Basement Remodeling

This guideline has been developed to assist you in your efforts to remodel a basement. Prior to remodeling a basement, a permit must be obtained from the City of Wheaton Building Department. Provided below is information that addresses what needs to be submitted to the City, pertinent building codes, permit fees and required inspections. These guidelines are by no means all-inclusive, but they do identify the most critical requirements that are involved in this type of project. Please review this information and contact the City of Wheaton Building Department with questions.

Required Submittals
The following documents need to be submitted to initiate a review of your project:

1. Application for Permit
When filling out an application for a permit, include all required information that is pertinent to the proposed scope of work such as: site address, description of work, contractors to be used on the job and their respective costs per trade, total cost of work to be performed, complete applicant contact information, etc. Please refer to document titled Building Application for Permit.

2. Architectural Plans
Please submit two (2) complete sets of architectural style plans and any other required documentation that will be necessary to complete the review of the construction documents.

3. See Contractor Requirements.
4. Combustion Air Calculation Worksheet
To be completed only if calculations are not included as part of the building permit. Please refer to document titled Combustion Air Calculation Worksheet for additional information.

5. Water Service Line - Sizing if adding new plumbing fixtures
The Illinois State Plumbing Code has specific requirements as to how many fixtures within a residence can be served by specific water service sizes. Please refer to document titled Water Service Line - Sizing. This form will calculate the proposed “fixture count” for your home. Please submit this completed form with your building plans.

After this form is then submitted to the Building Department., it will be forwarded to our Water Department to determine the required size of the water service for your house. Based on their records, they will determine if either the existing water service line for your home is adequate in size to remain in compliance with State law, or if the water service line from the main to the house needs to be replaced with a larger diameter water service. This is a variance process and can be pursued to obtain a waiver for a required water service upgrade through the State of Illinois. You may call our Water Department at 630-260-2090 should you need additional information.

Architectural Plan Requirements
The construction documents shall be prepared, signed, and sealed by a registered Illinois Design Professional for all structural and load-bearing adjustments. Where special conditions exist, the building official is authorized to require additional construction documents to be prepared by a registered design professional. Provide two (2) copies of Architectural Plans that indicate the following information (Please note, an “Existing Floor Plan” and a “New Proposed Floor Plan” must be included):

Floor Plan:
The Floor Plan must be drawn to scale, presented in architectural style, and include the entire scope of work that is to be performed. If the existing layout is to be adjusted, then a separate Demolition Plan must be submitted that depicts the existing layout and specifically identifies all of the elements that will be removed as part of the project. All submitted plans should indicate the specific elements of the home (such as structural, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, windows, doors, etc.), indicate all dimensions, and label the use of all indicated spaces.

Cross Section:
The cross-section shall depict the overall specifics of both the assembly and materials for the remodeling that will be constructed. Be sure to include foundation specifications, floor assemblies, wall assemblies, finish ceiling assemblies, finish ceiling height, finish material specifications, and any other items pertinent to the remodeling. Additionally, all building materials must be identified and specifics (such as grade, dimensions, and spacing) for these materials must be provided.

Plumbing Plan IF adding new plumbing fixtures:
Please provide the proposed supply and waste/vent diagram. Include materials to be used as well as the sizes of the piping that is to be installed. Also, indicate the required overhead sewer service on the waste/vent plan.

Current Codes
See information titled Current Codes that identify codes that may be applicable to your construction project.

Permit Fees
For associated Planning, Engineering and Building fees, please refer to Appendix B7 Fee Schedule per the Wheaton City Code - Community Development Fees.
For associated Sewer and Water fees, please refer to Appendix B8 Fee Schedule per the Wheaton City Code - Public Works/Sewer & Water Fees.

Significant Codes - Building
Smoke Alarms
The 2018 International Residential Code requires that any time interior alteration, repairs, additions, etc. that require a Building Permit occur, the existing residence shall be provided with Smoke Alarms located as required for new dwellings. Smoke Alarms are required to be installed within each sleeping area, in the hallway directly adjacent to sleeping areas, and one per floor minimum (including the basement). The Smoke Alarms are all required to be powered by a commercial power source, interconnected so that the activation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms, and each alarm must have a battery backup. (2018 IRC R314 - Smoke Alarms).

Egress Windows
Basements with habitable space are required to have a least one emergency egress window. Each sleeping area within a basement also must have a minimum of one egress window located within the room. When a sleeping room with the required egress window is present in a finished basement, that window is adequate to serve the remaining adjoining non-sleeping room areas of the basement. The egress window must meet the following specifications:

  • Minimum 5.7 square feet clear opening with the normal operation of the window
  • Minimum clear opening height of 24”
  • Minimum clear opening width of 20”
  • Maximum sill height of 44” above the finished floor
  • No special knowledge, hardware or equipment is required to operate the window.

If there is not an egress window that adheres to these minimum standards present, then one must be installed. A new egress window requires a minimum 3’x 3’ in clear area escape well. If the escape well is greater than 44” below grade in depth a permanent ladder must be mounted to the side of the new window well. (2018 IRC R310.6; Wheaton Ordinance).

Overhead Sewer
If a residence does not currently have Overhead Sanitary service, this particular service shall be constructed when there is an addition to, or remodeling/alteration, of the lowest level (basement) of the residence. In most cases, this can be accomplished by installing an ejector pit. Please indicate whether the existing sanitary pit or the proposed location for the new sanitary pit along with a plumbing plan diagram indicating the new Overhead service and any other plumbing fixtures that are going to be added to the residence. If the residence has a history of sewer backups that is documented with the City of Wheaton Public Works Department, the residence may be eligible for the sewer reimbursement program. Please contact Public Works at 630-260-2110 with any questions on the requirements for this program. (Ordinance O-2020-05, Section 22-7, Wheaton City Code).

Combustion Air
The 2018 International Residential Code requires that anytime gas-fired mechanical equipment is placed in a confined space or within a structure deemed of “unusually tight construction, makeup combustion air that is obtained exclusively from the exterior of the structure must be provided to allow for the proper operation of the mechanical equipment. Please refer to the document titled Combustion Air Calculation Worksheet in order to determine the required size of each of the supply vents (one opening must be within 12” of the ceiling, the other within 12” of the bottom of the enclosure) that must be installed. (2018 IRC G2407 - Combustion Air).

Insulation Requirements
The 2018 International Energy Efficiency Code states that all walls separating finished and unfinished space and exterior perimeter walls are required to be insulated. A minimum of R-13 insulation (as modified by the State of Illinois) is required in all basement walls that surround the finished area. Exposed insulation must have a flame-spread index not to exceed 25 and an accompanying smoke-developed index not to exceed 450. The vapor barrier is to be installed on the warm side of the perimeter wall. (2018 IECC R402.1.2).

The inspections listed here are required for all Residential Addition Remodeling projects. Additional inspections may be needed based upon the scope of work for your project. A complete list of your required inspections will be listed on the Plan Approval Notice that will be attached to the approved plans.

Type of Inspection
When to Call
Rough Framing;
Rough Mechanical;
Rough Electrical;
Rough Plumbing
Rough inspections must be conducted once all rough-ins are complete, but prior to insulation installation and/or concealment.
Prior to drywall installation.
Conducted when the project is complete.

To schedule an inspection, please call 630-260-2050 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Plumbing inspections are available on Tuesday or Thursday only. Please allow for a minimum of 24 hours notice when scheduling inspections. Inspections must be scheduled no later than 3:30 p.m. the day before the desired inspection date. Inspection scheduling Guideline.

City of Wheaton main website -
International Building Codes -
Illinois Department of Health website - the 2014 Illinois Plumbing Code information -

Contact Us
City of Wheaton Building & Code Enforcement Department
Address: 303 W. Wesley Street, Wheaton, IL 60187
Phone Calls:
Submittal Questions: 630-260-2050
Building Code Questions: 630-260-2051
Inspection Scheduling: 630-260-2050
Business hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Fax: 630-260-2195

Revised 3/12/2020