On 28th September, Morrisons Solicitors hosted their second annual Basement Extensions Conference, and after last year’s brilliant feedback regarding the venue and location, we returned to the Ham Yard Hotel in Piccadilly Circus.
Over 100 delegates consisting of experts of varying disciplines, from acoustic engineers to planning lawyers, came together for our prestigious all day event, to discuss the latest in best practice for this very unique type of development.
Once again, we had enlisted speakers from a range of industries at the top of their professions, and each of them took to the stage to deliver expert presentations to our guests.
Our very own Matthew Hearsum, Partner and specialist in party wall and basement extension disputes, presented first. He looked at private nuisance & adjacent owners; how to avoid problems arising; and managing them once they have arisen. He also delved into the concept of ‘perception of noise and vibration’ to humans, including counter measures that can be taken to monitor and manage noise and vibration from the start.
In particular, Matthew’s practical examples of acceptable and unacceptable levels of noise and vibration were fascinating, using sound equipment to provide live demonstrations of a jackhammer at certain decibels to show how it can interfere in a persons day to day life. Jim Griffiths from Vanguardia also joined Matthew on stage and was eloquently able to tie in his expertise on vibration levels and its effects on human exposure and cosmetic damage to buildings.
After a well-earned coffee break, it was Dr Stuart Hardy up next, Geotechnical Engineer and Associate Director at Arup. Our gusts enjoyed a detailed talk on the role that geotechnical engineering plays in basement construction, and how construction options affect potential nuisance to neighbouring structures. Stuart’s presentation and technical knowledge on such a complex subject was well received by the audience.
HHJ Judge Edward Bailey, Judge of the Technology and Construction list at the Central County Court, was welcomed on stage after lunch. Judge Bailey spoke about his experience and the approach of the courts concerning what amounts to nuisance; application for injunctions and serving party wall notices; and paid particular notice to considerations regarding special foundations. Judge Bailey anticipated a lot of questions from the audience, and he was very accurate in his assumption. He ended his presentation with a very interactive Q&A, with our guests making the most of their opportunity to gain perspective from a specialist Judge outside of the context of the courts.
We concluded the conference with a panel session consisting of Will Minting (Partner, Wilks Head & Eve), Nick Isaac (Barrister, Tanfield Chambers), Nick Huband (Structural Engineer, William J Marshall and Daniel Farrand (Managing Associate, Mishcon de Reya). Our panel gave their expert opinion on questions that had been placed in our ‘question box’ by our audience members throughout the day, as well as ones from the floor. It proved to be a brilliant opportunity for our guests to gain current insight on their burning queries from very experienced professionals that spanned multiple specialisms.
After the conference had ended, our guests were welcomed at the hotels ‘Dive Bar’, where drinks were served and everyone had a chance to reflect on the day. We hope that all who attended found our conference a worthwhile opportunity to learn and debate current thinking surrounding this niche area, whilst also making new contacts and strengthening existing relationships within the industry.
We look forward to seeing you all again next year!
If you would like any further advice or assistance please contact Morrisons Solicitors basement extension and party wall expert Matthew Hearsum. Matthew is a partner in the Dispute Resolution team and can be contacted by email at [email protected] or by telephone 01483 215 034.