Buying next to someone planning an “iceberg basement”?

We found an article in the Evening Standard, Homes & Property section about buying a house next door to someone planning a basement project. So, now that we have finished laughing we thought we’d address some of the points made in the article itself and allay any fears you might have.

General extensions – Any neighbour at any time could be planning on having building work done to their home. May be it’s a loft conversion or an extension to the ground floor – whatever happens there will be some sort of disruption. A basement is no different – when they are run properly they can be quite discreet and as with all building work, the aim is to get them completed in the quickest way. Any disruption is temporary – if building work takes several months and you live in a house for 25 years – the disruption is quickly forgotten.

Structural disruption – Well yes, this COULD happen, however if you use experienced experts to design and build your basement, the will undertake extensive exploratory works so this can be controlled and avoided. Most of the horror stories that you read in the Daily Mail (and other tabloids) occur because the resident has either tried to do the works themselves OR they have cut corners and employed cowboys with no experience of subterranean building. Just don’t do it!

Highway disruption – Whenever you increase the amount of traffic due to the works e.g. deliveries, work vans and grab lorries you inevitably cause disruption but, everything possible is done to ensure that this is kept to a minimum. When submitting planning proposals to the local authority we regularly submit Construction Traffic Management Plans as well as Construction Impact Statements for approval.

“Iceberg Basements” are NOT that common – the majority of basement projects that we complete are single storey excavations of existing basement cavities to create an extra living space. Basement projects are expensive, multi storey projects, even more so. They are often exclusively installed by the people who live in communities which are either already enjoying basement living or are planning to in the near future. We actually find that once a neighbour has had a basement completed the domino effect kicks in and others down the same street start enquiring – EVEN people who opposed the initial project… did someone mention Brian May?

What’s the alternative? – London is an historical city which is creaking under the burgeoning population. Yes, lots of new buildings are popping up in central London Business Districts but, for many residents living in London it is important to embrace the culture and history. The architecture in residential areas is nostalgic and that’s the way the majority like it, so why not maintain these aesthetics and build a living space that fulfils the requirements of modern living, while strengthening and updating the existing property for the future. After all, London is not Las Vegas, we’re not going to blow it up and rebuild it – that’s just not cricket!

Ultimately if your neighbours are having a basement excavated, the best revenge is to have one done as well. If you would like to discuss your options, why not drop us a line on 01628 826066 or email our office. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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