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Finishing_Your_Basement Do you need a permit? Yes. You must obtain a building permit for any basement development as determined by your local authority. Building permits are required for most major construction projects, including new buildings, additions, renovations, or a change of use in any existing building. Benefits of getting a permit • You have access to the expertise of certified safety codes officers (inspectors), who will help you comply with the Alberta Building Code. • Your plans will be reviewed by a certified safety codes officer to identify potential problems. This will help you make changes in the planning stage and avoid costly cor-rections after construction. • Inspections will be carried out by certified safety codes officers, who will provide you with inspection reports and followup of any outstanding deficiencies related to the Alberta Building Code. Finishing your basement Safety TipsBasement suites This brochure provides information about basement development for single-family homes only. It does not include the prov-ince-wide standards for the construction of secondary suites that are now included in the Alberta Building Code and the Alberta Fire Code. For more information on basement suite re-quirements, please see the Secondary Suites brochure, or contact Municipal Affairs and Housing using the contact information on the back of this brochure. Alberta’s Safety System Alberta Municipal Affairs and Housing works in partner-ship with the Safety Codes Council, municipalities, corporations, agencies, and other organizations to deliver effective community-focused public safety programs and services to Albertans. Questions or more information: Alberta Municipal Affairs and Housing Safety Services Branch 16th Floor, Commerce Place 10155 - 102 Street Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4L4 Phone toll-free: 1-866-421-6929 Fax: 780-427-8686 E-mail: safety.services@gov.ab.ca www.municipalaffairs.alberta.ca/cp_index.cfm Safety Codes Council Suite 800, 10707 - 100 Avenue Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3M1 Toll-free within Alberta: Phone: 1-888-413-0099 Fax: 1-888-424-5134 www.safetycodes.ab.ca Please place your agency or municipality contact information in the space below. These brochures may be updated periodically. They have no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. December 2007 ISBN: 978-0-7785-6002-9 Bedroom windows Unless a bedroom has a door that leads directly to the building exterior, or the basement is sprin-klered, each bedroom must have at least one window that can be opened from the inside without the use of tools or technical knowledge. This window must provide an unobstructed opening with a minimum area of 0.35 m2 (3.77 ft2 or 543 square inches), and no dimen-sion less than 380 mm (15 inches). See the drawings below for further clarification. Examples of conforming and non-conforming bedroom windows The opening in example A is only 0.144 m2, and it will not allow the av-erage occupant to pass through the window as an alternate means of escape during a fire emergency. Examples B and C conform to height, width and area requirements Required plans information You must submit plans with your building permit application to your local authority be-fore starting any construction. The plans should contain the following floor plan and cross-section information: Floor plan requirements • Show proposed and existing rooms. • Indicate the use and dimensions of the proposed rooms under development. • Indicate details of any structural changes. • Show locations of smoke alarms. • Indicate locations, sizes and swing direction of all doors. • Indicate window sizes and locations. Cross-section requirements Cross-section details shall be provided where required by the safety codes officer and should incorporate the following: Insulation: The perimeter of the foundation wall is to be insulated from the top of the wall to a minimum of 600 mm (24 inches) below the exterior finished ground level. This insulation is to have a minimum thermal re-sistance value of RSI 1.4 (R8). Foamed plastic insulation materials: These can be dangerous when exposed to fire and must be protected by a thermal barrier (i.e. drywall). Vapour Barrier installed on the heated side of the insulation. Finishing your basement Window egress into window-well If a window opens into a window-well, a clear-ance of at least 550 mm (about 22 inches) be-tween the window and the wall of the window-well is required. An awning-style window opening into a win-dow-well may pose a challenge in maintaining this clearance, and it could interfere with the occupant’s ability to exit through the window-well. The required clearances must be main-tained when the window is in the open posi-tion. Gas-fired furnaces In developed basements, gas-fired furnaces and water heaters must be enclosed in a separate room from the living space, as required in the current edition of the Alberta Building Code. Smoke alarms Smoke alarms located in both the main dwell-ing and the basement must be installed as per the current edition of the Alberta Building Code. They must be hard-wired into an electrical cir-cuit and interconnected so they will all operate in unison. Carbon monoxide alarms Carbon monoxide alarms shall be installed in every home containing a solid-fuel-burning appliance, as required in the current edition of the Alberta Building Code. The alarms are also recommended for existing homes.