& Design One of the most rapidly growing areas in the residential construction market is that of domestic basements. Planning applications in one London Borough alone have increased 10 fold in the last 10 years and the market is expected to continue to grow particularly in London and major cities around the UK. The scale and complexity of the work has also progressively developed over recent years with two and three storey basements not uncommon and ever more demanding construction being planned to maximise floor space and function. As no specific and authoritative guidance is available in this area it is perhaps not surprising that issues have arisen in the suitability and safety of basements both during construction and when in use. Recent headline news items have included complete building collapse as a result of basement construction works being progressed. As a result several London Boroughs have commissioned their own internal guidance however these pieces of work were not co-ordinated and are not harmonised or recognised more widely. CIRIA’s Ground Engineering Panel working together with representatives from the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS) are planning the development of comprehensive guidance on the design and construction of domestic basements. The proposed new guidance would draw from our previous work, including embedded retaining walls and construction design and management, as well other industry work and regulation such as the Party Wall Act. The new guidance would specifically 8 construction cover the geotechnical design of walls and foundations, together with relevant associated ground and groundwater matters both during construction and for the permanent works. Not unsurprisingly the planned work is attracting interest from many local authorities, building control bodies, designers and constructors. The proposed new guide is currently in the scoping and fundraising phase and all parties interested in contributing or helping fund its development are encouraged to contact CIRIA. How can CIRIA help The new guide aims to provide clear comprehensive engineering guidance relevant for each of the main project parties, which include the architect (concept designer/consulting engineer), specialist consultants and contractors, and party wall surveyors. It is intended that other users of the guide will be local authority planning departments and their advisors who currently have no common baseline reference standard that can be used to assess and advise on planning applications. INFRASTRUCTURE of domestic basements Kieran Tully, CIRIA Associate, discusses proposed new guidance for those involved with the domestic design and construction of basements with emphasis on the geotechnical engineering considerations for both temporary and permanent works. References Party Wall Act 1996 (c.40) Get involved CIRIA is seeking industry support and involvement for project funding in the first instance. To find out more and to get involved contact Kieran Tully email@example.com Scope of the CIRIA guide The new guide will cover: The geotechnical design of permanent and temporary works and how this might be adopted in practice. The overall structural stability considerations when undertaking the work. Long-term performance considerations at the design stage. Understanding the impact on natural groundwater. flows both in the temporary works and permanent works conditions. Environmental impact issues such as noise, dust, traffic, nuisance and management of waste from the site. What can be reasonably expected as suitable control measures? This is subject to local planning restrictions. Responsibilities of the parties to the project. The use of building damage criteria and the need. consider the effect of movements rather than simple categorisation. Cumulative effects when one basement is constructed next to another or close to it.
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