Concrete Basements

Concrete Basements

Basements are common in many new developments, particularly in urban areas. The
reasons for constructing below ground include overcoming planning restrictions on
building height, providing car parking, residential, offi ce, retail and storage/archive
space, and accommodating plant rooms. Basements provide greater total fl oor area,
thus using land to greater effect.
Successful design requires an understanding of design, construction methods and the
resolution of many construction issues. Additionally, the design and construction of
basement structures requires an understanding of soil-structure interaction; a complex
subject in its own right.


The guide has been written for generalist structural engineers who have a basic
understanding of soil mechanics. It is assumed that a specialist geotechnical engineer
will be consulted on more complex ground problems. In such cases it will generally be
necessary to use the services of the specialist from the early stages of the project.
The economic benefi ts of basements are discussed in other publications[1]. Temporary
works are discussed, but their design is not specifi cally covered. Elements such as
embedded contiguous and secant piled walls, commonly used for temporary works and
often incorporated into permanent works, are covered in outline but their design is
outside the scope of this publication.
This guide does not cover seismic actions nor does it deal with retro-fi tting basements
into existing structures. Nor does it cover the use of precast walls, walls made using
insulating concrete formwork (ICF) or masonry walls, common in shallow domestic
basements, these are fully discussed elsewhere[2, 3, 4]. There are many examples of
basements constructed in the UK and beyond that provide a collection of case
histories. This guide brings together the salient features for design and construction
and references a number of documents that should be consulted for further detail.

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