Tips for Building a Home With a Basement

A surprising new trend that is sweeping the nation is the construction of basements in high-end new homes. With property prices increasing and limited space above the ground, more and more people are turning to basements to create wine cellars, music and cinema rooms, gyms, rumpus rooms, laundries, and even swimming pools! Boutique Melbourne builder, Ravida, claims that basements were once a privilege to the wealthy, however they are now becoming more mainstream as homeowners want more bang for their buck and, frankly, basements are an effective way to do this.1

While the potential return on investment is hard to quantify, most people who build basements do it as a lifestyle choice, as they’re able to customise this room exactly how they want. The use of concrete technology such as shotcrete significantly reduces the time and labour costs of such an exercise. Despite this, basements certainly aren’t cheap because there is a lot of complexity involved when working out water ingress, ventilation, drainage, natural lighting, and other civil engineering challenges.

If you’re planning on building a new home, you might be thinking that a basement will just get that ‘old cellar’ smell and will be uninhabitable after a couple of years. Well, this certainly isn’t the case anymore. Basements can be a comfortable, odour-free environment that gives you that extra space you’ve always wanted. To give you a better understanding, here are some tips on building a new home with a basement.


Basements can get rather complicated and therefore expensive, so you should ensure that your budget permits the construction of a basement first. As a general rule of thumb, you should anticipate that the costs of building a basement will be roughly three times more expensive (per square metre) than building above ground.

Purpose of your basement

The purpose of your basement will have a considerable impact on the design requirements and costs. For example, creating a rumpus room or man cave will be much more expensive than constructing a wine cellar or garage. You need to consider building code regulations when planning your basement as any ‘inhabitable space’ will require you to adhere to many legalities (such as lighting and ventilation) that can really inflate the costs.

Inspect the soil

The condition of the soil in the ground will play an integral role in the foundations that will be required for your basement. On many occasions, special foundations will be required when the soil strength is low or there are other properties within the soil that could cause problems in the future. It is best to contact professionals such as Evolution Shotcrete who specialise in stabilising weak soil layers, or alternatively your builder or designer can advise you on the best course of action.

Waterproof & insulate your basement

Waterproofing and insulating your basement are key steps in eliminating the musty, damp odour that you may associate with old basements. On hot, humid days, moisture can form on the cool surfaces in your basement which contributes to mould growth and damp odours. Waterproofing and insulating your basement walls prevents humid air from reaching the surface of the walls, allowing the air in your basement to stay dry.

Waste disposal

Having a bar or bathroom in your basement really goes against the laws of physics, given that basements are below the ground and there is nowhere for waste to go. Sure, it’s still possible to have a bathroom in the basement, but it will be expensive considering that a sewer pump will be required to move any waste against gravity to your sewer pipes above the surface.

So, should I build a basement?

There are many factors to consider when building a basement in your new home, and these mainly relate to costs. If you have plenty of space above the ground, then a basement could be a little over the top (or below the bottom!) considering all the legal requirements that must be adhered to. On the other hand, if you live in dense urban area where living space is a premium, a basement is a fantastic idea as long as your budget permits.

If you’re interested in building a basement and have any questions or concerns about the construction process or building code regulations, get in touch with Evolution Shotcrete today by phoning 07 5561 8885.