Build Up or Down: Loft Conversion or Basement?

By July 19, 2016Blog

Loft conversions, particularly London loft conversions are a really popular way to increase the amount of space a property has to offer. They are reasonably priced and are attainable for all nature of houses throughout the UK. No matter the nature of the loft conversion, be it a large mansard or a smaller dormer extension; you’re sure to increase the space in and more than likely the value of the property in question.

Loft conversions are fairly straightforward to arrange and facilitate and with a decent project manager, there is no reason why within the short space of a few months or so you can’t get a top quality loft conversion. Subject to adherence to Building Regulations and approved Planning Permission, works tend to proceed almost immediately. Your tradesperson or builder will have a plan, drawn up by an architect and possibly a designer, which will be used as a template and a guide for the works. 

So what should it be: a loft conversion or basement?

Is a Loft Conversion Worth it?

Loft conversion prices start at around £25,000 + VAT from Premier Lofts and add a whole new dimension to your property. Additionally, it isn’t uncommon for a loft conversion to add in the region of 20% to the overall value of your property. There are many popular uses for loft conversions. Regardless of its use though, it almost increases the space, makes the property more appealing to buyers and helps improve the general living conditions within, making the property a very appealing prospect for any interested parties.

Also, with loft conversions, whilst you do have to apply for and obtain Planning Permission, there are a lot of relaxed rules around extensions and the like. For example, under Permitted Development Rights, some areas allow for loft conversions via a much easier process and less of an ‘application process.’


Using all your Space

Once you have that loft conversion you’ve been dreaming of though, you may decide to extend your property further; perhaps a ground floor extension or a garage conversion. However, not every property has the luxury of being able to extend and build outwards. That is where a basement for the property may be worth considering.

Rather than building outwards, a basement allows you to build downwards. Basements also allow you add a number of new rooms to your property and depending on Planning Permission and other regulations, with the right works, you can even add luxury features to your property such as a gym, cinema or even a swimming pool.

You may even acquire permission to build ‘downwards and outwards,’ extending your basement out and under your garden as well as beneath the property. This though does throw up other challenges and is less common.


Add a touch of luxury to your home with a basement

What about a Basement?

In the UK, basements are not as common as they are in say the USA or other countries where land is typically cheaper and homes larger. However, that isn’t to say that they don’t exist. With property prices, particularly in London being high, people are turning to alternative methods to upscale. One of these methods is a basement for the property in question.

Basements, like loft conversions range in price, design and functionality. You may for example wish to dig downwards to acquire an extra bedroom or two or perhaps a lounge. A simple cellar-type basement can be completed in a matter of a few weeks. However, depending what you want, prices and limitations do vary.

Like a loft conversion though, a basement can add great value to your property and depending on the property’s location, can make your property really unique and exciting.

Weighing up a Basement?

To conclude, on the balance of things, if you’re looking at both options: basements and loft conversions it is important to consider the following points:

  • Basements tend to cost more, as there is more intensive labour needed
  • Loft conversions are much more commonly approved for the necessary permission
  • Whilst loft conversions can be applied to almost any property in the UK, basements can realistically only be offered to detached or semi-detached properties
  • Permission for basements is given out less often than that for loft conversions
  • Both types of conversion is likely to improve the overall value of the property