Are you wondering how long it should take to install a cellar?

If a cellar sounds like the best idea for storage, or for a leisure space such as a gym, sauna or pool room, you’re probably going to want to think carefully about all your options – and finding a solution that’s fairly quick without sacrificing build quality is a must if you need your cellar fast.

After all, it’s no secret that cellars tend to be damp, cold and uninhabitable places because they tend to leak  – but it doesn’t have to be that way (promise).

As a specialist subcontractor who specialises in prefabricated steel substructures, I’m going to tell you more about how long a cellar should take to install, so you can make the most of a new cellar for your business or home ASAP.

TIP: If you want to get a more general idea of how prefabricated steel measures up to more traditional in situ when constructing a cellar, check out our recent blog on the topic.

How long does it take to install a cellar?

I would absolutely love to be able to give you a straightforward answer on this, however unfortunately it’s not that easy. The main reason? Well, all cellars are built to be bespoke, and without knowing your exact requirements, I can’t be specific.

However, there are four main methods of below-ground construction you could go for, and here they are in order of fastest to slowest:

  1. Prefabricated steel (fastest)
  2. ICF (second fastest)
  3. Precast concrete
  4. In situ concrete (slowest)

Now, ICF is relatively new on the scene, and therefore isn’t something I’ve really blogged about before. However, I’ve compared the other three methods right here in this blog.

And to give you an idea of the time you could save with prefabricated steel, if you were quoted the works initially for in situ concrete, changing the programme to implement prefabricated steel could save you up to 70 – 80% of time spent on-site.

Need something more specific? Okay, if we were to install a 4m x 8m cellar on-site using a crane, we would be on-site for approximately seven days – assuming there were no logistical constraints or complications.

TIP: Just remember we really need at least six weeks’ lead time in order to design and prefabricate your cellar in our off-site facility before installation.

What other factors can affect installation time?

There are various factors that can affect timescale when constructing a cellar using prefabricated steel – and this is what I’m going to focus on, as I’m not an expert on any of the other methods I’ve mentioned above.

1. Logistical constraints

The first main factor is whether there are any logistical constraints. For instance, will we be able to excavate and remove the soil from the site quickly?

This should be easy enough in a fairly open space, however if we’re talking about a house down a small lane with the area of work blocked out by buildings, it could slow our team up. The work will also need to begin before any other activities on the site do, so there’s full access available.

If a crane can be used to install the cellar, this is the fastest way to go. If not, it will take longer to lift smaller sections of your cellar into position.

2. The size of your cellar

Normally, the smaller your cellar, the quicker it is to install. However, a single large cellar is often quicker than having to install lots of smaller units.

3. The ground conditions

The better the ground conditions, the easier it will be to excavate the soil. This can help reduce large amounts of temporary works.

Advice from a specialist subcontractor

I may not be able to be more specific right here in this blog, but one thing is for certain; the above time factors will affect your project regardless of which method you use. However, with a prefabricated steel cellar, you’ll have better time certainty than any other method.

Digging into the earth always has an element of risk, however, the way prefabricated steel cellars are constructed means that a lot of the risk that comes with traditional below-ground construction methods is significantly reduced.

One final word? Definitely do your research, consider all your options, but also be mindful of how long the other methods are likely to stay watertight for. Constructing in certain concrete methods allows for water/damp to enter your cellar – and this can lead to headaches.

Our theory? Why don’t you just construct in a way that won’t let water in, in the first place? Check out our blog on why prefabricated steel substructures won’t leak, to learn more.


By now you should have a better idea of roughly how long it might take to install a prefabricated steel cellar for your home or business – I wish I could be more accurate, however I’d have to first take a look at the specifics and requirements of your project.

Want to find out more? In that case, I’d urge you to get in touch with me directly in order to discuss your options and find out what might be possible with a prefabricated steel cellar.

However, if you just have a simple enough question that I haven’t really answered above, feel free to leave me a comment below – I’m happy to help!