Home Improvements. Basement development. What you need to know. calgary.ca/dba call 3-1-1

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1 Home Improvements Basement development What you need to know. calgary.ca/dba call 3-1-1

2 I plan to finish my basement. Do I need a Building Permit? A Building Permit is required for basement alterations or construction, unless the changes are strictly cosmetic. If you are altering your basement for the purpose of developing a basement suite, please refer to the brochure called Secondary Suites. Other permits that may be required: Electrical, Plumbing, Gas, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning). Please note: It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the work being carried out does not contravene the requirements of restrictive covenants, caveats or any other restrictions registered against the property. Where do I apply? Applications are accepted in person only. The Development & Building Approvals customer service counter is located on the third floor of the Calgary Municipal Building, 800 Macleod Tr. SE. What do I need to bring? Your application must be accompanied by: Two sets of Building Plans. The names of any contractors who will be working on your project. Note: Contractors are required to hold a valid City of Calgary business licence. It is recommended that you call before you hire to confirm the contractor s licence status. Fees - Application fees vary. For more information call

3 Please note: If windows are being added or enlarged, you will also need to provide Elevation Drawings of the affected side of the house and Site Plans (two sets of each). The following sample Floor Plan is NOT scaled appropriately for an actual building permit application, but is provided for your reference to be used as a guide: What are Building Plans? Indicate Existing or New Windows Window Size and Type of Operation Building Plans are working drawings of proposed construction. For basement development, you must submit a Floor Plan and, if you are enlarging windows or adding new windows, Elevation Drawings are also required. Plans must be drawn to scale, preferably ¼ =1 or 1:50 in metric (the accepted minimum scale is 3/16 =1 ), and will be accepted in metric or imperial, but not a combination of both. Plans must be clearly labeled with the following information: Floor Plans to show the layouts, dimensions and use of existing and proposed rooms and spaces; details of structural changes, if proposed; the size of windows and doors; and the number of additional plumbing fixtures being installed. Elevations if windows are being added or enlarged, to show the affected sides of the building in relation to the exterior ground surface. Identify Bathroom Fan Identify Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms RECREATION ROOM New Windows Openings Wider Than 4-0 Require an Engineer s Review Indicate Floor Area in Square Feet or Square Metres BATH BEDROOM SA Co 32 Min. LAUNDRY 32 Min. MECHANICAL 2 3

4 What is a Site Plan? A Site Plan is a bird s-eye view drawing of your property that clearly shows the layout and dimensions of: The lot and all existing and proposed buildings and structures, including cantilevers. All abutting streets, avenues, lanes and adjoining properties. Easements and Utility Rights-of-Way. You may prepare your own Site Plan, drawn to a scale of not less than 1 =20 or 1:200 in metric, although a recent survey certificate is preferred. Your drawings must be fully dimensioned and will be accepted in metric or imperial, but not a combination of both. The following information must be clearly labeled on your drawings: The following sample Site Plan is NOT scaled appropriately for an actual building permit application, but is provided for your reference to be used as a guide: Indicate Size and Location of Any Proposed New Window Wells north arrow the street address the site s legal description Why am I required to submit plans? Plans are examined as part of the approval process to ensure the proposed construction complies with rules as detailed in The City of Calgary Land Use Bylaw and safety standards as specified in the Alberta Building Code. 4 5

5 What are the rules and safety standards for basement development? Some of the bylaw, code requirements and considerations for basement development are Windows - For bedrooms, provide an unobstructed opening of NOT less than 0.35 m² (3.8 ft²) in area with no dimension less than 380 mm (15 ). This window shall be openable from the inside without the use of tools or special knowledge. Normally, only slider and casement type windows meet this requirement. - The minimum dimension requirement is waived where a bedroom door provides direct access to the exterior. - Where a window with the minimum dimension is required and that window opens into a windowwell, a clearance of at least 550 mm (22 ) shall be provided in front of the window. - Where the sash swings towards the window-well, the operation of the sash should not reduce the clearance in a manner that restricts escape in an emergency. Basement Exterior Wall Finish (see example) - The perimeter of the foundation wall is to be insulated from the top of the wall to a minimum of 600 mm (24 ) below the exterior finished ground level. This insulation is to have a thermal resistance value of at least RSI 1.4 (R8). Foamed plastic insulation must be covered by at least ½ drywall or equivalent. - On the heated side of insulation, provide a continuous vapour barrier of approved 6 mil poly or equivalent. - The interior surface of the foundation wall below grade must be damp-proofed unless there is at least a 25 mm (1 ) gap between the concrete and the insulated wall. Interior Damp Proofing is Required When No Air Space is Provided Between Foundation and Wood Framing. Interior Damp Proofing Should Not Extend Higher Than the Adjacent Ground Level Ground Level width Minimum R8 Insulation From Top of Wall to Minimum 2-0 Below Ground Level Vapor Barrier Interior Finish height Wood Furring Wall (A Minimum 1/2 Air Space From the Foundation Wall is Recommended) Bottom Floor Plate is Pressure Treated or Separated From Floor With Polyethylene Shaded area indicates the unobstructed opening. Width or height can not be less than 15 and the area (width x height) can not be less than 3.8 sq ft. Exterior Basment Wall 6 7

6 Heating & Ventilation - Maintain proper clearances of 600 mm (24 ) in front and 150 mm (6 ) at the sides and back to combustible construction, when furnaces and other gas-burning appliances are enclosed. - Provide outside air to all natural gas-fired appliances for combustion. - When adding a new furnace, provide a supply of fresh air into the cold air plenum directly from the outside. - Insulate the ducts carrying outside air for combustion and keep the ducts away from water pipes to prevent them from freezing. Insulate the fresh air intake to the return air plenum. - Install cold air return at floor level of developed rooms. - When additional gas appliances (e.g. decorative gas log fireplaces) are installed, vent them separately to the outside. The existing furnace vents usually do not have the additional capacity required (see the Gas Appliances brochure). - The chimney flue for a decorative log fireplace must be sized for five times the gas input rating shown on the appliance. - The heating and ventilation system shall be installed by a heating contractor licensed with The City of Calgary. - All gas installations and piping must be carried out by a qualified licensed contractor. Electrical Please refer to the booklet entitled Guide for homeowner permit and electrical wiring for guidelines for planning a residential wiring system. If you are building or renovating in an infill area, your sewer/water service may have to be upgraded. For verification and/or further information call the Waterworks & Wastewater Estimator at Please note: This is not a complete list of requirements. For more detail on the specific rules applicable to your property, please contact Development & Building Approvals at You can find an electronic copy of the bylaw on The City s website at calgary.ca/landusebylaw. For detailed and complete building codes and fire regulations, please refer to the Alberta Building Code and the Alberta Fire Code website at municipalaffairs.gov.ab.ca or contact the Province of Alberta s Municipal Affairs and Housing Safety Services branch at When will I get my permit? Applications for basement development can be processed on a same day basis, provided your application is complete and complies with The City of Calgary Land Use Bylaw and the Alberta Building Code. 8 9

7 For more information: Permit Monday applications to Friday, 8 a.m. are to 4:30 accepted p.m. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In person: The City of Calgary Development & Building Approvals Third Floor, Customer Calgary Service Municipal Counter Building Third Floor, 800 Calgary Macleod Municipal Tr. S.E. Building Calgary, 800 Macleod Alberta Tr. T2P S.E. 2M5 For the status Calgary, of your application, Alberta T2P call 2M To book an By inspection, phone: call For more information, visit calgary.ca/dba. Online: calgary.ca/dba This series is published by The City of Calgary, Development & Building Approvals, as part of a public information service. These This pamphlets series is published have no by legal The status City of and Calgary, cannot be Development used as an official & Building interpretation Approvals, of as the part various of a bylaws, codes public and information regulations service. currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to These brochures persons have relying no solely legal status on this and information. cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently Pamphlets in are effect. updated The City periodically. of Calgary accepts no responsibility Contact to Development persons relying & Building solely on Approvals this information to determine if you have Brochures the most are updated recent edition. periodically. Contact Development & Building Approvals to determine if you have Revised the most April recent 2009 edition

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