In the wealthy London areas of Kensington and Chelsea, there’s a growing trend that sees the super-rich circumventing building regulations that limit the size of their homes above ground by digging down. Way down.

They’re called iceberg homes because what you see is just the tip. Below the ground are basements. Huge basements. According to the recent Guardian piece on the subject, on Canadian TV tycoon is planning a 4-story basement that dwarfs the house itself.

What could these mega-rich possibly want to build extravagant basements for? Anything and everything, apparently. Swimming pools, move theaters, home gyms, servants’ quarters, underground parking for a fleet of cars — you name it.

Until recently, there have been no planning laws preventing expansion into the ground. Of 1,000 basement extension planning applications submitted in the last five years, 800 were accepted.

And all of this might not be a problem, except that it is. In many cases, the construction — which itself is disruptive and noisy — has literally started to cause neighboring homes to fall apart. There have been instances of cracks forming in foundations and residents being trapped behind doors that suddenly will not open.

Proposed new rules aim to prevent digging under listed buildings, but since it doesn’t go into effect until the end of this year, there’s been a mad rush on new basement expansion planning applications and basement expansion construction to beat the new laws..

If the mega-rich truly cared about their less-fortunate neighbors, they might offer to build access tunnels into their mega-basements and allow limited pool and cinema use. It sounds like the least they could do for all the headaches they’ve caused.

Credit: Guardian