Building Code Requirements for Basement Remodeling

Building Code Requirements for Basement Remodeling

The process of converting your basement into an area for living requires you to adhere to certain regulations and rules similar to what is needed to construct an addition living space.


The criteria you’ll have to satisfy to remodel your basement will depend, naturally, the location you live in. The overview below is based on the International Residential Code (IRC). Since more than 90% of municipalities have their codes based on the IRC there is a good chance that the information provided below is in line with the standards of your community.


Height Requirements


Building codes generally stipulate that the ceiling of the basement must be at seven feet high. However, most local codes permit some deviation from this standard. As an example, exemptions are typically allowed for structural elements like beams and girders set at a height of no more than seven feet from the floor.


Typically, structural elements are exempt from the height limit when they are no more than 6 inches lower than the ceiling and they are located at minimum 4 feet.


Staircase Requirements


One of the most frequent issues encountered during basement remodeling involves a staircase that does not comply with the code requirements for living spaces. IRC standards require that staircase’s components meet those dimensions as follows:


The Risers have a maximal of between steps of 7 3/4 inches in vertical elevation between the steps

Treads must be at least 10 inches deep and at a minimum 36 inches wide

Handrails are generally required as is a minimum height of at minimum 6-foot-8 inches in headroom over the distance of the stairs.


Emergency Egress Requirements


The majority of codes mandate that basements converted into an area for living must have an emergency escape route to escape. This is why the majority of renovation projects require the installation of an appropriate door or window. Bedrooms must be equipped with an emergency exit of their own.


If your basement does not have an access point to outside, you could build products like specially-designed emergency Egress windows. However, cutting through walls of concrete to create an emergency exit can considerably increase the price of a basement remodeling project.


Make sure you check your local requirements.


The information above is only an introduction to the basic requirements that need to be fulfilled when making a basement a living space. Consult with your local authorities for specifics, and to determine the local requirements that differ from IRC guidelines.


However, regardless of your local regulations following the rules is not a huge cost to pay. In the end the advantages you’ll reap will make the cost and stress of the remodeling of your basement tiny price to pay.

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Our skilled team has the experience needed to handle any issues that may arise with your installation, and we prioritize high-quality customer service. We always get the job done right because we want to keep our customers comfortable.  We look forward to hearing from you, and just like you, all of us at Basement Remodeling Lansing MI, can’t wait to get started.

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