The elite class of London has just found a loophole in these construction laws. They have started to build the luxurious mansions underground.
The idea of constructing basements as fully functional living spaces only became popular in the 1950s. Most of the modern buildings are built over basements to utilize the space fully. It is fairly common for skyrise buildings to have a couple of floors underneath the ground, but these are used for parking purposes only.
In the last decade, underground houses appeared in England’s capital London. These houses are now termed as “Iceberg Homes,” as they are quite deep inside the ground in comparison to their height above the ground. London is a historic city, and the construction rules regarding buildings’ height are quite strict. However, the rules do not put any limit on underground construction, so the architects have used this fact to design the super basements.
Most of the London’s high-income population reside in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It has more domestic buildings than any other part of the city. The billionaires of the city have finally started to make their lives more luxurious by constructing multi-story basements packed with cinemas, spas, swimming pools, bowling alleys, gym, car lifts, garages, wine cellars, museums, and what not! The owners of these luxury mansions include some famous people like Nicole Kidman, Lloyd Webber, and Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
The idea of building the underground villas rapidly flourished. However, neighbor’s complaints of noise and incidents of flooding and sinkholes accompanied this idea. The neighbors of these rich people are forced to tolerate dust, vibrations, traffic congestion, and unbearable noise. Omar Alajaji was of these rich people whose £1.15 million house collapsed while a two two-storey basement was under construction. Another incident shifted a neighbor’s house to such an extent that she ended up getting trapped inside, as the door refused to open.
The cost of construction of these basement extensions ranges between £400 to £500 per square foot. The construction machinery is so massive that the cost of lifting it is more than that of the machinery itself. Thus, the construction companies end up burying the machinery. According to the rough estimates, machines worth about £5 million are buried under the city’s grounds.
The Royal Borough officials are now formulating the new legislations that are regulating the construction of basement extensions. These regulations limit the size and number of stories depending upon the size of the original house.
According to the new regulations, The basements cannot go beyond one story unless the site is vast. It also requires the addition of a construction traffic management plan, so that the neighboring residents don’t face any inconvenience.
Following Images: Business Insider