Basement Construction: Expectations vs Reality

Empty basement with beige floor and white walls.

Basement Construction: Expectations vs Reality

Traditionally, UK homes have tended not to have basements, especially those built during the 20th century. In recent years, however, with space at a premium, basements have become more popular. Whether it’s for new-builds, excavating basements for existing properties or converting small cellars, many people are having basements constructed.

While this is generally a great idea, some people go into basement construction with unrealistic expectations. There are various reasons for this.


In an ideal world, you’d be given a timeline for your basement construction, and it would be handed over to you on the day specified. While a reputable basement construction company like U&M won’t create unnecessary delays, projects don’t always go to plan.

Every basement project is different and may have unexpected complications, whether from problems with the excavation or delays in sourcing materials. Excavation issues are occasionally dramatic, such as finding unexploded ordinance or archaeological site, but they can also be to do with conditions of the subsoil which needs to be worked around. All these may cause hold-ups that couldn’t be foreseen at the start.


As with the timescale, a good construction company will do its best to set an accurate budget at the start that covers everything, but the unexpected can happen. In general, it’s best to leave some money set aside to cover these possibilities. If you’re lucky and everything goes to budget, you can always spend it on more luxurious furniture or fittings.

Speaking of which, you may also find that your ideas of how you want your basement to evolve as the project goes on. Even without major problems, some of your reserve funds could be required to cover this.

Design Ideas

You’ll probably have a clear idea at the outset of what you want your basement to look like — but have you discussed that fully with your partner or other family members? They might have different ideas, either about the design or about uses for the basement, and you could have to end up compromising.

More rarely, some problem in the future basement’s environment could make your original either impossible or more expensive to achieve. In this case, it might be necessary to rethink what you want from your basement.

Can I DIY?

If you’re converting a small cellar into a larger basement, perhaps you expect to be able to save money on doing some of the work yourself — demolishing walls, for instance. You could try, but it might result in damaging pipes or cables or even compromising the whole building’s structural integrity.

Major construction projects are always better left to professionals. Get in touch with us to talk over your basement construction ideas.