Basement Finish


Plan Criteria

Submit plan showing the proposed layout on line. Plans shall be drawn to architectural scale (1/4” or 1/8”) and shall include the following information:

  1. Floor plan showing:
    • exterior walls
    • existing and proposed interior walls
    • name of existing and proposed rooms
    • location and sizes of doors and windows
    • wall construction materials
    • location of existing and proposed plumbing fixtures, furnace, water heater
    • location of stairways and fireplaces
    • location of smoke detectors (smoke detectors are required in all bedrooms and in areas outside of bedrooms-see #6 below)
  2. Cross section plan showing the following:
    • proposed finished ceiling height
    • wall and ceiling finish materials
    • existing and proposed insulation materials

Building Code Requirements

  1. Bottom plates of proposed walls shall be of approved treated wood, unless slab is separated from the ground by an impervious moisture barrier.
  2. Properly sized beams and headers shall be used in structural bearing conditions. Specify size and locations on plans.
  3. Fire stop soffits. Fire stopping helps to prevent the movement of smoke and fire through concealed spaces within walls and ceilings. Fire stopping shall consist of approved materials placed in such a way to block any connection between a concealed horizontal and vertical space. Some examples include: soffits exceeding 10’ in length, wall to soffit openings and soffit to floor joist openings.
  4. All stairways with four (4) or more risers shall have a handrail. Handrails shall be returned to the wall or terminate in a newel post. Open sides of stairways more than thirty (30) inches above the floor shall be provided with a guardrail having intermediate rails with all spaces less than four and three eighths (4 3/8) inches.
  5. Enclosed usable space under stairways must be protected with a minimum ½ inch gypsum board on the walls, underside of stairs, and any landings. All wood must be covered and joints must be close fitting or taped.
  6. Smoke detectors shall be upgraded in the entire home to the current requirements. This will mean placing a smoke detector in each bedroom and outside of each bedroom area and on each level of the home. Smoke detectors placed in previously finished areas may be battery operated unless the ceiling finish is removed.
  7. Carbon monoxide detectors shall be installed outside and within 10 feet of every bedroom or sleeping area.
  8. Each bedroom shall be provided with an egress window that provides the following:
    • a clear open area of not less than 5.7 square feet
    • a clear width of not less than 20 inches
    • a clear height of not less than 24 inches
    • a sill height not more than 44 inches above the floor
    • Existing windows to be used in a newly finished bedroom shall meet current size requirements.
    • If the sill height of the window is not more than 44 inches above or below the finished grade, the net clear opening may be five (5) square feet.
    • Egress windows below the exterior grade shall have a window well with the finished grade sloping away. Window wells are not allowed in the drainage areas of the lot.
  9. Foam plastic (rigid) insulation shall be protected on the inside by not less than ½” gypsum board or some other approved thermal barrier.
  10. Plumbing work requires a separate permit and inspections.
  11. Water closets (toilets) shall be located in a clear space not less than thirty (30) inches in width. The clear space in front of the water closet shall not be less than twenty-four (24) inches. Water closets shall have a flush volume not exceeding 1.6 gallons.
  12. Not more than two (2) fixtures (or three (3) fixtures in the same room) can be served by a ½” water line.
  13. Anti-scald valves shall be used for showers or shower/tubs. Valves and controls must be marked by the manufacturer as meeting ASSE 1016.
  14. Bathrooms and toilet rooms shall be provided with a minimum three square foot window, one-half of which must be openable or have a powered exhaust fan that provides 20 CFM continuous or 50 CFM intermittent flow. The fan must exhaust directly to the outside. The duct termination shall be 3’ from any openable window or other intake and have a back draft damper at the outside termination.
  15. Exhaust ductwork that will be concealed shall be of a type approved for concealing. A separate mechanical permit is required and a rough in inspection must be completed before covering.
  16. The minimum finished ceiling height for existing basements is six feet four inches (6’ 4”), including under any beams, soffits, ducts, etc.
  17. Furnace and water heater rooms shall be provided with outside combustion air. Furnaces and water heaters shall not be solely accessed through a bedroom, bathroom, or closet unless the appliance has a direct vent.
  18. Compression, flared and union fittings for gas piping shall not be concealed within walls or ceilings. 
  19. Electrical Permits can be obtained at the City of Apple Valley, Inspection Department. City of Apple Valley does not schedule or perform the electrical inspections.

Required Inspections

  1. Rough-in electrical, plumbing, and heating.
  2. Framing, rough in mechanical and plumbing can be completed at the same inspection time – after the electrical rough-in is completed and approved.
  3. Insulation. With the inspector approval and when circumstances allow, this inspection may be scheduled with the framing inspection.
  4. Final plumbing and heating.
  5. Final and rough in electrical. Call (507) 381-1791 between 7:00 am and 8:30 am.
  6. Final inspection – when all work is complete and final electrical inspection has been approved.

General Notes

Inspection appointments for plumbing, mechanical, and building can be arranged by calling 952-953-2588, Monday through Friday 8:15 am to 4:15 pm. Call at least 48 hours in advance of the day you want the inspection.

The information listed here is not intended as a complete list of requirements. Other requirements may apply depending on the scope of the project.


A permit is required for all window installations and replacements. 

When the finished sill height of an egress window is below the exterior grade, a window well shall be provided and shall comply with the following:

  1. The minimum area of the window well shall be 9 square feet, with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches. The area of the window well shall allow the egress window to be fully opened.
  2. Window wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps, usable with the window in the fully open position. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of at least 12 inches, shall project at least 3 inches from the wall, and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches on center vertically for the full height of the window well. The ladder or steps shall be permitted to encroach a maximum of 6 inches into the required dimensions of the window well. 
  3. If a driveway or sidewalk is within 36 inches of any edge of the window well, a guardrail shall be place on two sides of the window well. Guardrails shall not be placed on the same side of a window well as the ladder or steps. 
  4. Window wells are not allowed to encroach into any drainage or utility easement or into the required building setbacks. 

All window wells require a drain unless in Class I well-drained soil.