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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.
In design terms, basements are water-excluding structures. There are similarities between the design of basements and water-retaining structures, as both have to avoid water penetration. However basements must also deliver the environment and function required by the client and occupant on the inside of the structure.
This guide covers the design and construction of new build reinforced concrete basements and is based on British Standards and Eurocodes, wherever appropriate. As far as possible the terminology used here refl ects that of familiar guidance, particularly for the classifi cation of performance levels and types of construction.
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. 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.
The driver behind writing this publication is the need for guidance on designing basements to the Eurocodes, which also introduced new terminology. The aim of this guide is to assist designers of concrete basements of modest depth (not exceeding 10 m). It should also prove relevant to designers of other underground structures.
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