We are converting an unused basement into an apartment in a two unit building. The space is currently unfinished. The apartment needs to conform to the City of Chicago building code. The overall available footprint is about 1100 sq ft and the challenge is coming up with a floorplan or layout that maximizes living and bedroom space while meeting the code requirement. Light and vent requirement for the apartment are 4% of the square footage for ventilation and 8% of square footage for light. We believe that applies to the apartment as a whole and to the bedrooms sizes specifically. The apartment does not need to use the entire floor, but we would like to maximize the apartment size and minimize floor space outside the apartment used for mechanicals or storage.
Included in the documents are the current basic layout showing the current windows and a chart depicting the current window opening sizes. All existing windows will be replaced with the maximum light and vent we can find. However, this will not add enough to get us to the requirement.
We have highlighted in green on a drawing where windows can be added that count towards the light and vent requirement. Also, no window added should be taller than 30” as that is the height available above grade.
The basement will need a mechanical room. If this is outside of the apartment, it does not need to be included in the light and vent calculation.
The bold line in the drawing is the support (load) beam. It is staggered. We will need posts where the beam changes direction.
Layout to include;
• Two bedrooms – If a third fits and there is room that would be ideal. Two bedrooms must be big enough for a queen sized bed, the third can be smaller. One of the bedrooms should lock off from the living area for an AirBNB setup.
• Must have one full bathroom. Prefer at least an additional partial bath located nearer to the owner’s bedroom.
• Basement needs to have a mechanical room for furnace, water heater, sump pump and ejector pit. If this is separate from the apartment, it does not need to be included in the light/vent calculation. Laundry should also be included in this area.
• Kitchen – The kitchen should have full size appliances; stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher.
• Apartment must have two exits. If one door leads to common area, then there must be straight line access to the outside door. Both existing doors must be used as they are. No changes to location of doors.
• Ideally the plumbing would be centrally located and the preferred area is shown in blue. The plumbing for the above apartments is located in this area. There also needs to be an area for the plumbing service to come up into the building. This needs to be approximately 1’x2’ for the water meter. This can be hidden in a closet or a bench or something similar.
The measurements shown in the drawing are approximate. They were taken from a measured layout drawing of the exterior. Where measurements are shown (for a window) from a wall, these were actual measurements we took on the interior.
We’d like the space to be as open and bright as possible since it is a basement unit. Please keep hallways or corridors to a minimum.
The winning submission will show that light and vent have been factored in the floorplan as well as consideration given for the plumbing location and the support beam. We acknowledge that window sizes will be approximated. The floorplan will be the single most important part of the submissions that will be evaluated. Additional consideration will be given to submissions that have interior designs, elevations, perspectives or furniture layout as well, although they are not necessary. Good flow to the layout is also very important.
Please ask any questions for clarification. I will always answer within one day.
The below links were all active at the time of submission. They provide some additional information on the code requirements.