We got into an interesting discussion in appreticeship class last week ref a "finished basement" and GFCI receps. Here's what the guys say is enforced in our area. What's the story in yours? We all agree that an unfinished basement needs GFCI receps. What if .... (and two of our guys say they have seen this): A person installs a drop ceiling that fully seals the top. But for the walls he paints them with a semi gloss paint just like we see in all the schools (there is no covering over the block except the paint). For the floor he installs a combination of tile and indoor/outdoor carpet glued to the slab. The electric is 100% wiremold. Absolutely nothing is (flush)in the block. The area consists of one large area and there is a walled off (wood and drywall) bathroom which we all know will be GFCI protected and therefore not part of this discussion. We all agreed that GFCIs would be better than non but the question is: is this (by code or interpretation) considered a finished basement with GFCIs not required or unfinished with GFCIs required? The two guys who have both run across this said the basement was accepted as finished.
210.8(A)(5) Unfinished Basements - for purposes of this section, unfinished basements are defined as portions or areas of the basement not intended as habitable rooms and limited to storage areas, work areas, and the like.
To me it sounds like its a finished basement and does not need GFCI protection. Unless he installed the shag carpeting to make the storage boxes more comfortable
Ok, that's pretty clear right? How about this. In my basement I have a room with a hung ceiling, troffers, sheetrocked and painted walls and VCT on the floor. It's a finished area BUT it is work area with work benches, etc. All electrical is installed in the walls in the conventional manner. I did not install GFI's.
GFCIs are required by the NEC in the workshop/storage area of this basement, no matter how much finishing you do. The theory of equivalent risk has to do with both the intended use of the space and its state of construction (finish). That said, what is the real risk of non-GFCI outlets in this finished space? Is it any less or any more than the same workshop in the garage or upstairs in a converted bedroom? The AHJ needs to decide in these cases, because so much of the code is open to intrepretation of intent. Article 90.4 allows for this.
Is there a building code that allows you to build a home without heat?
My point with the comment is that a house has to be able to maintain heat as required by the building code here. So to be habitable, you would have to be able to maintain heat. A garage is not counted as habitable space because it is not normally heated.
Larry LeVoir Inspector City of Irvine, CA
Re: Finished basement?#46121 12/14/0409:58 AM12/14/0409:58 AM