BuildingUp - Chapter 2: What are the key property considerations before embarking on your Airspace journey?

  • Firstly, you need to establish who owns the airspace. It could be the building owner (freeholder) who may have retained the airspace.  Alternatively it could be a long leaseholder, to whom the building owner has already granted an airspace lease. If that is the case, consider whether there is an opportunity to acquire a leasehold interest in the airspace (either directly from the building owner or acquiring the long leaseholder's interest). In either case, you should consider whether the airspace is subject to rights of the existing leaseholders which could impact on any proposed development; for example, do they have a right to use the roof or a right to keep aerials or other plant on the roof?

  • Secondly, consider the practical and technical aspects. Whilst many aspects of a rooftop development are similar to a conventional development "on the ground", there are a number of complexities that need to be considered when dealing with the airspace.

    • Can the existing building actually take a new floor or two?
    • How will the new flats be accessed? If via a lift, is there space for a new lift/lift run?
    • Are there any water tanks, apparatus or plant on the roof that need to be removed and if so, who owns these? If they serve the existing leaseholders, can you ensure continuity of the supply of services during the construction works?

  • Money money money! How much will this all cost and can you obtain funding? There are certainly funders in the market that can provide development funding for airspace schemes.

Look out for our next post for our top tips on engaging with funders to assist with financing your airspace development.

If you would like to find out more please contact one of our team.

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