Building regs and cellar waterproofing

21 Nov 2012
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United Kingdom
I have a victorian terraced house cellar. The cellar is approx 1m below ground with the ground floor some 8 steps up.

The cellar is currently 'non habitable' but is in fact used as a den / living room space. It is platerboarded and has been for many years.

There is no damp what so ever. Possibly because so high out of the ground and at the top of a hill.

I am considering bringing the room upto building control standard, although I suspect it might not be worth it.

What is the minimum cost solution to meet the waterproof and insulation standards. It is a bit frustrating because it is fine as it is except being non compliant.

Any thoughts or suggestions?
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Would need a lot of info to help you...
Size of room
Height. (Eight steps isnt suffucient)
Is a means of escape needed?
Floor base?
Thank you for replying,

Cellar is 200cm floor to ceiling. Concrete floor. The next floor (living room and front door) is 1m from the ground. (so cellar is alf way in the ground if you see what i mean).

It is a back to back victorian terrace (I e surrounded on three sides by other houses). V common in Yorkshire.

Cellar is currently plaster boarded out. And has been for years. No damp or cold anywhere. Use it for reading. All my books down there so I would see any damp.

There is a small door from the cellar leading to the postage stamp patio. There also a few steps down to an old outside loo shared with next door which is all blocked off as never used.

Floor area is about 25m2.

I have been having a look at what it might take to get building regs approval to turn it into a habital room. (where it would actuall look and be used no differently to now).

Everything I can google starts off from the premise that the cellar is wet and damp. I can't find any references to see if there is a cost effective way of doing it properly when it is already dry.

I have asked around neighbours and all the other cellars seem to have been used without insulation or waterproofing. So no help there.

Have a feeling I won't be able to do anything with it.
You dont say if theres any natural light/openable window.
In london the bco genrally want min 2.1m headheight in a basement conversion. If its as dry as you say then, I would recommend just rendering the walls with waterproofed render then skim finish. Job done!!
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If the cellar works for you as it is, why bother bringing it up to 'modern standard'? If your books don't suffer, then it must be dry.
One chief drawback of upgrading it is the floor; you would probably have to incorporate some insulation to comply with modern regs, which may involve some excavation and new concreting. If its not too expensive to heat, why not just use it as it is? There is no legal minimum headroom for a habitable room.
(Are you in Leeds by chance? Know the back-to-backs there well).
Hi sorry for the dealy in replying. Yes the external door is half glazed providing light. And the is a small opening window where the outside toilet used to be.
Yes to Living in leeds. Millions of back to backs! Very difficult to describe if you have never seen one. Houses on three sides?!

The ceiling is in excellent condition so i will leave that. and I think I will just use at as a 'non habital room'. I think unlike a dodgy loft conversion it won't put people off if I ever sell as there are no structural changes. At worst it would be a very nice storage area. But equally I can't spend too much as it will never be to standard.

Can I ask anyone, is it worth insulating the walls for their own sake, even if will never meet standards.

Looking at the wickes site you can get 50mm insulation sheets. Would hey make much difference to heat retention? Or do as the person above said above render with waterproof plaster?

I have now taken to peaking in other cellars but that doesn't help:)

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