Know About Basements

Basements are very popular with homeowners, especially in certain areas of the UK like London. They provide the opportunity to increase the size of your property without making changes to its outer appearance, and they can be used for many purposes. Here's a guide to what you need to know about basements.


What Can You Use a Basement For?

One of the reasons basements are so popular is because they can be used for so many different purposes.

For example, you could turn yours into a home cinema. Basements are naturally dark, so this could be ideal. Or you could turn yours into a gym. Because there are no floors below the basement, the noise from the gym won't be a problem, making it the perfect place to locate it.

If you've got the budget, a swimming pool or sauna could add a bit of luxury, or you could turn it into a playroom for the children or a games room for adults.

Of course, you could simply use it as some extra space in your home for another living room or home office.

Basement Benefits

As well as the obvious benefit that you get a lot more space in your property when you extend your basement, there are other reasons why this could be a great option.

One of these is that you can increase the value of your property should you decide to sell it in the future.

You may also make it a more tempting proposition for tenants, and if you convert your basement into another bedroom this could be ideal for large groups like students or large families.

And you can also add space to your property without taking up any more room in the garden or affecting the appearance of your property.

Do You Need Planning Permission?

One of the main issues you will need to face (besides your budget) is planning permission. Often, basements are popular because there are fewer restrictions when it comes to getting planning permission compared to standard extensions. This means you may not have as many problems getting permission, and you could start work sooner.

But the rules are different depending on where you live and whether you have a basement already. If you already have one, you will probably not require planning permission to convert it. But if you want to excavate the ground below your property, this may require planning permission because it is a large job.

However, it could be allowed under permitted development rights, which means you do not require planning permission, but this depends how large the basement is. If it extends more than three metres beyond your property, this may not be possible.

Your local authority will ultimately decide on the rules, so it depends where you live. There may be restrictions in place in your area that are not in place in other areas of the country.

You can find out more about planning permission for basements using this useful resource at the Planning Portal.

Should You Buy a Property with a Basement?

If you like the idea of a property with a basement, you may want to buy one that already has a basement, or one that has a small basement that you can expand. You could also buy a property that does not have a basement yet, but has the possibility for building one. Always check with the local authority first if a basement is important to you so you know before purchasing the property.


Basements can be very useful, and they can be a great way to make your property more attractive to buyers or tenants, to get more enjoyment out of your property, and to increase its value. So what about your property – could it be improved by adding a basement?