I see that buildings in the developed part of the world have basements. Why?

But, I never see basements in most buildings in South Asia. Why?

  • $\begingroup$ The water table? $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 6:10
  • $\begingroup$ Built on rock? The ground never freezes so foundations don't require it? Basements are rare in Ireland and UK apart from commercial or tall buildings. $\endgroup$
    – Transistor
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 6:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Transistor many older properties had ice houses to store ice that were below ground - a common solution before refrigerators came along. Perhaps it should be revisited as a solution to global warming... $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 8:45
  • $\begingroup$ Where have you traveled in the developed world? Here in Wisconsin, USA, houses have basements because the ground freezes in winter. If you don't build below the frost line, the freezing ground will heave and destroy the foundation. In Texas, Florida, and other southern states, the ground doesn't freeze, so you don't need this. $\endgroup$
    – LShaver
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 14:48
  • $\begingroup$ Lots of terraced housing in UK have basements $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 28, 2020 at 10:55

1 Answer 1


Basements are not that common in domestic properties. As posted in comments they are mostly found in areas where the ground freezes in winter. In the UK and Ireland some older properties have cellars as opposed to basements which were historically used for storage of coal etc. In the US the biggest reason why houses are built on basements in areas such as Colorado and the Northeast is to get the footings for the house below the frost line, which can be 3 ft. or 4 ft. down. The logic is that if you’re digging that deep, why not put in a floor and use the space? With no danger of frost in much of California, Texas etc, foundation footings don’t have to be nearly that deep. As for getting extra storage space, it’s generally cheaper to build at ground level, unless real-estate prices are extremely high where you want to build. You can, of course, include a basement in your floor plans anywhere, but if you have a flat site, I’ll bet that nine out of ten contractors will try to talk you out of it. Most of them do not want the worry of waterproofing a basement.


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