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Basement development

Are you planning on developing your basement?

A building permit is required for most alterations or construction within a dwelling and any time the installation of a wood stove or fireplace is involved. 

An electrical permit is required for any new wiring or changes to the existing wiring.

A gas permit is required for the installation of a gas fireplace.

For plumbing alterations, a plumbing permit may be required depending on the project. A plumbing permit is not required when the plumbing is roughed in and existing rough in locations are not being changed.

A homeowner can apply for all necessary permits (e.g. electrical, gas) provided it is a single family home and it is his/her primary residence. Depending on the scope of the work, a homeowner fee may be charged in addition to the permit fees. When hiring a contractor (e.g. electrician, gas fitter) please ensure that they obtain the necessary permits.

What to submit

  • Completed permit application form
  • Floor plan showing:
  • Use and dimensions of the proposed rooms, including area (e.g. square footage)
  • Details of structural changes
  • Window sizes and locations
  • Location of smoke alarm(s)
  • Drawing of window (including frame) showing height, width and openable area
  • Fees (see current fee schedule)

The submitted drawings do not have to be prepared by a professional, however they must include all the required information and must be completely legible to the satisfaction of the Safety Codes Officer. Additional information may be requested.

What you need to know

Furnace rooms

  • A door must be provided to each room containing a furnace within a dwelling unit.
  • The furnace room must be provided with a means of supplying the required combustion air.

Smoke alarm location

  • There shall be at least one smoke alarm on each floor level, including basements.
  • Smoke alarms must be located in each bedroom, and in any hallway servicing a bedroom.
  • Smoke alarms shall be installed on or near the ceiling.
  • Smoke alarms shall be installed by permanent connections to an electrical circuit and shall have no disconnection switch between the overcurrent device and the smoke alarm. Where a smoke alarm is required to be installed in an existing dwelling as a result of development of space for sleeping use it need not be interconnected with existing smoke alarms in the dwelling unit, but if more than one new smoke alarm is required, all new smoke alarms shall be interconnected.

Windows

  • The bedroom shall have not less that one outside window openable from the inside and shall provide an unobstructed opening of not less than 380 mm (15 in.) in height and width and 0.35 sq. m (3.77 sq. ft.) in area (eg. 380 mm (15 in.) x 920 mm (36 in.) = 0.35 sq. m).
  • Where a required window opens into a window-well, a clearance of not less than 760 mm (30 in.) shall be provided in front of the window. (Note: windows are not required in laundry rooms, water closet rooms, basement recreation rooms and unfinished basements).
  • It is recommended that the sills of windows intended for use as emergency exits be not higher than 1.5 m (5 ft.) above the floor. Sometimes it is difficult to avoid having the sill higher than this (e.g. windows in basement bedrooms). In this case, it is recommended that the access to the window be improved by some means such as built-in furniture installed below the window.

Exterior wall finish

  • The perimeter of the foundation wall is to be insulated from the top of the wall to a minimum of 600 mm (24 in.) below the exterior finished ground level. This insulation is to have a minimum thermal resistance value of RSI 1.4 (R8). Foamed plastic insulation materials can be dangerous when exposed to fire and must be protected by a thermal barrier (e.g. 1/2 in. drywall).
  • Vapour barrier shall be installed on the heated side of insulation.
  • Where a separate interior cladding is applied to an exterior concrete wall which is in contact with the soil, the interior surface of the foundation wall below grade shall be damp-proofed.

Printable brochure (269.0 KB)  

More Information

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Last updated: Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Page ID: 39747