I'm going to be finishing my basement this year and I just took some measurements and it turns out my ceiling is a little lower than I originally expected. From cement floor to floor joist, the height is 7' 3". There is a beam running through the center of the basement with some duct work that comes down to about the height of the beam. The height from cement floor to the bottom of the beam is 6' 6". The code in my part of the country calls for a minimum ceiling height of 7' and allows the minimum height to drop to 6'8" for support beams and ducts. I remember reading somewhere that I could apply for an exemption when applying for my permit to allow the ceiling height to be a little lower than code if it is not possible to get to the minimum height. Is this true? Has anyone else finished their basement with low ceilings? What challenges did you face?