The Association of Rooftop & Airspace Development (ARAD) has been set up by four developers to promote the practice of putting new buildings on top of existing buildings – and promote the interests of those who seek to profit from it.
In places where land is scarce, particularly London, airspace developers place new residential units – usually prefabricated modular boxes – on top of existing commercial buildings.
ARAD intends to promote learning and development of good practice as well as lobbying for local authorities to support their commercial ambitions.
The founding partners are Apex Airspace, Click Above, Fruition Properties and Upspace. Collectively, they claim success for having persuaded the government to include upward extensions in its latest extension of permitted development rights – The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2020.
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 who 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.
“Rooftop development is not the same as ground-up development. In order to effectively deliver homes or office space, there are many more pitfalls to overcome, including the legal aspects, fire safety considerations, and resident engagement through to the actual build itself. ARAD will act as a forum to help ensure the sector is better understood and that there is a clear code of conduct to ensure that the sector can grow in a professional manner.”