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Developing three-story terrace houses with a sub-ground level

by Will Gordon on August 2, 2023 No comments

Terrace houses are a common type of housing in the UK. They offer a compact and affordable living solution for many homeowners. This type of housing was first made popular in the 17th century as desirable housing in London. The popularity spreads across England and Wales and can be now found from mining areas in the South Wales Valleys to Regent’s Park in London. 

If you’re living in a terrace house and are looking to add more space and functionality to your property, you may be wondering if you can develop a three-story terrace house with a sub-ground level. In this blog, we explore this in further detail.

Recognising a terrace house is quite easy. Terrace houses share both side walls (also known as a party wall) with neighbouring properties forming a row of houses along a road. A particularly popular style of build in urban areas where space comes at a premium.

What you should consider

The simple answer is, yes, you can develop three-story terrace houses with a sub-ground level. However, it is a complex and challenging project that requires careful planning and execution. There are several important factors to consider when embarking on such a project. These include local planning authority policies, planning and building regulations, the need for a Party Wall Agreement, and construction feasibility. Also, the limited space and lack of a basement or sub-ground level can be a drawback for some

One of the key considerations when developing a sub-ground level is ensuring that your project meets the UK building regulations. Building regulations in the UK set out the minimum standards for construction, including requirements for structural support, ventilation, and fire safety. To ensure that your project meets these requirements, you will need to work with an experienced architect/surveyor/planning consultant who can guide you through the design and construction process.

Another important factor to consider is the local planning authority’s policies in your area. Depending on where you live, there may be restrictions on the maximum height of buildings, the number of storeys allowed, and the use of underground spaces. To ensure that your project meets the local authority policies, you may need to apply for planning permission from your local planning authority.

The practicalities

It is a good idea to contact your local planning authority at an early stage and certainly before any works begin. The purpose of this is to understand whether the proposal could classify as permitted development or whether you will need planning permission. Some other considerations should be, are you in a conservation area, are you in an area at risk of flooding and is it a listed building? 

In addition to local planning authority policies and building regulations, you will also need to consider the feasibility of the project. Developing a sub-ground level is a complex and costly process that involves excavation, foundation work, and the construction of new underground spaces. You could reach out to local property experts such as estate agents to understand the value that could be added by creating a basement. This may give you an idea about the price per square metre, if there is a ceiling value for the location, is a basement the best way to make the most of the usable space of the property?

You will need to carefully assess the feasibility of your project, including the costs and benefits, before moving forward. Not necessarily included in the build cost but other things to consider include the architect/surveyor/planning consultant fees, a buildings regulation application fee, a planning application fee (if needed), a Party Wall agreement (if needed), the soil type, the access to the property, the need to divert drains, the existing foundations and VAT on registered contractors.

Who can help?

Do you need help in finding out some of this information before you commit to purchasing such a property? DevAssist can help with finding out the local planning authority that your property is in, whether you are in a conservation area, a flood risk area, an area of outstanding natural beauty, part of a scheduled ancient monument, a listed building and other planning policies that apply in the area.

We can also reveal the planning history of a property to establish if basement proposals have been successful or not in the past. Within the search radius of our report, we reveal other basement proposals. This information provides you with an idea of what may be permitted or currently happening in the immediate area. Importantly we can reveal if there is a current, expired or refused planning permission on an adjoining property. 

Want to find out more? Contact us here.

Will GordonDeveloping three-story terrace houses with a sub-ground level