Has Scotland gone gaga for basements?

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More people in Scotland are indulging in basement conversions than ever before.

National trade body The Property Care Association (PCA) has noted an increasing trend among homeowners - particularly in the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow - to make better use of their basement space.

When you consider that a basement conversion can increase the space in a two-story home by around a third and often without the need of planning permission that an extension would require, you can certainly see why.

Basement Conversions in Scotland

Les Meikle, founder of Wise Basement Systems and a member of the PCA, said: 

"In the Scottish central belt, in particular, Edinburgh and Glasgow, people with properties that have underground street cellars and occupants of sandstone tenements with garden flats are realising that [as an option to moving house], it pays to add value to a property with a basement conversion.

"Such developments provide a meaningful and useful space, transforming previously uninhabitable damp basements into an attractive and dry area suitable for a number of uses, such as an indoor gym, office, additional bedroom, dining area or even storage space."

Keeping a basement dry

The latest water management systems have made basement waterproofing a vital part of a successful basement conversion, ensuring a permanently dry space is achieved.

Waterproofing a property below ground level is an entirely different science to making it damp free from the ground floor up, and this means PCA approved basement waterproofers have to operate within a strict set of guidelines.

Companies such as Wise Basement Systems must work to the British Standard BS8102, (Code of Practice for Protection of Structures Against Water From The Ground) which details best practice when it comes to keeping basements dry.

PCA approved basement contractor

Steve Hodgson, general manager of the PCA said, "Below ground waterproofing is a highly specialised operation and must be undertaken by contractors who have the requisite levels of skill, understanding and experience.

"The PCA also requires that the surveyors working for the specialist companies (listed on the waterproofing pages of the Association’s website) have demonstrated their competence by gaining the Certificated Surveyor in Structural Waterproofing (CSSW) qualification.

"Furthermore, members of the waterproofing section of the PCA can offer long term, insurance-backed guarantees. This form of insurance protects the guarantees issued by contractors and is provided by a UK insurance company that is authorised and regulated by the FSA."