BRE - Foundations, basements and external works; Performance, diagnosis, maintenance, repair and the avoidance of defects

Organization: BRE
Publication Date: 18 February 2002
Page Count: 263

Scope of the book

The descriptions and advice given in this book concentrate on practical details. But there also needs to be sufficient discussion of principles to impart understanding of the reason for certain practices. In previous books in this series, some of the information which applied generally to the subject matter of the book was given in Chapter 1, but here the topics, though all closely related to the site, are rather more disparate, and the principles which govern practice will in consequence be found dispersed in individual chapters.

Included in foundations and basements is all work below DPC level, including strip foundations, piles, retaining walls to basements; but not including ground floor slabs or rafts, which were included in Floors and flooring, and building services within the footprint of the building, which were included in Building services.

Many points relating to the use of particular materials in close proximity to the ground, such as the durability of brick, block and concrete have been dealt with in Walls, windows and doors to which reference can be made.

Large civil engineering structures such as port installations, bridges and tunnels, underground car parks and very large non-building structures such as storage tanks are excluded from the scope of this book.

Included in external works are all items outside the building footprint but inside the site boundary, encompassing wastewater and surface water drains, supply of utilities (eg gas, electricity and cabled services), footpaths, and access for vehicles including car parks and hard standings to be found in the vicinity of buildings. Perimeter and freestanding boundary walls are also dealt with, as is security fencing and, in outline only, lighting; CCTV surveillance systems, though, are normally left in the hands of specialist consultants and contractors, and are therefore not covered in detail.

With such a broad scope, it will be apparent that only brief reference can be made to most topics, and the text therefore concentrates on those aspects with which BRE has been most heavily involved, whether in laboratory research, site investigation or development of legislation.

In principle, all types of buildings are included. However, it is inevitable that the nature of foundations becomes very sophisticated in some building types such as those which are very tall, and these installations rarely lend themselves to simple guidance for use by non-specialists. Indeed, there may well be no professional role whatsoever for them in this respect. However, even the relatively simple systems used in the majority of domestic construction provide adequate potential for improvement.