Basement Conversion

Basement Conversion

Basement Conversion

Basement Conversion About us

Among the top residential architecture firms in London, Scenario Architecture has built a solid reputation expanding and enhancing homes across the city. Our architects distil the ambitions of today’s homeowners into hard-working houses that express the past and look to the future. We specialise in striking interiors that maximise space and welcome natural light. The Scenario client aspires to a new archetype for London living: open, comfortable and luxurious yet accessible.

We founded Scenario with an ambitious mandate: to adapt our signature style to the needs of a growing family. We collaborate every step of the way with our clients to create highly functional interiors that make the best use of their investment. Scenario’s bespoke architecture tells the story of the homeowner, not the architects.

Our portfolio of new and heritage properties includes Scenario House, an East London terrace house we expanded in nearly every direction to accommodate the busy and evolving lifestyle of its owners. In 2018, Scenario House was shortlisted for several prestigious prizes, including the RIBA London Awards.

Projects

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Basement Conversion

Full refurbishment to a terraced house within a conservation area

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Basement Conversion

Basement conversion in a conservation area

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Basement Conversion

The Scenario House, Stoke Newington during NLA Open House

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Basement Conversion

Subterranean home gym design in Chelsea

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Basement Conversion Your Basement Conversion project

We’ve drawn up this illustrated overview to help you understand each stage of your home renovation and extension. And we’ve created a step-by-step guide to help see you through the planning permission process. It deals with the ins and outs of UK planning and offers strategies for navigating the system, based on our own successes.

Most home extensions and basement conversions require planning permission from the council in question. Scenario has been successful in securing this permission on behalf of our clients.

Tip

Discover if your architect has had success steering planning applications through your local council. Visit the “planning applications” page of your council’s website and enter the architect’s name in the search criteria.

Basement Conversion

Basement Conversion

Scenario is an established architecture practice focusing on contemporary residential design. We take on projects of every scale and scope, from home refurbishment, renovation and expansions to new-builds.

Basement Conversion Working with Scenario Architecture

Our boutique architecture practice specialises in home expansions of every scale and complexity. We offer a truly bespoke service, collaborating with homeowners on every stage of the process, from the initial designs to the project’s completion.

All our architects are fluent with the latest 3D design and visualisation tools. They use real-time visualisations and virtual reality to choose finishes and fixtures, maximise living space and simulate natural light. Our construction information comes from accurate 3D building information modelling (BIM) technology that saves the client time and money. This case study from the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) demonstrates the benefits of advanced technology for domestic architecture.

Scenario is a RIBA Chartered Practice, complying with the strict health and safety measures of the Royal Institute of Chartered Architects.

Basement Conversion

Basement Conversion In our client's words

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Basement Conversion Further Reading

Basement conversions have got a bad rap over the years, from households digging down multiple levels and edging dangerously close to their neighbours’ property lines. These “mega-basements”, or so-called iceberg houses, cause controversy for their deluxe features, like swimming pools, cinemas, wine cellars Turkish baths and car parks.

Building below street level can significantly increase the size of a home where conservation laws restrict expanding up and out. And new rooms below the main floor almost always make financial sense in high-value areas like London. But the more commonly sought and approved versions seek to enlarge an already existing coal hole or cellar. Even the most basic below-ground extensions will cost the same as a loft conversion, yet they’ll provide far more space for the outlay – most basement conversions in London start at about 40 square metres in size, growing to nearly 200 square metres.

Most basement conversions will require local Building Regulations approval, a sign-off from the neighbours and savvy planning. As most existing subterranean spaces lack any significant head height, most require excavation and underpinning. The height of the water table and location of sewer drains are an issue. And if the space lacks any access to light, a lightwell, an opening in the home’s entryway or glazing in the interior stairwell will need to be considered. If your basement conversion forms part of a larger all-over renovation, you can fold the assessment and application costs into your overall budget.

All that aside, converting a basement makes sense for families that intend to stay put and use it. Anyone looking for extra storage space, a separate playroom for growing children or a tucked-away space for utilities will find all these can be covered off in a single excavation. A well-planned basement can be the difference between staying in a beloved city home or leaving for the outskirts.

To make the most of your investment, you’ll want to consult an architect well versed in the local building codes and permissions protocol, and experienced in converting the vernacular architecture. If your home dates back more than a century, an architect that deals in period properties will be able to assess ballpark costs and potential risks with a single meeting. A good architect will be on hand throughout your project, overseeing quality control and serving as a liaison until the basement is properly executed.

Basement Conversion Frequently Asked Questions

    • As a dynamic practice operating in London’s premium residential market, managing projects remotely and conducting virtual meetings was a very familiar territory for us, long before the pandemic began and ‘working remotely’ became the norm.
    • Our clients have very busy lifestyles and may move between several different locations, both within the UK and beyond, during the lifecycle of a typical project.
    • To accommodate such client needs and enable us to run their projects smoothly we had all the technology and know-how associated with remote working in place for several years.
    • Read our full (Virtual) Process

    Basement Conversion

    FAQCan I start a project during a global pandemic?
    The scenario design process was developed, tested and perfected through over a decade of extensive delivery of residential projects within and around London, some of its key features are listed below:   
    • Scenario based design – We start each and every project with a meticulous analysis of our client’s vision, requirements and aspirations. We do this by asking our clients to imagine their everyday scenarios living in the completed house and describe their desired interaction with it. 
    We then translate the resulting high definition brief into an informative and revealing 3-dimensional simulation, illuminating aspirations, requirements and patterns of habitation. 
    • Uniquely interactive - Our client’s deep involvement in the process does not stop with completion of the brief. Our design meetings are highly interactive, informal and fun. 
    Sitting together in front of a real time 3D model of the proposed design with realistic materials, lighting and textures we push and pull the proposed scheme together to explore its full potential and drag and drop different materials to explore various options. hen we invite our clients to take a virtual reality tour through advanced equipment that is always available in our practice for our clients to explore their projects at different stages of development. 
    • Designed to reflect you – Based purely on your lifestyle, aspirations and requirements and free from externally imposed concepts, metaphors and pre-conceptions, a completely fresh and unique design will gradually emerge and it will tell your story not ours. 
    It will not look like an image cut out of a trendy architecture magazine and not designed to intentionally impress anyone. It will feel familiar, warm and inviting and you will recognise yourself in it because it will be a genuine expression of the unique way in which you and your family wish to interact with it and enjoy it for many years to come.

    Basement Conversion

    FAQWhat is unique about the Scenario design process?
    Any architectural project comprises three main aspects, Creative design, Technical design and Project Management. A successful architectural project can only be achieved when all three aspects are properly performed and harmoniously integrated by an experienced professional. But can we really except a single person to specialise and shine in all three aspects and furthermore skilfully negotiate and balance the often contradictory challenges these aspects present? The basic assumption underlying the common structure of almost all other architectural practices today is that it is possible and this is precisely what is expected from the lone and often junior Architect that would typically be assigned to run your project start to finish. Scenario works in a completely different and new way, we believe in specialism and teamwork and therefore assign three experienced specialists for each and every project. A project team in Scenario is composed of a Project Director, a Designer and a Technical Designer, seamlessly collaborating to deliver results, which are noticeably superior to anything that a single person, skilful as they may be, could ever produce.

    Basement Conversion

    FAQWho will be assigned to work on my project?
    A key aspect, absolutely necessary to ensure successful delivery of your project is appointing a suitable and competent professional team. If we work together on your project we would be appointed as your Architects and Lead Consultants and help you to assemble the rest of the professional team. Most projects in and around London will require at least four additional consultants, a Structural Engineer, a Quantity Surveyor for cost control, an Approved Inspector to ensure and certify compliance with building regulations and a Party Wall Surveyor if any work is to be done to a party wall or structure. For some projects, depending on scale, complexity and your specific aspirations it may be recommended/required to use the services of additional consultants. Including but not limited to: Planning, Heritage, Right of Light, Landscape Designer, Audio Visual and Building Services Engineer. When appropriate, we will discuss these options with you and obtain relevant quotes for all additional consultants for you to consider.

    Basement Conversion

    FAQWhich additional consultants are required for my project?
    Planning in the U.K in general and in Greater London in particular is admittedly a tricky business. It is a complex maze of policies, standards and regulations that requires specialised and up to date knowledge and skills to navigate successfully.  Over the years we developed a strong approach and an effective methodology, allowing us to maintain an outstanding track record stretching over more than a decade. Successfully securing planning permission for our clients across Greater London and the Home Counties.  The key aspects of our approach to planning are listed below: 
    • Collaborative – We start the conversation with planners early and advise most of our clients to seek pre-planning advice prior to submission of a full planning application. Our experience shows that when properly consulted and liaised with, most planning case officers will be receptive to conduct a professional dialogue, increasing chances of successes. 
    • Strategic – We tailor a custom planning strategy for each project based on its circumstances such as planning history, local context and specific challenging elements. We sometimes split applications or introduce minor tweaks to the scheme during the consideration period in conversation with the officers to prevent one contentious element from jeopardising approval of the main scheme.
    • Professional – Our experience shows that the quality and clarity of the submission in terms of background research, planning history of the property and context, precedent and of course the arguments presented to support the case has a tremendous effect on success rate. 

    Basement Conversion

    FAQWhat is Scenario’s approach to planning?
    The standard consideration period for a residential project is eight weeks, this is the official time frame for your local council to carry out consultation with the neighbours and reach a decision.  We recommend allowing for a minimum of ten weeks from submission to decision as in practice the process always takes slightly longer for the following reasons: 
    • The decision period clock only starts ticking once the application is validated by the Council, This requires then to check that the forms are completed correctly and that the submission contains all the necessary drawings, statements and reports.
    Validation can take anything from a few days to couple of weeks when the council is very busy, which is most of the time…
    • Although required by law to provide a decision within the statutory eight weeks period, it is not uncommon for councils to miss the deadline of the consideration period, normally only by a few days, sometimes longer. 
    While there are some effective measures to apply pressure, which we do not hesitate to use when appropriate, it is generally beneficial for the project to bear with the council a little longer. 
    • In some cases the council may ask us as your agent for an extension of time, this may be requested due to internal reasons or as an acceptable result of a professional discussion that we are conducting with them about certain aspects of the application that they are not sure about.

    Basement Conversion

    FAQHow long will it take to obtain planning permission for my project?
    Once we have an initial scheme designed for your project which you are happy to proceed with, we will advise whether we recommend obtaining pre-planning advice or proceeding directly to the submission of a full planning application. Most of our projects are submitted first to pre-planning when the following applies.
    • Our experience shows that planning officers respond better to projects when they feel consulted and collaborated with. We find that when we truly listen to their often helpful and valid feedback and treat them as consultants for the projects and not representative of an evil enforcing authority, they tend to collaborate well with us and demonstrate increased flexibility.
    • Although the council in theory have eight weeks to consider your application, in practice they are constantly overloaded. They will only look at your application in the last few days of the consideration period. If this is the first time that they come across a scheme that they were never consulted about, our chance to secure permission for you in a single attempt is significantly compromised.
    • The standard practice is for the council to consider the full planning application as submitted and then issue a yes or no decision. Case officers are not required or even encouraged to enter a discussion with us or accept resubmission of minor changes to the proposed scheme during the consideration period.
    In practice our established working relationships and long-standing experience working across Greater London and the Home Counties often enables us to have a meaningful discussion and even introduce minor tweaks to the submitted scheme within the consideration period and prevent the application from being rejected. The chances for this strategy to deliver the desired results increases significantly with projects which were submitted first for a pre-planning advice.

    Basement Conversion

    FAQWhat is pre-planning and will it be required for my project?
    In the past, it was common practice for local authorities to impose sustainability standards on residential developments. However, the 2015 Deregulation Act removed the obligation on local authorities to require any standard at all, which means the only requirements having fallen back to those of the Building Regulations.  With no clear and improved targets to work towards, in collaboration with Envision (www.envisioneco.com), we have created optional Sustainability ‘Levels’ to offer our clients the chance to drastically improve the sustainability credentials of their home. These ‘Levels’ encompassing Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond, traverse a clear and applicable route from basic compliance with current Building Regulations all the way to the full and rigorous HQM (Home Quality Mark) certification within Level Diamond. As the packages become more elaborate in terms of sustainability, analysis and implemented measures, they provide increasing tangible benefits. Ranging from thermal and acoustic comfort and wellbeing, to reduced carbon foot print, savings on running costs and significant advantages through the planning process.  The more elaborate packages obviously entail higher cost in terms of professional fees as well as impact on the construction cost, although each sustainability ‘Level’ will endeavour to not overly burden the construction budget.

    Basement Conversion

    FAQWhat is Scenario’s approach to sustainability?
    In a nutshell building control is the means by which Local Authorities enforce compliance with current Building Regulations.  In practice there are two main ways to go about obtaining the required advice and certification for your project, via your Local Council’s Building Control Department or via direct appointment of an Approved Inspector who is authorised to carry out the inspection and certification on behalf of any local authority.   The role of either the Council’s Building Control Officer or an Approved Inspector is to verify that your project meets all current Building Regulations. They will review and approve all the drawings, inspect the actual work carried out on site and once the project is completed, issue the final compliance certificate. Due to an open market, healthy competition between local councils and approved inspectors, the process and associated costs are almost identical. Having said that, our experience is that the private inspectors still feel and behave more as your appointed consultants and the council’s service still feels more like a statutory inspection and it is often slower and less responsive.  While it is always good to be informed and understand the process well, as your appointed architects we will take care of this aspect of the project for you and save you considering comparable quotes that we will obtain on your behalf and appointing the selected provider. You can leave this aspect of your project entirely with us.  Building control is required for almost all projects, and for all the projects we ever worked on as only minor renovation works may be exempt.

    Basement Conversion

    FAQWhat is building control and is it required for my project?
    Currently we recommend allowing between £2,500 and £3,000 per square metre for side extensions, rear extensions or front extensions. For basement extensions, which are most expensive way to add space to your home, we recommend that you allow between £3,000 and £3,500 per square metre. When it comes to roof extensions, our experience shows that it is better to allow a lump sum of £40,000-£60,000 for loft conversions with dormer windows and between £80,000 and £120,000 for mansard roof extensions. These ranges are based on averages from numerous actual projects that we have completed in and around London since we established Scenario in 2007. We only use these rough costs per square metre during the early stages of design to maintain awareness of your target budget until a cost professional is appointed and more accurate methods of estimation are employed. The actual cost for your project will depend on many factors, including the complexity of the design, level of structural support required, and selection of fixtures, fittings material finishes. Using these rough ranges as a guide we will work together with you in an interactive process to optimise budget and scope and find the balance that works best for you. The estimated costs per square metre mentioned above are for the build costs only and exclude VAT and professional fees.

    Basement Conversion

    FAQWhat is the cost of building an extension?
    Currently we recommend allowing between £2,500 and £3,000 per square metre for areas which will undergo an extensive renovation. We designate an area of the project as extensive renovation if the planned works includes substantial changes to layouts, significant structural works, re-plumbing, re-wiring and full redecoration. For areas of lighter internal renovation which do not require significant changes to layout or substantial structural works but do require full redecoration, re-plumbing and rewiring, we recommend allowing between £2,000 and £2,500 as an estimated cost per square metre, we designate these areas as requiring medium renovation. If there areas in your project which only call for a light renovation such as re-plastering, and painting, installing new floor finishes and light modifications of electrics and plumbing fittings, we will designate these as areas of light renovation and recommend that you allow £1,500-£2,000 per square metre or even as low as between £1,000-£1,500 if you only have light touches in mind. The real cost for your project will depend on several different variables including the complexity of the design, extent of structural works and level of fixtures, fittings and material finishes. These estimated costs per square metre are for the build cost excluding VAT and professional fees.

    Basement Conversion

    FAQWhat is the cost of an internal refurbishment?
    If you are thinking about building a new house from scratch for which the term Self Build is often used, we currently recommend allowing between £2,500 and £3,500 per square metre for projects in and around London. This may sound like a very wide range initially, perhaps too wide to be useful? As soon as we can establish even a few of the basics of your requirements and aspirations for the project we can safely narrow it down and customise it to match your intentions. The key parameters that will help us to refine initial estimates are whether or not a basement is required to achieve your target floor area, the likely construction method and corresponding structural approach and of course your desired level of fixtures, fittings and material finishes. Another key parameter that we must consider right from the outset is the level of sustainability that we are aiming at, are you satisfied with the base line requirements as defined by current building regulations, or should we aim higher? Working together with sustainability experts we have created our own bespoke set of sustainability packages which allows you to place your sustainability target anywhere you wish. This can range from basic compliance to an extremely sustainable and energy efficient standard which comes with great savings on running costs, future proofing and wellbeing benefits such as improved air quality, thermal comfort, and considerate and healthier surface finishes.

    Basement Conversion

    FAQWhat is the cost of building a new house?
    The fee structure that we will offer will depend on the type and scale of your project as well as the scope required from us. The vast majority of the projects we take on are what we call ‘full projects’, these are projects for which we will provide full Architectural services from inception to completion, covering the standard scope of services offered by most RIBA Chartered Architects and more. For these full projects our fees will be calculated on the basis of an agreed percentage of the final cost of the building works exclusive of VAT and professional fees. At any given time, we will calculate our fees based on the latest construction cost estimates available until the final cost of the building works has been ascertained. Our fees will be adjusted both forward and retrospectively to reflect any increase in budget and scope of the project, and forward only (due to work already completed) to reflect any decrease in budget/scope. During early stages, our fees will be calculated based on our in-house estimation tool and once available, on estimates by the appointed Quantity Surveyor, followed by actual prices of returned tenders and finally, the contract sum reflecting any changes during construction. Under unusual circumstances we may agree to take on projects only up to a certain stage, for example up to planning, and sometimes from a certain stage if we are taking over from another Architect. For these ‘partial scope projects’ we will normally put forward a simple fixed lump sum proposal.

    Basement Conversion

    FAQWhat is the fee structure used by Scenario Architecture?

Basement Conversion Planning a basement conversion project? Here’s what to expect and eight design considerations.

If you find yourself wanting more living space but unable to move to a larger property, a basement conversion may be the perfect solution to gain extra space.

If your home has unused or unfinished basement space, converting it into a new living space can be a great way to increase the value of your home and expand the square footage of your home to accommodate family, friends, or out of town guests.

Depending on the room’s size and layout, your options for using the space will vary. A large, open space can be divided into several smaller sections for a bonus living room or game room and also incorporate a kid’s play area or extra office. Smaller basements may be a good size for adding on another bedroom or bonus room. Other basement uses include a fitness or sauna area, a nanny or in-law suite, in-home movie theatres, and even a swimming pool!

Planning your conversion

The first step in converting the basement is to have an architect create a design to achieve the outcome you want. When choosing an architect,  ensure you’re working with one that is well versed in the local building codes and permissions protocols. Nearly all basement conversions will require navigating the planning permissions process through the local council. Depending on the extent of the renovation, you may also need additional building regulation approvals.

Take your time to do some research on potential design ideas. For a project of this size, it’s critical to consider all the factors ahead of time and be confident in what you want or don’t want from your architecture renderings. The more specific you can be in the early stages of the project regarding measurement, design, and features, the more likely you’ll be to avoid extra costs down the road.

Once you have your design in hand and an experienced architect on your site, you’ll be able to plan the timeframe for the project, establish a budget, and plan for other tasks like waterproofing the space. Depending on the size of the project and the extent of the basement conversion, most projects will take anywhere from 12-24 weeks to complete. Thankfully, most people can remain in their home during the project as most builders will create and use a separate entrance/exit to access the space.

Next, you’ll want to do some double-checking of the basics before you get into building something new. You may want to add plumbing and wiring to your basement, including a separate bathroom, depending on the size of your home and intended use of the basement space.  Check on existing systems to see what expansions and upgrades need to be addressed before construction begins. Converted basement spaces often require added insulation to protect against noise and help regulate the temperature.

Addressing other sometimes overlooked issues like ensuring windows for fire safety and exits, proper ventilation, and considering adding a sump pump in the house is located in a place where groundwater could be a moisture threat are all items that should be considered early in the renovation process. And remember that moisture isn’t just a potential indoor issue. Install diverters to send gutter water at least 10 feet from the foundation and slope soil away from the foundation, as well, to prevent any flooding or moisture seeping in from the outdoor spaces. It’s also essential to have a professional check fuel-burning equipment and your house’s ventilation system to ensure that you won’t have carbon monoxide buildup below grade.

Design considerations

Try to configure the space with as much natural lighting as possible by either enlarging windows or adding a glass-door walk-out area.

When choosing artificial lighting, opt for warm lights in ceiling fixtures and lamps to create a cosy atmosphere. Can lights are also great choices as they provide a significant amount of light but fit neatly up in the ceiling and accommodate nicely for lower ceiling heights.

Choose light paint colours that make the room feel more expansive

Greys, beiges and even whites are popular paint choices for basement areas that often feel cramped or closed in when dark colours or busy wallpaper patterns cover walls.

Use partitions instead of adding new walls, where possible

For basement spaces with low ceilings, adding new walls might make the area feel even smaller. If the new living area is a multi-use area, using attractive and moveable partitions will help keep the space feeling bright and open. Another solution here is to build half-wall dividers or walls with window cutouts so that light can penetrate the interior.

Upgrade the electrical components

Many basements do not include sufficient electrical outlets, so homeowners should factor this into the project in the early stages.

Think long term

While you might not have children at the time of construction, building in an additional area for a playroom or jungle gym will allow you to plan for the future and be an attractive selling point when you are ready to sell the home. Long-term planning also applies to other features like mini-kitchens, laundry areas, and additional bathrooms.

Get smart about storage

Get creative with storage by using a pull-down Murphy bed in the bedroom area, built-ins for bookshelves or games, and window benches to hold extra linens or blankets.

Add a private entrance

A basement walkout is a must for homes that have enough outdoor space for a door and walkway. This additional exit from the basement is an excellent feature if you’re considering using the area for a renter or guests that would appreciate their own entrance/exit.

Don’t forget the stairway

Basement stairs tend to be narrow and dark, which will take away from your newly renovated living space. Add a sturdy handrail, additional lighting, and freshen up wood stairs for a great first impression into your freshly converted basement.

Basement conversions are a huge undertaking but one of the best financial investments a person can make in increasing the value of their home and the enjoyment of their living space. Working with an experienced architect from the very beginning will take much of the stress out of the process and ensure you have trusted guidance from start to finish.

Basement Conversion How To Get Planning Permission For Conversion Projects

If you’re ever hoping to ever improve your home and turn it into something a lot prettier and more valuable, then a conversion will always be an option that is popular with the majority. This option will not only help you regarding awkward and restrictive planning policies but will also inject a lot more zest and good looks to the exterior and interior.

On the surface, turning one area into something entirely new might seem pretty straightforward – there are a few bumps in the road, however. Let’s have a little chat about what planners allow and what options are available going forward.

The Kinds Of Conversions Around

There are plenty of different kinds of properties that can be turned into something new and extraordinary. Whatever you can think of, there will be an opportunity to convert and change things around. Chapels, schools, pumping stations, equestrian buildings, and so many others will be allowed to be worked on. Pretty much every type of building could be capable of conversion into a unique contemporary home.

The Basics Of Planning This Kind Of Work

All kinds of conversion will require some kind of planning. Some will benefit from permitted development rights (PD rights), however. This means they’re able to go ahead without the need for a formal planning application. It’ll be pre-approved, provided that the scheme meets certain criteria already.

PD rights are rights to convert the likes of agricultural buildings and offices. This determines the suitability of a building for a conversion, a procedure known as Prior Approval is involved. This means you’ll have to submit a form to the council in the same way you would with a planning application. The considerations by the council regarding Prior Approval are more limited, however. They’ll take into account the transport, highway, noise, flooding, contamination, and if the location itself is suitable. The external appearance and whether it changes a little too much will also matter. You’ll also have to make sure the internal rooms will have enough natural light.

If a planning application is required, then it has to be in detail. The application has to cover both the physical work and the change of use to residential property. The building will have to be capable of being converted with an extension or a rebuild.

Whenever you assess a project, you have to take into account the access, the garden, outbuildings, and parking areas.

Projects That Require Formal Plans

With regard to converting the likes of a rural property, PD isn’t the only route. If your project isn’t allowed via the parameter set, you’ll be able to make an application for full planning. The chances are that your district council’s Local Plan will possess a policy that handles conversions of all kinds.

A lot of local plans have a bias towards the reuse of rural businesses and other business properties for business purposes. This includes tourism-related uses like holiday lets, in preference to residential conversions. With that said, it’s often necessary to demonstrate that alternative uses wouldn’t be viable as part of the justification for conversion to a dwelling. Plenty of other policies require marketing to take place for a while in order to prove there’s little-to-no demand for non-residential use.

The Possibilities And Pitfalls Of Conversions

When submitting a conversion application, you have to send in a structural survey in order to show that the building is able to be worked on with a rebuild being necessary. A lot of the time, there will be structures that are either too decrepit or too flimsy for this to be possible. The likes of rural buildings can provide a habitat for protected species, and any application to convert is likely to be accompanied by a survey that will determine their presence. The presence of things like bats wouldn’t typically be enough to prevent a building from being converted – it will likely add time and cost, however.

Another awkward instance in this regard comes from the fact that contaminations may appear – especially if you’re in the countryside and on farms or industrial land. Again, surveys and analysis will take place in order to determine the right steps, which will, again, add to the fee and add more time to the project.

Design Considerations

When converting an old building, the council will want to preserve as much of its original character as possible. This will include the limiting of inserting new structural openings and avoiding things that disguise it from its original form and purpose. What’s acceptable depends entirely on the likes or dislikes of the council’s design and conservation team. It would be wise to check out other conversion permissions in nearby areas to see what has been approved in the past. Some will want things to be kept very similar, and others might be a little more lenient in terms of styles. If you have a particular style in mind, you should do what you can to look for a building in your area that is likely to be accepted.

Consent And Conditions

Even if things are approved and ready to begin, you will still have to deal with plenty of conditions along the way. It’s common for restrictions to be imposed further on down the line, too. The council will look to achieve this by removing permitted development rights regarding extensions and alterations to the building – as well as the right to put up outbuildings in the garden.

With the removal of PD eligibility, it doesn’t mean you cannot do things at a later date – it does mean, however, that you’ll have to get planning permission for them. Remember also that, when converting, you’ll have to make sure you don’t demolish anything that you do not have permission to remove.

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