For the purpose of the short story that I am writing I have come with an idea of a mud-brick small building (base floor + top floor, just a few rooms), lost somewhere in the north Nigeria. The building is in a very close proximity (about 30-50 metres in a straight line) of a lake. For the sake of the story told building must be equipped with a basement or any other underground / below ground room.

Is this possible at all? Am I able to build anything brick-like in a damp, watery ground like you would expect in a such proximity to a lake? Would foundations and general construction guides allow such construction? If not then what is the closest distance to a lake where such building could be safely built and exist?

Temperatures in north Nigeria varies from 23 degrees Celsius during wet season to up to 40 degrees Celsius just a few last weeks of the dry season, just as a wet season is about to come. Overall air humidity during wet season can be as high as 80 percent. If that matters.

The humidity of such cellar is not a problem for me / for my story, as long as such underground room can safely exist and would allow to carry some weapons and firearms in such conditions.

I have found and read through following questions, but I don't get direct answer to my question there:

  1. Uses of a damp basement
  2. 90% Humididty @ 23 Celsius direct from Air Conditioning Outlet

I am a complete newbie to a house construction-like questions, so sorry, if this one is naive or off-topic here. Thank you.

  • 1
    Before digging a basement check the water level. – Solar Mike May 15 '20 at 7:10
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    The old joke is that a builder digs a hole, calls it a basement and claims that it'll stay dry. A farmer digs a hole and calls it a pond. In seriousness, though, just place the dwelling on a knoll above the lake. Don't call the understory a basement -- make it a, 'pit in the floor, obviously added after the fact and haphazardly covered...' – Aloysius Defenestrate May 15 '20 at 13:26
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    If the ground is pretty flat between the house and the lake, the basement will get wet. If the land slopes (steeply, even), it will likely be reasonably dry. You're writing the story, unless you're calling out a specific, actual lake that your readers can look up on a map, make it in a hilly area and call it good! – FreeMan May 15 '20 at 15:16
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    If the basement floor is below the level of the lake, then it's not a basement, it's a keel... – Harper - Reinstate Monica May 15 '20 at 23:02

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