New Association Sets The Standard For AirSpace Development

A shared desire to promote the highest standards in airspace development has prompted the creation of a trade association between the UK’s leading exponents of this form of home building.

ARAD – standing for the Association of Rooftop and Airspace Development – unites four renowned developers in a bid to share best practice and facilitate innovation and the development of best practice.

Upspace, airspace developers who have worked on numerous high-quality projects in London, are joined in the association by Apex Airspace, Click Above and Fruition Properties.

The unison reflects growing interest and adoption in airspace development. 

The process of expanding the capacity of existing building stock by building upwards, adding extra storeys, has been championed at both national and local level.

In major cities such as London, it has been regularly cited as one solution for tackling the extreme housing shortage.

Airspace development is likely to only grow in importance, but that creates the potential for developments being undertaken by non specialists, those not aware of the unique challenges inherent with this form of development.

The association therefore exists to promote learning and to share knowledge between specialist, leading exponents of this form of development.

Only by ensuring the highest of standards in every individual development can the benefits of the overall sector be demonstrated. Put another way, poorly managed projects threaten to undermine the entire sector.

Airspace development involves unique challenges. The development will be undertaken on a building that is already occupied and so the work needs to cause minimal disruption to existing leaseholders and the wider community.

Specialist developers are able to carry out much of the build off site, building in a modular fashion and then installing finished parts on site.

Other challenges to consider for airspace developers include:

  • Understanding the legal aspects of this form of development
  • Engaging with existing leaseholders and the community, including hearing their concerns and keeping an open dialogue relating to the development process
  • Factoring in all fire safety considerations

The association will be open to all with an interest in airspace development. 

Those who join will have access to otherwise unavailable literature, guides and also the ability to discuss and liaise with experts in this form of development. Events will be held, both physically and also remotely.

The association’s website will be a resource in its own right, providing key information for those keen to expand their knowledge of airspace development, including those who have very little knowledge relating to this subject.

A further aim will be to promote airspace development, championing the benefits of this form of development to councils, landlords and other potential beneficiaries.

ARAD has five core principles, these are:

  • To promote quality of service through setting standards and a Code of Conduct for our members
  • To represent the aims and interest of stakeholders involved in airspace development with our commitment to empowering our members with representation at government at national and local level
  • To increase awareness and understanding of the potential of airspace development as a viable solution to delivering homes
  • To ensure that the sector is better understood and accepted by all stakeholders
  • To connect airspace developers and professionals within the sector, by providing a forum to share experiences, challenges and good practice.

The forming of the association demonstrates airspace development’s increasing importance, leading proponents no longer working in competition, instead recognising the huge potential growth in the sector. 

For this growth to be achieved, and for the developments to be truly beneficial, it is essential to ensure the highest of standards are maintained.

London alone has a requirement for 66,000 homes per annum according to the London Plan, this figure can only be hoped to be met if airspace development is widely introduced.

A spokesperson for ARAD said: “Airspace is part of the future of housing; it has vast potential across London and the UK to help unlock much needed homes in a non-invasive way.

“ARAD aims to bring together organisations which want to and have the expertise to work in airspace – whether investors, architects, developers, local authorities or consultants – to learn from each other and champion airspace so that rooftop development can flourish while maintaining high standards for the betterment of all stakeholders.”