On the plus side of a tornado attack: multi level basements

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture

Jul 31

On the plus side of getting whacked by a tornado in September 2018 is knowing soil conditions in our neighborhood, Arlington Woods.

It’s sand all the way down–a great foundation material–it’ll support residential structure no problem at all plus the drainage is fantastic.

Here’s our neighbor’s home. Her house was destroyed by the tornado attack. Now they are removing her old foundation and getting ready to pour a replacement.

Notice that there is no standing water in the hole. Why is that? Because across the street is a deep ravine, probably 14-meters difference in elevation.

Here’s a google isometric view of the ravine (before the tornado hit):

It means that the water table is probably at least 9 and maybe as much as 13-meters below grade by the time groundwater gets to the other side of the roadway.

Other than the fact that none of these homes will likely ever need a sump pump, it also means (if you ever wanted to), you could have a double basement; that is, a multi-level developed area below grade.

Why would anyone ever do such a thing.

Well, in cities like London and Toronto where land is extremely expensive, rich dudes have been doing exactly that.

Luxury recreation room in Hampstead basement

CNN does a decent job covering this issue; read more here, https://www.cnn.com/style/article/going-underground-london-luxury-basements/index.html

home theater in basement

Believe it or not, some property owners are going down as much as five levels, adding as much or more square footage below as appears above. These homes are called “iceberg” mansions as a result.

Apparently, according to an urban planner friend of mine, you own (at least in some jurisdictions) the land beneath your home to the center of the Earth. So, if planning rules (setbacks, height limits and so forth) restrict the built form of your place, the only way to go is… down.

This is a kind of property animation. “Animation” is a term I use to refer to adding value to your real estate portfolio. While a gym, rec room, home theater and bowling alley are not really what I had in mind in terms of animation, how about a basement apartment or two or a workshop or space for a home-based business? That would add real value IMHO.

What else would I add?

Natural light.

What’s that you say, natural light in a basement?

You bet–solar light pipes (tubes) can bring sunlight practically anywhere–into your cupboards too.

I’ve seen it done. It’s fantastic and is effective in terms of fighting SAD, seasonal affective disorder (caused by lack of sunlight).

It’ll also lower energy costs–you’re replacing electrical lighting (and consumption) with a better, FREE alternative–from good old Sol, which will last you a few billion more years.

solar light tube or light pipe
sunlight in a laundry room
natural light in a parking garage

FOR REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT AND BUSINESS COACHING THAT’LL HELP YOU PROVIDE FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY FOR 3-GENERATIONS, PLEASE CONTACT:

Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (civil), M Eng-Sci, PhD
Real Estate Investment and Business coach
Century 21 Explorer Realty Inc broker
Ottawa Senators founder
1-613-762-8884
bruce.firestone@century21.ca
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Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.

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