Basements can provide comfortable day-lit rooms, with natural ventilation and external access, as an extension to the living spaces above. They also provide the opportunity for more unique uses, such as gyms, music rooms and swimming pools. Alternatively, basements can simply provide practical space for games or hobby rooms, home offices parking or storage.
The appropriate design of basements is well established and achievable, provided design and construction guidance is implemented. The general principle is to assess the risk of water reaching the below ground structure and to select an appropriate form of construction, structure and system of waterproofing to achieve the required internal environment.
A primary factor in improving the quality of a room in a basement is the provision of natural light. Inclusion of glazed windows or doors provides greater possibility of future adaptation and uses, as well as sustainability benefits by reducing dependence upon artificial lighting.
Design considerations for drainage and waste disposal, to meet the requirements of Building Regulations Part H.
A basement can be a key design solution for optimising development potential.
In order to achieve the most cost-effective solution, it is important that as much as possible is known about the site and surroundings of the development.
When building basements and below ground structures, it is vital that the structure and its users are protected from hazardous ground gases.
Coordination of the structural design with the construction and waterproofing system is essential.
Basements can be broadly sub-divided into five categories, depending upon their location, time of construction relative to the main property and depth. A brief summary of the differences, and the key issues related to each is provided.
Building regulations require the provision of ventilation to all basements (heated or unheated) to adequately control moisture vapour, and are covered by Part F of our Building Regulations guide.