As we know, some older homes have cellars while others sit directly on solid ground. Many are in between, with voids under their ground floor ranging from 18” to 4’ inch height – too low to stand up in so they are called crawlspaces. Many Victorian/Edwardian homes have partial full cellars, with a crawlspace beneath part of the house. The reason why some houses were given basements and others weren’t isn’t to do with personal preferences or differences in the technical ability of their builders.
There are two principal reasons. The first is geology. Some land is more suitable for building on directly, while elsewhere buildings need underpinning. If there are granite inches beneath the soil a basement would be an insanely expensive prospect, even today. At the other extreme, London’s deep layers of clay struggle to support the weight of a house so basement construction companies in London excavated and built deep stepped footings below supporting walls. Ground water is another consideration. Deep outer walls prevent rain soaking directly under the living space and a cellar or floor void allows dampness to evaporate instead of rising into the house.
The other reason – the main one – is utilitarian. Town houses were dependent on deliveries of coal for heating and cooking, and with little external space available they were tipped directly into the cellar. Grander town houses also needed cellars for general storage. In country areas, land was plentiful and coal scarce, so wood and peat were stored outside. Cellars had few uses.
Five reasons home designers need basement construction companies in London
In modern times, mains electricity and gas have eliminated the original reason for cellars, while better quality concrete, piling and damp-proofing have made excavating floor voids unnecessary. Despite that, fashions are swinging again and basement construction companies in London report increasing demand for basements beneath new homes. Here’s why.
Property price inflation over the past 35 years is all about space. The rise in the cost of space has far outstripped the cost of building homes on it, and the more living space that can be created on the same footprint the greater its value. An old-fashioned bare bricks cellar is not really living space but specialist basement construction companies in London can build basements that are light, dry, warm and accessible.
Upward development is often considered too obtrusive or too unsafe for fire safety reasons. There are also often access and load-bearing issues. In contrast, most basement builds don’t even require planning consent and although there are access and load-bearing considerations they are routine in a new build.
By providing more living space within a smaller footprint the pressure to build on green belt and floodplains is diminished. This also reduces objections from local communities.
A quick internet search will swiftly appraise you of the design possibilities of homes with liveable basements. Well-designed basement levels greatly enhance the desirability of a property.
Basement spaces make it easier to provide homes with integrated highly-efficient HVAC systems, while new construction materials – such as composite panel systems – can greatly improve a home’s insulation.