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Thread: Stupid Question

  1. #1
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    Default Stupid Question

    Looking at all of the precious land space in the capital and wondering why the new home construction never includes a basement. Most Dominicans have never even heard of them. You would think basements would provide a cool place for storage and mechanicals, be cheap to construct, and provide greater use of the solar (not to mention hurricane protection). There must be some reasons none are built. Anyone know the negatives? Maybe Dominicans just don't like being underground.

  2. #2
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    The water table is in some areas 10', and due to heavy rains a malfunction with the sump pumps would be a problem, not to mention bugs and assortment of other kritters. Light and ventilation also a problem. Partial subterranean parking is used when removal of dirt is not cost effective

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    water, water and water again. things may look dry to you but when it rains heavily some streets fill with water in a space of minutes. some areas get constantly flooded, others occasionally. water carries debris and mud so sewages block quickly adding to the disaster.
    in addition to that there are underground streams in some areas. you can see it clearly on a road from santiago to POP. underground water "eats up" road surface.
    it would be hard to create basement with proper drainage. dominican engineers are not familiar with this concept: when we were still thinking about constructing a house i wanted underground garage - common solution in my country and a great idea to save space if your land is not big. our engineer kept on saying "it cannot be done"
    it can but it is expensive.
    to illustrate this problem:
    my parents in law have a house on the hillside. because of the position (slope) of the house they have half basement used as a garage (supported partially by the hill and partially by pillars). they had two gates on two sides of the property. few years ago we had mega rain that has flooded parts of the city in less than 20 minutes. water was so strong and so filled with debris it broke one of the gates and rushed through the garage down the hill. the stream was so powerful it took down entire section of wall before gushing further down.

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    Default Nuff said

    Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. Things in the DR for the most part can appear pretty benign but when the heavens open it changes fast. I guess I wouldn't want to be in a basement with the flash flooding that can happen here in less than a half an hour. Back to the drawing board.

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    95% of the time there's a reason for stuff like this. 5% is because they didn't figure it out yet and thats where the opportunity lies.

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    As an engineer I would say it's partly possibly because of the drainage but mostly just custom.

    I have in fact seen basements here and in addition basement parking garages.

    In other words if you would like to build a basement for a home or business just contact an engineer or architect and they will get you squared away.

  7. #7
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    ^^ here's the person you are looking for! i used to have a "semi" basement if you will, here years ago. my parents bought a house in arroyo hondo, one of the dampest places in the city and it oo was on a heavy slope, the back part of the house actually allowed for the construction of a lower level, but since the soil which was around the basement was so wet, the humidity was terrible. it's a nice thing to have and its interesting as people who came to the house were surprised to see a basement, but sometimes it just really isn't worth the hassle especially if the humidity is going to be so heavy and hard to control

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    We often shop at the Nacional on Independencia - the parking garage is underground/in the basement. So it CAN be done if you find the right people.

    AE

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    i understood that basements or under building car-parking made the house more prone to collapse in the event of an earth quake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDJones View Post
    On the other hand, go into the Malecon Center basement parking lot, and see the WRONG way to do it.

    I've seen 1 FOOT of water down there after a mild rainstorm.
    Sometimes it isn't the design architecture or engineer's fault. There are either to cases for emergency draining a below ground level floor; gravity of pump. In the case of gravity a pipe from the building is installed to drain to an existing public drainage structure or designed to "daylight", ie come out the side of a hill somewhere on the propery. For a sump pump a pump will push the water to a drainage structure.

    Therefore, the design engineer may have designed the system to drain to an existing public structure that was working at the time. However, these systems can clog up and it would be hard to predict if that were to happen. Also, the engineer may have specified a pump but if the owner of the building doesn't maintain or for that matter clean out the drainage pipe on the property the system can fail as well.

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