I have a house with a continuous concrete stem wall, and a sill plate seismically bolted to the foundation. It's on a hillside, and the north (downslope) is post and pier (not continuous). There are anchor bolts as well.
The downhill side of the house has a crawl space big enough you can almost stand up in it, dirt below my feet.
What's the process (and reality) about digging this out a bit and creating a finished basement? Both for insulation and for increased livability / storage. I assume there's a building engineer in there?