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Basement Renovation steps for Hiring Contractor Team w/ pics + floorplan

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[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 7, 2005
883 posts
265 upvotes
Toronto

Basement Renovation steps for Hiring Contractor Team w/ pics + floorplan

Hey Guys

I'm hoping to lean on you follow rfd'rs for some advice.

My wife and I recently purchased a semi in Toronto. Our closing is mid August but may be moved forward a bit based on our own sale.

Ideally we'd like to get the basement finished right away to turn it into a rental. With that in mind we want to start this process and use the pre-closing visits as efficiently as possible.

The basement itself is partially finished in that a separate entrance has already been created and connected to the drainage. There already is a bathroom plumbed in.

Other than that, everything else needs to be dine, wiring, drywall, flooring, finishes etc.

We have no idea where to start in terms of the design, getting contractor bids etc. We also want to maximize the amount of times we view the place before closing as there is a limit.

1) Should we find a designer first to design the basement floor plan then find contractors to bid?
2) Go with a contractor to put together the design and do the work?
3) Roughly how long would a basement of this size take to finish?

Any references or where to start with either route would also be helpful.
Images
  • W4411320_17.jpg
  • basement floorplan.jpg
16 replies
Deal Addict
Sep 20, 2008
1095 posts
258 upvotes
Toronto
0) Are you planning on legalizing the rental basement? Or keeping it illegal?
1) Depending on who you get quotes from, many GCs are so busy nowadays that they want a drawing to quote from.
2) The GC's who can design on the spot may or may not have the same design eye as a designer. I still have yet to see a nice layout from a GC.
3) 6-8 weeks
Project 708
Architectural Pencil Pusher
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 7, 2005
883 posts
265 upvotes
Toronto
Faemow wrote: 0) Are you planning on legalizing the rental basement? Or keeping it illegal?
Thanks so much for the reply :)

My preference would be to make it legal as long as there isn't a massive difference in cost. The basement itself already clears 6' 5" which I think is one of the many requirements.

Where do I start in terms of finding a designer who can work with us and put together these designs? What should I expect to be pay for these designs?

What would the core responsibilities of this designer be?
Deal Addict
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Dec 10, 2008
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What are we looking at with that floor plan? The way it is now?
Let's hug it out
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 15, 2007
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Typically designers and contractors work hand in hand. Most often if you hire a contractor they have their own designer that they typically work with/for and visa versa.

My advice is that if you have an idea of your floor plan and you don’t want/need “interior designing” then bypass the designer altogether.
Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again. - Andre Gide
Deal Addict
Jul 29, 2006
4126 posts
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Something to consider with the design....turn your current laundry area into the kitchen for the rental. Make the new laundry space in your utility room and design it so that it's a common space so that you have shared laundry with the tenant (unless you have another laundry area upstairs).

You'd save money with this design since you're already have access to plumbing and exhaust.
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 15, 2007
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First step would be whether you’re allowed to have a basement apartment in your area
Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again. - Andre Gide
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 7, 2005
883 posts
265 upvotes
Toronto
RCGA wrote: What are we looking at with that floor plan? The way it is now?
Yes that's exactly how it is now
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 7, 2005
883 posts
265 upvotes
Toronto
nx6288 wrote: Something to consider with the design....turn your current laundry area into the kitchen for the rental. Make the new laundry space in your utility room and design it so that it's a common space so that you have shared laundry with the tenant (unless you have another laundry area upstairs).

You'd save money with this design since you're already have access to plumbing and exhaust.
This is exactly what what we want to do.

But when it comes to the bigger area where the bedroom etc would be up we have no idea :)
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 7, 2005
883 posts
265 upvotes
Toronto
Red_Army wrote: First step would be whether you’re allowed to have a basement apartment in your area
I didn't know you werent allowed to in certain areas. For what reason would they not allow rentals?

I'll check with the city on this one.
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Oct 15, 2007
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ReFuGeE wrote: I didn't know you werent allowed to in certain areas. For what reason would they not allow rentals?

I'll check with the city on this one.
They have been known to be outlawed in some areas such as Brampton for instance. As far as I know Toronto allows them so long as you adhere to the laundry list of regulations and get the proper zoning
Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again. - Andre Gide
Deal Addict
Dec 17, 2007
2306 posts
1283 upvotes
Alliston, ON
How much have you budgeted for this project? It could end up costing you north of $70k to do it legally. Windows might need to be enlarged/created, hvac modified, breaking up floor to run new piping for drains/sewer. How old is the property? Does the foundation require work to make sure it won't have leaks a couple years down the road. Was the separate entrance done with a permit?

And if you do it illegally, a neighbour could call the by-law officer and make it all be for nothing in the end
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 19, 2008
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Red_Army wrote: They have been known to be outlawed in some areas such as Brampton for instance. As far as I know Toronto allows them so long as you adhere to the laundry list of regulations and get the proper zoning
A few years back provincial legislation was passed that mandated municipalities to allow secondary suites. Areas that didn't want basement apartments are hard to work in.
Sr. Member
Sep 23, 2006
842 posts
153 upvotes
I did a few years ago in Toronto (East York). Annoying process but glad we did it legally.

We did permits ourselves which was annoying but Toronto has a 5 day fast track for basement apartments. HVAC permit is annoying because you need an engineer to do it ($$$). If you're not going to spend time learning all of the requirements, hire someone to do the floorplan. For example, minimum bedroom sizes vary depending on if you have a closet. If the utility room is off a bedroom or bathroom you'll need a double vent hot water tank. Egress window may need to be added etc.

We used one of those '3 week basement' companies (http://finishedbasement.ca). They were a bit difficult to deal with and weren't used to doing permitted jobs so had to keep on them. But they did awesome work and were super fast (literally 8 guys in the basement at once). For out 600sq feet basement it was around 50k all in I believe. That didn't include the kitchen which we did ourselves (they roughed it in and did final plumbing hook up). I don't recall if they didn't do kitchens or we wanted to save money.

Inspector in our area is pretty lax and didn't focus on minor details (entry door sizes, ceiling height, bedroom size). More focus on fire issues like Safe N Sound/Type X drywall on all ceilings, dampers on HVAC, smoke detector in furnace. He also focused on plumbing a lot.
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 7, 2005
883 posts
265 upvotes
Toronto
Asmegin wrote: I did a few years ago in Toronto (East York). Annoying process but glad we did it legally.

We did permits ourselves which was annoying but Toronto has a 5 day fast track for basement apartments. HVAC permit is annoying because you need an engineer to do it ($$$). If you're not going to spend time learning all of the requirements, hire someone to do the floorplan. For example, minimum bedroom sizes vary depending on if you have a closet. If the utility room is off a bedroom or bathroom you'll need a double vent hot water tank. Egress window may need to be added etc.

We used one of those '3 week basement' companies (http://finishedbasement.ca). They were a bit difficult to deal with and weren't used to doing permitted jobs so had to keep on them. But they did awesome work and were super fast (literally 8 guys in the basement at once). For out 600sq feet basement it was around 50k all in I believe. That didn't include the kitchen which we did ourselves (they roughed it in and did final plumbing hook up). I don't recall if they didn't do kitchens or we wanted to save money.

Inspector in our area is pretty lax and didn't focus on minor details (entry door sizes, ceiling height, bedroom size). More focus on fire issues like Safe N Sound/Type X drywall on all ceilings, dampers on HVAC, smoke detector in furnace. He also focused on plumbing a lot.
Your basement looks wonderful. Some good info as well, much appreciated!

Did you get multiple quotes for the job or just went with this company?

So you guys designed the floor plan yourselves based on legal requirements?

Any learning lessons?

Did the 50k include the separate entrance and running the plumbing for the bathroom? (Both of which we already have)
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 7, 2005
883 posts
265 upvotes
Toronto
Also if anyone has any recommendations on a designer to build our floorplan send their info
Sr. Member
Sep 23, 2006
842 posts
153 upvotes
ReFuGeE wrote: Your basement looks wonderful. Some good info as well, much appreciated!

Did you get multiple quotes for the job or just went with this company?

So you guys designed the floor plan yourselves based on legal requirements?

Any learning lessons?

Did the 50k include the separate entrance and running the plumbing for the bathroom? (Both of which we already have)
We only quoted that one company because we were rushing and like you, needed someone to come out during pre-possession visits.

We did the floorplan. Pretty easy considering the small space. We used floorplanner.com.

Separate entrances were already there. They broke up the concrete floor to run new bathroom plumbing.

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