Frequently Asked Questions

What is airspace development or rooftop development?

Airspace development or rooftop development is the delivery of new, residential homes above existing buildings. It is an efficient alternative solution to the housing crisis. Airspace or rooftop developments can usually be found in dense cities or town centres where land is scarce. Click Above work with freeholders and building owners to maximise the value of their asset, by delivering new homes above their existing buildings. Click Above manage the whole process from design and planning to construction and delivery. This creates value for freeholders whilst minimising their financial risk.

How is an airspace development built?

Click Above use Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) to build and deliver our airspace developments. Using a lightweight steel structure and cutting edge technology, our team construct the modules that make up the new homes in an off-site facility. Once completed, the modules are then delivered to site and craned on-top of the existing building. Once in place, services are connected and the new homes are ready for occupation. Using off-site construction minimises the impact to the occupants and users of the existing building and ensures the highest levels of quality control.

What does MMC stand for?

MMC, or Modern Methods of Construction, refer to the utilisation of pre-manufacturing technologies in construction practices. Production is then transferred to a factory, in a controlled environment for workers. Thus, the overall process increases quality control, decreases waste production and delivers homes in a process which can be up to 60% faster in comparison to a traditional build.

How sustainable is modular construction?

According to a published study by Professors Robert Lawson (The University of Surrey) and Ray Ogden (Oxford Brookes University), modular construction is more sustainable in comparison to traditional build due to the following aspects:

• It is highly insulating and very air-tight, which are notable energy-saving properties;

• Its modular structure weights approximately 30% less than a concrete frame,

• Factory waste is greatly reduced and widely recycled on location,

• Noise and other sources of disturbance are all off-site,

• Site deliveries and traffic due to construction activities are also reduced by up to 70% relative to more traditional ways of building.

Is my building or property suitable for airspace development?

At Click Above, we offer a free valuation of your building to see if it is suitable for airspace development, which will be carried out by our planning and structural experts. All valuations are subject to the structural integrity of the building and planning considerations.

Click Above is committed to delivering high-quality, safe homes, in line with all building regulations, whilst achieving the optimal value of the new development. The new homes and improvements to the existing building not only maximise the value of the asset, but also benefit the new and existing residents and occupants.

How long does it take to deliver an airspace development?

The time of delivery varies from project to project, depending on the number of new homes being delivered, logistical considerations and the time taken by the local borough to grant planning permission. The physical build of the new homes can be completed in a matter of weeks as opposed to months or even years. Click Above delivered two, two bedroom penthouses in Nine Elms (London) in a matter of weeks, craning the completed apartments on top of the existing building over a weekend.

Are tenants heavily affected by airspace development?

Minimal disruption to residents is one of airspace development's biggest advantages. Using off-site construction, the majority of the build takes please in a facility or factory significantly reducing time spent on-site. In addition to this, residents benefit from improvements to the existing building and usually a reduction in service charges. The development of the new homes means that all tenants benefit from a brand-new roof, which they may have had to previously pay for themselves.

What type of improvements to the building can tenants expect?

Each project varies, and therefore early on we assess required improvements. Some of these are listed below:

• Communal indoor and outdoor area upgrades
• Improvements to insulation and the exterior of the building
• Safety and Security Systems
• New Roof
• Cycle Parking
• Parking Courts
• Lifts

What are the advantages of off-site construction vs a traditional build?

Off-site construction plays a significant role when it comes to airspace development. Moving the trades to a controlled factory environment increases the speed of construction — up to 60% in comparison to traditional ways of building. It is a much more efficient approach, from a quality control and sustainability perspective.

In a controlled environment, modules that make up the new homes are constructed using a variety of construction materials such as lightweight steel. Construction of the structural frame, wiring and plumbing installations, internal lining and lighting applications can all be completed at this stage. In the final stages, the modules are transported to the site and finally craned into position, on top of the existing building. Once services are connected, they are ready for occupation. Click Above’s penthouses at Corben Mews, located in Nine Elms (Battersea), were installed over a single weekend — that's how efficient off-site construction can be!

Will my building still meet Fire Regulations once the construction is complete?

Yes – Click Above meet all building regulations as a minimum, whilst normally exceeding the standard.

How can airspace development help with the UK's housing crisis?

Airspace development is an alternative solution to the housing crisis, particularly in town and city centres where land is scarce. Rooftop development makes use of airspace above buildings, not traditionally considered.

According to the BBC (February '20), London faces a shortage of 1.2 million homes per year, with only 275.000 being delivered. As of 2018, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) clearly states that planning policies and decisions "support opportunities to use the airspace above existing residential and commercial premises for new homes". In 2019 Homes England, an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, agreed a £9 million funding deal with an airspace developer in a demonstration of how the government actually supports upward extensions.

Due to population growth, housing stock is an ongoing concern. Airspace development is an attractive alternative due to several factors:

• INCREASED VOLUME: More rooftop development means an increase of new homes being delivered.

• COST-EFFECTIVE: Due to the speed of delivery, there are many associated cost efficiencies attached to airspace development. Through well thought out design, costs can be planned to avoid unplanned additional material and labour costs.

• FASTER DELIVERY: Using off-site construction, more homes can be delivered much quicker. Construction time can be reduced by up to 60% with minimal disturbance to leaseholders and residents.

• INCREASED VALUE: Existing properties can see an uplift in their capital value (on average, a 3-4% increase) due to enhancements of communal spaces and improvements to the building. It is important to note that such updates, in the long run, significantly reduce service charge costs.

How can London Boroughs benefit from airspace development?

Click Above, in order to assist with the huge targets of housing delivery, is in discussions with several local Boroughs with regards to the delivery of new homes above their existing buildings. Knight Frank found that as many as 41,000 homes could be delivered in just Zones 1 & 2 (Central) through airspace development, without altering the iconic skyline.