natural light into a dark room
We’ve covered extending upwards, outwards… now it’s time to talk about extending downwards! Unlike extending into the roof, basements and cellars are closer to the main living area which means they are ever more versatile than roof spaces. Everything from theatre rooms to play rooms to gym and spas have been created in a space that was formerly non-existent in some cases. There are 3 main routes to adding space below your home these are:
1. Creating basements as part of a new or self-build
2. Renovating an existing basement or cellar
3. Creating a new basement in an existing home. This can be done by extending into the (Or below) the garden or directly underneath or to the sides.
5 design details to consider
1. Planning Permission
Planning permission is generally not required in most cases (Conservation areas, listed homes etc will differ) as it does not alter the appearance of the property, excavation to create a new basement (Major work) will likely require permission.
4. Means of escape
External door or window suitable for egress should be provided (>0.33m²)
3. Building Approval
You will require Building Regulation Approval for creation of a new habitable basement however for renovation of existing basement does not require approval.
Ventilation to be designed to take into account moisture content in the structure and air quality in the basement.
2. Ceiling Height
There is no minimum ceiling height, a practical minimum would be 2400. Unlike roof extensions if you need more ceiling height all you need to do is dig a little bit deeper!
Introducing Light into a basement
1. Sun Tunnel
2. Glazed Floor Lights
Possibly the most aesthetically pleasing way to get light into the basement, glazed floor lights are recessed glass panes in the floor. They can be installed internally or externally and feature double glazed ‘walk on’ glass.
Floor lights are usually fixed however Surespan can offer openable floor hatches which can be used for access or ventilation. Pair it with a staircase into your garden for easy access to outdoor areas or even access to a pool area above ground from the basement!
3. Basement or Cellar Access Door
Have you considered how best to access the basement or cellar? There are a variety of methods for accessing underground areas. Recessed floor covers can be gas spring or electrically operated and feature a recess in the lid to accept the surrounding flooring to provide a clean, flush finish that matches the existing floor. Chequer plate lids can also be specified for a more industrial look. Recessed covers can take a wide variety of flooring infills at a variety of depths. They are ideal for accessing areas in smaller spaces such as wine cellar from a kitchen or plant access for boiler work or similar.
4. Light Wells
Light wells are created when you dig down to basement level from the ground and install a reinforced basement lighting structure freeing up the space to include horizontal lighting such as the sun pipe above or a window.