Before finishing your basement, you will need to obtain a building permit from your local city hall. If you do not pull proper permits you will have hurdles to clear when it comes time to sell your home. I have obtained many building permits in many municipalities and know firsthand the process can be frustrating. Every village has their own process and every inspector has certain things that they like to see in area. The main benefit of the permit is that the work, whether it’s done by you or a hired contractor, meets a standard set by persons in the know.
I’ve found that generally most inspectors are helpful in answering questions when something is not done to standard. Here are the general inspections you can expect to have during a basement remodel:
Rough Basement Inspections
1. Underground plumbing inspection
If you have plumbing for new fixtures with underground drain/sewer pipes this will need to be inspected before the concrete floor is put back. Many newer homes have rough plumbing already installed. If your home has an existing rough-in and it is not going to be moved then no inspection would be needed for this. The existing rough-in plumbing would have been already inspected prior to the basement floor being poured.
2. Rough framing inspection
This is all the framing for the exterior and interior walls. This inspection must be done prior to any drywall installation.
3. Rough electric inspection
All electric, switch openings, outlet openings, can lights and so on will need to be inspected. Low voltage wiring such as cable TV, phone, speaker wiring and internet is generally not inspected.
4. Rough plumbing inspection
All supply, vents, and drains will need to be inpected. If you are installing a shower and are using a shower base or surround, these should be in at this time too.
5. Rough HVAC inspection
If there’s forced air heating in your home and you’re adding additional vents and returns these will need to be inpected. If there’s a bathroom the fan and venting will need to be inspected.
All of the rough inspections need to pass before installing any drywall.
Final Basement Inspection
Once all the work is complete, the inspectors will come out to sign off on your project.
Electrical inspectors like to see:
• All the high voltage is complete, electrical plates are on.
• All outlets are phased properly.
• All GFCI’s are where they need to be and working properly.
• The electrical panel is labeled correctly with the new circuits.
• All Smoke/CO detectors are hard wired together and work properly.
• No more than 9 can lights are on a single switch.
• Bath exhaust fan works.
Plumbing inspector like to see:
• All fixtures are in and nothing leaks.
• If you have a shower he’ll probably turn the water on all the way to hot and measure the temperature. If it’s too hot he’ll want you to adjust the valve.
• Sump pump works properly.
• If there are any gaps in the wall around where a sink drain penetrates those will need to be sealed.
HVAC inspectors like to see:
• All vent registers are on for both the supplies and returns.
• Fresh air/make up air for the furnace room is taken care of properly.
• Every room where there is a supply there also needs to be a return.
Framing inspectors like to see:
• A handrail on the stairs that runs the full length of the stairway.
• Proper height of the handrail.
• Either balusters and spindles, drywall or some other means of not allowing persons to fall off the stairs.
• If you want to count your basement a s living space, then the egress window requirements will be checked.
Basement Permit Paperwork
As long as nothing structural is being changed you should not need an architect’s stamp for the drawings. A detailed sketch is all that’s required. Any village requiring a permit will have guidelines in place that list what they want on the drawing and how many copies needed.
Minimally there will be one form for you to fill out that lists your contact information as homeowners as well as contact information for all the hired subcontractors.
Make Sure Your Contractor Pulls a Basement Permit
Most uality contractors will pull all the permits needed for finishing a basement. Never allow a contractor to finish your basement without one. Even if the work is done to standard, it is still illegal if the work was never checked. Despite any hoops you may jump through during the construction process a final occupancy permit is a legal document stating you complied with the codes. It’s also a sign of a job well done. If you are in the Milwaukee, WI Area, contact TBG Basement Builders to finish your basement and pull all the necessary permits.
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