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GBunny 11-11-2012 09:53 PM

Updating to Code
If I bought a house with a basement apartment that was built without a permit and I want to bring it up to code, what is the easiest way of doing this without ripping everything down and starting over?

GBrackins 11-11-2012 10:46 PM

it could have been built to code without a permit. unfortunately to have it inspected and approved by the local authority you would certainly have to open up areas so compliance could be determined. It's also the only way for you to know if it was constructed correctly.

md2lgyk 11-12-2012 06:53 AM

Too many variables to give you an accurate answer. If the house is old, a permit might not have been required when the apartment was built. Have you checked to see if it's legal to rent even if it doesn't meet todays code? If so, it was probably grandfathered. Are you planning to rent the apartment to someone? Does your zoning allow two-family dwellings? I suggest you go to your local authority, tell them what you intend, and they will tell you what you need (or don't need) to do.

jcarlilesiu 11-12-2012 09:21 AM

I am helping a client now address code compliance issues with a previously renovated and built-out basement.

Best I can tell at this time is that the building department just wants stamped and sealed permit drawings issued. (They just want their money).

TheCamper 11-14-2012 09:54 PM

You need to first determine what aspects of the finished basement apartment are in compliance and what is not. Common problems with a basement apartment that did not have the benefit of a Building Dept's plan review and inspections: ceiling height short, ceiling height beneath girders or ductwork short, lack of required light and ventilation, no opening for emergency escape and rescue, lack of smoke detectors, lack of carbon monoxide detector, failed to remediate dampness problems prior to build out, lack of required fire separation between dwelling units including any connecting doors, and failure to ventilate the heating appliance. That last one is a big one, if you had a heating appliance in a large unfinished basement it had a lot of combustion air available, close it up in a small utility room and you need to install vents for outside air. The above depends on your Building Code. Then you need to check local zoning; is an accessory dwelling unit permitted? good luck.

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