Devonshires Basements | Devonshires
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Devonshires Basements have proven to be a very efficient service acting swiftly and in the outmost professional way ensuring the safeguarding of both my personal as well as my company’s interests.

I have found their assistance most valuable in our dealings so far and I have recommended the services of the company to many of my professional and personal links.

Our experience

Devonshires is one of the leading law firms specialising in basements (in particular London Basements) and indeed the only one currently with a dedicated basement team.  With over 25 years of involvement in the area, we have invested heavily in our growing experienced team to ensure that we are ready and able to provide a full service on all matters relating to basements.

We don’t just deal with the legal aspects of basements. We work closely with and are able to recommend a series of closely vetted and leading professionals who deal with the construction and commercial aspects of basement projects and disputes.

Your basement

Construction of basements is growing in the Greater London region and across the country as a whole. Basements are not only hugely profitable for investors but are also highly useful as they create much needed and otherwise unaffordable space in a property which can be a lifeline for a growing family.

This has led to a huge upsurge in basement planning applications, by some 250% in some areas. By the same token, in attempting to seize a highly lucrative opportunity, many professionals and contractors have dabbled in basement contruction, not realising or in some cases dismissing the reality that as a project, basement construction is as close as one can get to civil engineering in a domestic environment. Basement construction is immensely complex and can easily take up to 18 months from start to completion causing nuisance to neighbours and all those within close proximity of the property in question. Because of this complexity, some of the leading contractors in basement construction in London are those who were involved in the construction of the Channel Tunnel. However the desire to maximise profits (both on the side of the client and contractors) has led to disaster in some instances, even though, when done properly, basement developments can be an incredible success.

250% upsurge in basement planning applications
Devonshires were professional, efficient and expedient

What we do

We act not only for those commissioning and opposing basements but also funders, contractors and professionals who have been involved in the project. Our specialism is unique as we deal with commercial and residential basements.

Given our unique experience in the area, we are often recommended by the leading professionals dealing with basements. We assist clients by recommending a list of closely vetted professionals and contractors who provide top quality and specialist basement construction services. However, our relationship with these professionals does not affect our independence, against whom we have, where necessary, successfully litigated.

We strongly believe that basements should be dealt with on a case by case basis – having acted on both construction and opposition of basements we understand our clients’ needs and give an honest, expedient and realistic view on the delivery of or prospects for opposing a basement project.

We often hold talks and round table discussions with people involved in the industry to get their views on recent projects and have a good feel for the current market as a result.

Our specialist team deals with, amongst other matters:

How to build a basement

  1. Assisting clients with the purchase of properties with the potential for basement development or properties with existing basements and obtaining relevant planning permission thereafter;
  2. Assisting clients by managing all consultants and contractors involved in the planning stages (often including recommending good quality professionals and contractors);
  3. Dealing with and preparing applications to old Estates for permission to build basements ensuring that they are satisfied with the project;
  4. Dealing with all Party Wall issues;
  5. Dealing with all insurance queries;
  6. Dealing with all Health and Safety queries;
  7. Liaising with architects and planners and assisting with all queries arising out of the planning process;
  8. Drafting all contracts related to basements ensuring that all involved are held into account;
  9. Assisting freeholders landlords and tenants involved in properties suffering from basement defects including leaks and cracks;
  10. Dealing with neighbours and stakeholders to ensure the smooth planning, construction and completion of basement; and
  11. Assisting with all legal issues arising out of the financing of the project (acting for funders and developers alike).
They are very knowledgeable and forceful. Their advice is always prompt, robust and credible. I would have no hesitation in recommending their services.
60%Basement planning opposed in 2014
40%Basement planning applied for in 2014

Opposition to Basement development

  1. Acting for individuals, old Estates and stakeholders in opposing the construction of basements at planning stages;
  2. Obtaining injunctions against unlawful or poorly constructed basements;
  3. Health and Safety queries;
  4. Dealing with defects arising out of the poor construction of basements;
  5. Assisting with all legal issues arising out of financing of the project; and
  6. Dealing with Party Wall issues.

Contractors and Professionals

  1. Advising on defects/professional negligence claims;
  2. Dealing with injunctions, Party Wall issues and adjudications; and
  3. Negotiation of contracts and appointments.

The above is not a definitive list and we advise all clients to contact us at any stage (usually the earlier the better) on any issues they have in relation to basements.

 Our team 

Devonshires Basements is founded and led by Tom Keya.

Tom is a Solicitor at Devonshires LLP. He advises corporate, public and private clients on both contentious and non-contentious matters. He works closely with a series of highly respected professionals in the construction industry and is often appointed as part of the professional team to oversee a project from start to finish; dealing with the drafting of all contracts as well as any disputes that arise from the same. On both contentious and non-contentious matters Tom is regularly selected as a leading Basement Lawyer.

Mark London is ranked as a leading construction lawyer and in recent editions of the legal directories has been described as ‘extremely knowledgeable and reassuringly experienced’.

Mark is the Head of the Construction and Technology Team at Devonshires and advises on all aspects of construction law with a particular emphasis on contentious work. Mark represents clients at adjudication, arbitration and in litigation in the Technology and Construction Court. In addition to this core work Mark undertakes a wide variety of health and safety work, advises on contentious procurement matters and asset management.

Michael Wells has a solid understanding of all forms of litigation and dispute resolution while specialising in the construction and engineering sector.

Michael’s background is in general litigation and dispute resolution for private clients, Registered Providers and other commercial bodies. Since 2014 Michael has specialised in construction and engineering law including contractual and payment disputes, insurance, professional negligence, adjudications, arbitrations as well as drafting and advising on contracts. He has developed a detailed knowledge of the major standard forms of contract. His technical ability combined with his commercial awareness means that he always considers the project as a whole ensuring that his advice is focussed and relevant to each individual client’s needs.

Nick Kaplan

After reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University, Nick converted to Law and was then called to the Bar in 2013. Nick is due to undertake his pupillage from September 2016, and in meantime has been working in Devonshire’s Construction Team as a paralegal for the last 18 months. Nick has extensive experience in construction adjudication and other forms of contentious and non-contentious Construction Work, both related to basements and more broadly.


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