I wrote about 60 days ago about the new bedroom ceiling height code requirements for basement bedrooms in Minnesota. There were a number of questions that were not answered by information out there on how exactly this new statute was going to be interpreted by the inspectors. David sent me an update as he just had to go through this process in the City of Minneapolis. Here are his notes:
I checked with the city of Minneapolis on the 6’4” ceiling height requirement and it is true but different than I originally thought. That 6’ 4” requirement applies to the entire egress path from the basement bedroom to the stairway and within the bedroom to the egress window. It applies to all obstructions and not just what we typically consider ceiling height. It applies to any duct work that is attached to the basement ceiling and any beams that run across the path from the bedroom to the stairway. You must have 6’ 4” everywhere in this path.
This, however, is not the deal breaker for getting legal bedrooms into basements in most cases. The deal breaker in most cases is that the stairwell going from the basement to the first floor does not meet minimum requirements (minimum tread run, maximum stair rise, minimum headroom) with the 6’ 4” headroom requirement being the most common impediment. If the stairs don’t meet the requirements, Minneapolis will not sign off on the room as a bedroom no matter what the basement ceiling height and even if it has a full legal egress window. It can look like a bedroom, feel like a bedroom, have carpet, a closet, a door and an egress window but the city won’t call it a bedroom for purposes of rental properties. I just got hit on this one because my [stair] headroom was 6’ 4”. They use a worst case scenario checking each step. I had one step that did not meet the requirement and was shot down and stuck with a one bedroom house.
Great info! While I am disappointed in this strict interpretation of the rules, I can’t say I am surprised. Be sure to do your homework prior to spending money to build out that basement bedroom!