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£1 Million House Collapses During Basement Renovation
Basement conversions have been steadily increasing in popularity over the last few years, especially in the capital where building restrictions mean that homeowners looking to extend their properties have little choice but to burrow underground.
However, doing this can result in all sorts of problems if the work isn’t carried out to the required standard – which should be a stark warning to all of you currently considering starting this kind of project this year.
In Wimbledon, a £1 million house – which was undergoing a two-storey extension including a new basement – has collapsed, apparently because the basement wasn’t properly supported. According to the Daily Mail, the luxury property (next to Richmond Park) collapsed at about 01:00 on April 3rd, although luckily no one was in the property at the time.
And, of course, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. In June last year, an £800,000 house in Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan collapsed during work on an underground basement extension, while botched basement work saw a house in Finchley collapse, leaving the family that lived there homeless.
Interestingly, news like this doesn’t appear to be deterring people from embarking on their own basement conversion projects, however. New research from Direct Line’s SELECT Premier Insurance has found that applications to either build or extend basements in homes have risen by nine per cent around the UK between 2013 and 2015.
Some 75 per cent of these basement planning applications made in 2015 were in London, while regions like Wales and Yorkshire made up less than one per cent of planning applications. This may not be a surprise – the capital has the highest average house price of any region in Britain and the biggest proportion of basement applications… with property prices so high, extensions are likely to be a more cost-effective option than moving house.
Head of SELECT Nick Brabham said: “With house prices on the increase, especially in places like London and the south-east, it makes sense that British homeowners are doing everything they can to their properties in order to maximise space and value. Over the past 20 years loft conversions have been a popular choice for extending a property and now a growing number of property owners are building downwards to create additional space in a basement.
“This can be ideal for those living in towns and cities where extending outwards is impossible due to living in terraced and semidetached properties, or where large above ground extensions are prohibited.”
He went on to add that it’s vital that planning permission is sought from the relevant local council before work begins, especially since basement renovations can be quite disruptive to the surrounding properties and neighbours. If a party wall is shared then it may be that written consent from the neighbour is also required. Insurance providers should also be informed as the work will affect the structure of the property that’s being insured.
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