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What You Need to Know Before Converting a Basement

Converting a basement into a secondary suite is quickly becoming a popular type of basement renovation in Calgary. A secondary suite is a completely separate living space that has its own entrance and kitchen. At Interiors With Elegance, a Calgary renovation company, we want to help make sure you have everything you need for a successful basement conversion.


Why Convert a Basement into a Secondary Suite? 

Many homeowners perform a basement renovation to convert their basement into a secondary suite so that they can rent it out. This is a great way to help offset the cost of a mortgage, property taxes, and maintaining a home. A basement suite can also result in a higher resale value should you ever sell. Even if you don't plan to rent it out, a converted basement is a great space for visitors or for elderly family members.

Municipal Building and Development Permits
Before starting on renovations to convert a basement in Alberta, you will need to obtain a building permit and a development permit from your municipality. When you submit your application, you must also submit both a site plan that shows the entire lot and the location of the secondary suite, as well as a floor plan for the suite itself.

If you want to ensure that your floor plan is completed according to the necessary requirements, then you'll want to work with a Calgary renovation company that has in-house interior designers. Professionally drawn plans will make the process of obtaining permits go much more smoothly.


Alberta Building and Fire Code Regulations
Converted basements must meet specific requirements for secondary suites found in the Alberta Fire Code and the Alberta Building Code. Some of the main elements addressed by these codes include:
  • Ceiling height: A minimum floor-to-ceiling height of 6'5" is required for secondary basement suites. 
  • Suite entrance: The suite entrance must lead directly outdoors to provide quick escape in case of an emergency. 
  • Bedroom windows: Bedrooms must have a window to provide an alternate exit in case of a fire, and windows must meet minimum size requirements. 
  • Independent HVAC: A secondary basement suite must have its own independent heating and ventilation system, as well as independent ductwork. 
  • Fire separations: A minimum fire resistance rating must be met for the ceilings and walls that separate the basement from the main dwelling. 
  • Smoke alarms: Alarm systems for the main dwelling and secondary suite must be interconnected to provide early warning in case of a fire in either space.

Professional Basement Renovations and Conversions in Calgary 

Working with an experienced Calgary renovation company will help ensure that your basement conversion goes smoothly and is completed to code. Interiors With Elegance provides complete basement renovations in a variety of different renovation styles. Our dedicated team of interior designers and tradespeople will work with you to bring your vision to life.

If you're interested in converting your basement into a legal secondary suite, then all you have to do to get started is contact Interiors With Elegance today.