Adding a Basement Apartment

Adding a Basement ApartmentWhen planning to add a basement apartment you will first need to determine if it is permitted by local municipal codes, including both fire and building codes.

When planning to add a basement apartment you will first need to determine if it is permitted by local municipal codes, including both fire and building codes. All existing and new basement apartments will need to comply with existing laws and regulations. City governments have the jurisdiction to determine whether they will allow an additional dwelling unit to be added to a home. Cities can also prohibit additional dwelling units in some areas.

Things to Think About There should be at least a 30 minute fire rating on all materials used for walls, floors, and ceilings. All dwelling units of the home should be covered by at least a 15 minute fire rating and an interconnected fire alarm system. Smoke detectors should be operational in all floors of the home, even when they are not lived in. Your local government can give you the exact regulations as to smoke detectors for your area. If materials that are not fire rated are used it may mean that a sprinkler system will need to be installed. The basement apartment will need its own private entrance that does not require entering the main dwelling of the home. There must also be an alternate exit available with clear access through the door.

Prior to Beginning Construction Take a close look at local building codes to determine whether building a basement apartment in your home is really feasible. Always follow municipal regulations regarding building permits. To help ensure that your new apartment passes inspections from fire and building officials it is best to meet with them ahead of time and get clear expectations.

Watch Out For There are private companies out there that advertise their services as basement apartment and fire code specialists. You should know that the only people who can determine your compliance with local codes are municipal building and fire officials. Dont let these companies take advantage of you. Always make sure things are done correctly, as building a basement apartment can be a large investment.

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