Essentially the "to be or not to be" of the basement argument depends upon two factors- cost and convenience- which are very much interrelated. It is generally accepted that the elimination of a basement can result in cost savings, but it is also equally clear from studies of family requirements that adequate substitute facilities must be provided above ground, if the basement is omitted. Unfortunately in the past, and particularly in low-cost housing, these above ground facilities have not always been adequate. It should then be abundantly clear that there is no simple, straightforward answer to the question of which is the cheaper- basement or basementless. On one side, the cost of any particular basement will always be affected by the topography of the lot, the character of its soil, and the climate of the region in which the house is to be built. On the other side lies the design factor (traditional or ranch-style) and the extent to which space above ground is to be substituted for basement space. Lot size also plays a big part; a sprawling, basementless house means less space for terrace, garden and outdoor living. The region of the country and type of land are also factors. Extreme winter temperatures can mean that the basementless house needs to have deep foundation walls extending below the frost line; a little extra excavation then gives you the basement anyway, and at an insignificant cost. A steep site will require excessively high walls between the first floor and grade on the downhill side of the building, thus necessitating what amounts to partial basement construction in any case. In the same way building a basementless house on soil which is damp, uneven in quality, or otherwise poor from a design standpoint will often require foundations of unusual size at greater than normal expense. Conversely, basement construction becomes a sever liability on a rocky site or on ground that does not drain well. Scheduling also enters the picture; finishing a basement in the fall for winter building introduces difficulties in preventing frost from getting under the exposed foundations.