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Finished Basement Planning And Dealing With Building Codes

The Handyguys give an overview of how to plan for your finished basement.

Part 3 in the Basement Finishing Series

A nice door makes entering your basement invitingNow that your basement is ready to finish, you need to develop a plan to execute that construction job down under. The Handyguys know some creative visionaries can see the complete construction plan in their head and simply start driving nails until they have a beautiful basement. However, for the rest of us, we need to write out some basic plans, study the building codes and determine whether we have enough money to complete the work. That’s right, you are going to need a handful of hard earned cash to get your basement finished well.

But, where do you start? First, you should determine if you can afford to finish your basement. The Handyguys tell you how much it will cost per square foot to get the job done. Make sure you can afford the job before you begin making your plans.

Simple drawings may be all that is required for your inspector

Once you have determined that your wallet is up to the task, get out the graph paper or install a design program such as Google Sketch Up to draw out your new basement. The geeky side of the Handyguys suggests using the computer, but it certainly is not required. The building inspector just needs a drawing that shows your dimension, windows sizes, outlets and other items that the Handyguys discuss on this episode.

A neat electrical job will give confidence to the inspectorWhat about code issues? What do you need to consider to get those plans right? There is more to consider then just electrical loads, outlet placement, etc. You need to do load calculations on your HVAC system to make sure that it can handle the load of your additional living space. If your central heat cannot take the load, you will want to consider other sources of heat (generally you do not need to cool the basement space as the earth does a sufficient job).

The links below may be helpful for fulfilling your local codes. However, you must determine the codes that are established in your local jurisdiction! That is the only way to be compliant.

Check out the podcast for more information and view these helpful links:

General code checklist

Heat Loss and Gain Worksheet

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