Top Safety Tips When Renovating A Basement Bedroom

Published On April 15, 2019 | By Sabrina Barstow | Home


All too commonly DIY hobbyists decide to take to the task of transforming their damp and musty basement into their dream man cave or worse a guest bedroom. What hobbyists do not seem to always take into consideration is that there are many legal requirements such as fire safety that will ensure the occupants can safely vacate the building. Unfortunately many DIY hobbyists carrying out their own renovations have never considered these regulations let alone put them in place. For example, any bedrooms in a basement must have a window for escape purpose. Furthermore the regulations state that the window must be no more than 44 inches from the floor and a minimum of 20 x 24 in size.

These new regulations have come about to curtail the practice of DIY hobbyists turning basements with no means of escape into additional bedrooms. Unfortunately most basements converted to bedrooms over the last few decades have no such egress emergency window. This is a huge problem for the owner as they would likely be liable for any injury or loss that a guest staying in that basement entailed.

Fortunately there are now ways to address this conundrum as existing foundation walls can be cut to provide the necessary escape window. It will not be cheap and cost you between $500 for DIY and $2,500 for a professional but it can be done. What is more you will have tremendous benefits such as vastly improved natural lighting and improved ambience, which is so lacking in many basements.

Of course staying compliant with local regulations is essential as basement fires are commonplace and if you do not get licensed electrical engineers to do any electrical work you could end up in big trouble.

Many DIY Hobbyists will try their hand and claim at the time that the basement is for a laundry or den but then change it to a bedroom after an official inspection. But regulators are not that daft and now assume that any room that is considered to be bedroom sized and has a closet, is considered to be a bedroom so will need an egress window.

Furthermore you must be aware than in most states in Canada you will also need a permit to carry out any electrical work. Furthermore this work will need to be expected and passed before you get a certificate. And without the relevant certificates your handy work in the basement has just cost you perhaps $10k. You might be able to retrospectively get a certificate but regulations are a fluid thing and work carried out years before is unlikely to meet current standards.

Another consideration is with the plumbing if you are fortunate your home may be situated above the sewage level in which case you can plumb the basement bathroom as normal. But it is always best to get a professional as often it will require specialist tools and equipment and any digging into the foundations are likely to increase the risk of a leak. So always leave this to a professional.


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