The situation with limited land and strict planning restrictions preventing extension upwards has resulted in a big increase in the number of basements being built in London. Digging down is seen as the ideal solution to increasing living space. Although some projects are modest, others are colossal. The largest ones are referred to as iceberg basements because of the amount of space that can be dug out beneath the structure.
The biggest iceberg basements stretch over several stories. One of the most famous is beneath the home of Jon Hunt, the founder of Foxtons estate agency. The basement of his Kensington home is five storeys, housing extravagant things like a full tennis court and a car museum.
The popularity of excavating huge basements beneath properties has reached such levels in London that local authorities are being stricter with planning requirements. For example Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council put a ruling in place that restricts basements to just a single storey. That means that if the plan were to be submitted today Jon Hunt’s project would not be allowed.
There are many reasons why councils are getting tougher on basements. Firstly there are concerns about safety, particularly after the high profile collapse of a multi-million pound townhouse in Barnes in 2015. If proper measures are not taken, such as utilising the correct basement propping, the excavation can leave the structure above unsupported and unstable.
In addition to safety concerns councils have worries about how the noise will impact neighbours and the disruptions to traffic. Both could be very problematic, especially in the most built up areas.
At Denon Construction we understand why so many people want to build basements and what is required to ensure projects can progress safely and effectively. We have a lot of experience with basement propping, ensuring we can utilise suitable systems to meet different specifications. With our help the property can be retained whilst excavation and permanent construction is taking place.
If you would like to discuss basement developments with us please get in touch. We can offer advice and technical advice about propping.