Basement conversions are usually best handled by specialist firms. Their services tend to include carrying out feasibility studies, design and negotiating official permissions, as well as doing the actual building work and fitting out.
Always ask to see examples of their previous work – you might even be given the option of visiting completed schemes, which can give you a much better idea of what a new basement will feel like, as well as suggesting possible design strategies. This doesn’t mean that you should dispense with architects altogether. They can excel in making the scheme integrate well with your existing floors.
Specialist companies include the London Basement Company in the capital (020 8847 9449; www.tlbc.co. uk) and Beautiful Basements in the Midlands (www.beautiful-basements. co.uk). More details are available from the Basement Information Centre (01276 33155; www.basements.org.uk).