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Old 10-06-2013, 08:14 PM   #1
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Difference between a 3 story and a 2 story with walkout basement


Can someone explain the difference between a walkout basement and a 3 story and what determines which is which? I'm in Saskatchewan, Canada
Our building project has been shut down because the village says they don't allow 3 stories and yet there is one a few houses down but they call it a walkout basement.
We only have living space on the top 2 with a garage on the bottom and the other one has living space on all 3 levels and it was built in 2010...5 yrs after the bylaws were put in place.
The bylaw reads that no building or structure can be more than a 2 story or 10 meters (32' 8")
from finished grade and we would be over a foot below this.
To us 'OR' is the keyword

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Last edited by scc342; 10-06-2013 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 10-06-2013, 09:29 PM   #2
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Difference between a 3 story and a 2 story with walkout basement


idk. but i would say that they are going by what is seen from the street.

did you get permits for this ? i would think that this would have been discovered then.

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Old 10-06-2013, 10:17 PM   #3
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Difference between a 3 story and a 2 story with walkout basement


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Can someone explain the difference between a walkout basement and a 3 story and what determines which is which?
A walk out basement is a basement that is either partially or entirely under ground on one side of the house, but at ground level on the other. Clearly, this implies the house is on a fairly steep hill.

A walkout basement that opens to the back of the house often looks like just a two story house from the street.
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Old 10-06-2013, 10:20 PM   #4
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Difference between a 3 story and a 2 story with walkout basement


Unless it's because of what Fix'n alluded to with the difference being what's visible from the street view of the home I really don't know the difference. Have you asked the local officials who shut down your project what the reasoning is? Sounds like that should certainly be the 1st place to start.
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Old 10-06-2013, 11:58 PM   #5
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Difference between a 3 story and a 2 story with walkout basement


Basements are below grade space. A walkout basement has one wall at grade so that you are able to "walk out" at grade level on one side. A two story home has two stories above grade, and a three story one has three stories above grade.

Because the walk out basement area is below grade at the front, the home appears to be a standard single or two story home from the street view. If your garage level basement is visible from the street, I suspect that's the source of the municipality's issue with you, although I also wonder why this wasn't discovered during the planning and permitting stages.
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Old 12-11-2013, 03:58 PM   #6
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Difference between a 3 story and a 2 story with walkout basement


Thank you to each of your for you indepth thought about this. I have called some large city permit review depts. to get the answer and each of you has some aspect to the answer.
The definition of a storey is the portion of a building that has a floor and a ceiling or another floor above it.
The difference between a walkout basement and a 3 story is determined by the street address. So, however, many storeys are above grade on the street address side determines whether it is a 2 storey or not and if the basement is more than 2 meters above grade it is also considered a storey
Since I wrote this we tried to fight this to no avail so asked for an amendment to our plan to be a 2 storey with an open roof deck that would have a roof 8 ft above the open deck to provide shade in the summer and they have still turned down our amendment calling it a 3 storey.
So I have started looking up definitions and the building code says a building has roof and walls and supports or shelters occupants or belongings from the environment. A shelter protects occupants or things from the environment, a ceiling is not structural and a roof is and that a roof is outside, a ceiling is inside. So an open deck certainly doesn't protect and ours won't have walls.
This is a lake community and I found the old mayor that worked on the bylaws almost 10 yrs ago and it was only put in place so that lake front cabins wouldn't block the back row as much. We are the back row with a railroad behind us and nobody on one side of us. Our only 2 neighbors are in favor our cabin project!
The bylaw reads no building or structure shall be more than a 2 storey or 10 meters in height above finished grade. 'OR' is the keyword and all the cities and other resort villages say it's the height that matters yet they are digging their heals in and will not lift the 'cease construction order' We are now appealing and will see how that goes. We have to much invested to give up.
About the permit...we had intended to have a tall crawl space below the first floor but the ground conditions were so wet we couldn't dig down so we decided it would be safer to use screw piles rather than concrete as footings and steel beams welded to them and once we did that we thougth it only made sense to add another 2 feet and have a garage under it. We almost have our 2nd storey walls finished when they came and shut us down and it's been 4 months!
So now we will have to change the bottom to living space. A LOT of extra money spent for nothing and especially when there are 2 other full 3 storeys in the resort built after the bylaws were implemented! Only because they think if they have dirt up part way on the back alley side that it's a 2 storey with a walkout. One even has a garage on the bottom like ours would.
Also, the permit only states that we are to stay within the Bylaws, which we have (even with a 3 story) and doesn't say anywhere that we have to go to them with changes.
Thanks again DIY friends....I hope this helps all of you in some way in return.
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:17 PM   #7
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Difference between a 3 story and a 2 story with walkout basement


Once the plans where submitted and approved you can not just go and change things without new plans and once again getting someone to sign off on it.
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Old 12-12-2013, 11:28 AM   #8
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Difference between a 3 story and a 2 story with walkout basement


That's what they told us, although it doesn't state it on the permit so thats why we tried to appeal it and get an amendment for a 3 storey first and now what we believe is 2 storey and they have not budged sayings it's still a 3 storey.
As I said, the new plan would have the bottom floor and send floor as living space and the roof would be flat with an open deck on top of it and then a roof 8 feet above to provide shade and protect from rain but no walls so will not be a room as it has no walls or ceiling and they still say it's a 3 storey. It's ridiculous!
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:37 PM   #9
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Difference between a 3 story and a 2 story with walkout basement


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That's what they told us, although it doesn't state it on the permit so thats why we tried to appeal it and get an amendment for a 3 storey first and now what we believe is 2 storey and they have not budged sayings it's still a 3 storey.
As I said, the new plan would have the bottom floor and send floor as living space and the roof would be flat with an open deck on top of it and then a roof 8 feet above to provide shade and protect from rain but no walls so will not be a room as it has no walls or ceiling and they still say it's a 3 storey. It's ridiculous!
Ayuh,.... Skip the "Roof" over the deck, 'n use a canvas cover,....

Ya get what ya want, 'n "they" can save face,.....
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Old 12-13-2013, 05:11 PM   #10
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Difference between a 3 story and a 2 story with walkout basement


Can you tell me why doing a canvas cover rather than a roof would make the difference? It sure would be a lot less expensive but certainly wouldn't look as nice. Thanks!
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Old 12-13-2013, 06:40 PM   #11
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Difference between a 3 story and a 2 story with walkout basement


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Can you tell me why doing a canvas cover rather than a roof would make the difference? It sure would be a lot less expensive but certainly wouldn't look as nice. Thanks!

and then a roof 8 feet above to provide shade and protect from rain but no walls so will not be a room as it has no walls or ceiling and they still say it's a 3 storey.
Ayuh,... Yer Roof in the bold text, is the Ceilin', when yer standin' on yer deck, a room,...
without walls,....

Canvas is temporary, not a roof,...
'n canvas can be Very creative, the look is up to the artist,...
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Old 12-13-2013, 11:35 PM   #12
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Difference between a 3 story and a 2 story with walkout basement


Hmmmm...it's important to remember that we are in Canada so get at least a couple of feet of snow in the winter with high winds so a canvas would need to be replaced every year.
Also the definition of ceiling says that it's a finished surface on the uppermost surface of an interior room so it surely doesn't count as a room which has walls, floor and a ceiling.
We are so past giving in...we have already surrendered our original plan that was living space on the top 2 stories and a garage on the bottom so we could see the lake from indoors and out

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