Can You Reuse the Basement of a Demolished Building?

So, you’ve recently demolished an entire building or come into possession of one where only the basement remains — basically a lined hole in the ground. Since no one will likely see it from the outside, would it be possible to save time and money by simply reusing this basement — presumably building on top of it?

Why Reusing a Basement May Seem Like a Good Idea

If you’ve been around construction enough, you’ve probably seen the site of a demolished building with a remaining basement. This is usually outlined in concrete and may contain some steel supports in the foundation and walls — possibly even some support columns. If the basement will remain unfinished and likely be used for storage, one could get the idea to save yourself the time and money it takes to demolish and rebuild it and simply reuse it.

Why Reusing an Existing Basement is Not a Good Idea

Have you ever heard the about the wise man who built his house upon the rock instead of the sinking sand? We’re not saying that an existing basement is “sinking sand” per se, but it’s very difficult to know if it’s still structurally secure enough to use as the foundation for a new building.

  • The concrete may older and the steel may be compromised.
  • The processes that were used during the time of its construction may not be up to today’s building codes.
  • You probably will not know what is underneath the basement and if it was built to keep water from collecting.
  • You’re probably not sure about what damage the demolition of the rest of the building may have done to the basement.
  • It’s unlikely that the new building you’ll want to build on the spot will align with the design of the basement.

“Well, what should I do with this existing basement?”
Without more information about the original building, the demolition of that building, the design of the basement or its present condition, the best thing to do is finish the job and demolish the basement. Once the existing basement is demolished and debris removed, little excavation for a new basement will be necessary. It just makes sense to start fresh. You won’t be restricted by old basement’s design, materials, or present condition. Long story short, when it comes to mysterious supports, sometimes it’s best to leave the past in the past.

We’re not definitively saying that you should demolish this existing basement in this post. Instead, give us, the actual demolition company professionals at DT Specialized Services, a call. We’d be happy to help you determine what the best plan of action is and then gladly offer our demolition services for your next project.