Any renovation can be challenging but when it involves digging under a house for a basement renovation, it can be even more so.
There are many things to consider when embarking on such a project:
Is this the best option or are there other options which may work better for the result you want to achieve?
Is the house constructed from materials and of a design which is suitable for an under-house development or basement renovation?
Will it fit within your budget?
Will drainage be an issue?
What consents will be required?
Working though these issues is a lot easier with the guidance of someone experienced in basement renovation projects.
On a recent basement renovation project we were able to explore all the options and advise the client on a strategy. Using concept plans, we were then able to show on paper what the project would look like and accurately estimate the costs involved. On this project, a building consent and a resource consent were both required.
Drainage was also a bit of an issue, as it was uncertain as to what was actually available and whether it was deep enough to carry the sewerage and storm water away. Fortunately, as the soil was volcanic, soakage in this area was very good. So if we found that the existing stormwater drainage was not going to work for us, we knew we could rely on soakage. This is something that is not always possible in other areas. Sewerage is usually less of a problem as there are other options available if the drains are not deep enough.
There was quite a bit of work required for our architect to get though the council hoops to get the consenting process behind us, but this is usually a case of just working through the issues and moving forward. Once the consents were out the way, the next stage was construction of the basement renovation. Although a little daunting, this was plain sailing compared with with the frustrations of dealing with council!
Sending a digger under a house just supported on thin steel props seems quite scary. But in reality, it wasn’t as bad as it looked. We had installed all the steel beams designed for the project to support the existing structure and had these well supported on blocks and steel posts.