Hello. I am new to this site. My primary reason for joining is that I am preparing for a DIY project where I'll be digging part of my crawlspace out to make a partial basement. About 1/3 of the crawlspace is already almost 8' high (footing to joist), however, it tapers up to about 4' high in the back corner. I had an enginerer look at my foundation and he advised against encroaching into the 45 deg. slope from the footings, so I'll be building retaining walls that are spaced back a bit. I'll also need to remove my masonry columns and replace with steel columns on new (deeper) footings. I've attached a picture from Google Sketchup of what (I hope) it will look like when I'm done. Anyway, this post is partly to introduce myself and partly to link back to in future posts when I have questions to pose to the experts here so I don't have to keep repeating myself. Thanks!