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Thread: Means of egress

  1. #1
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
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    Default Means of egress

    House yesterday had a large basement theater with and attached room, with a wet bar and bathroom. No windows in either room. Not sure what it is listed as, but do you report no egress. House was built in 07.

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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    House yesterday had a large basement theater with and attached room, with a wet bar and bathroom. No windows in either room. Not sure what it is listed as, but do you report no egress. House was built in 07.
    Not if it is not a bedroom. It can't hurt to remind your client that it should not be used for a bedroom.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Means of egress

    So a basement family room does not need a window if there is a staircase?


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    Default Re: Means of egress

    "So a basement family room does not need a window..."

    "Need" is based on how the room is used.
    Depending on your local codes, an entertainment room is not required to have a window.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Ok. Knew a theater room did not but thought a family room did. Well one less thing to put into the report.


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    Default Re: Means of egress

    OK, Family room, entertainment room, whatever you want to call it.
    The code wants to know if it is "Habital space"

    "HABITABLE SPACE. A space in a building for living, sleeping,
    eating or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls,
    storage or utility spaces and similar areas are not considered
    habitable spaces."

    Many times the AHJ will allow a room being used as an entertainment room to not have a window.
    Entertainment room = Pool, table tennis, TV, games, exercise, crafts, etc..., but again it's up to the AHJ.


    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Good point Aaron, thats why I mentioned that "Many times the AHF will allow".
    It's not so much as a gray area, as it is an execption they sometimes allow.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Good point Aaron, thats why I mentioned that "Many times the AHF will allow".
    It's not so much as a gray area, as it is an execption they sometimes allow.
    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    You mean whenever they practice "selective code enforcement"?
    as an AHF(authority having faults?) as ad would say ,i agree


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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Even the 2000 IRC required EERO in basements with habitable space.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  10. #10
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    Thumbs up Re: Means of egress

    Basements that contain one or more sleeping rooms are required to have emergency egress and rescue openings in each sleeping room.

    Emergency exit and rescue openings are not required in adjoining areas of the basement, according to code.

    Emergency exits are required in basement sleeping rooms or habitable space—defined as spaces used for living, sleeping, eating, or cooking.

    While that does not include spaces like bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage spaces, or utility spaces, it does include offices, recreation rooms, bedrooms, and home theaters.

    Whether it is an egress window or an egress door, it has to open to the outside and open easily without the use of keys or tools. It must also follow code requirements for height and width of basement egress windows.

    A window with a minimum width of opening of 20 inches
    A window with a minimum height of opening of 24 inches
    A window with a minimum net clear opening –- the actual opening through which a person must crawl—of 5.7 square feet
    A sill height no higher than 44 inches above the floor
    A window-well floor space of 9 square feet with minimum dimensions of 36 inches wide and long
    A permanent ladder or steps if the window well depth is more than 44 inches


    All you can do is make the note and SHOULD make it regardless to cover yourself.


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    Default Re: Means of egress

    In the OP, I completely overlooked the no egress in a basement, and focused only on the window.
    Jerry correctly brought up EERO

    Around here, basement are few, and when there is a basement, only one or two sides are partly below grade. They always have a door to outside.

    So I decided to look up basement on wiki
    Interesting read.
    Seems that there are several kinds of basements, I just never thought about. Makes me think.
    Clearly, I could and should know more about basements.
    I think it would be informative (at least to me) to start another thread on basements.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Brubaker View Post
    Basements that contain one or more sleeping rooms are required to have emergency egress and rescue openings in each sleeping room.

    Emergency exit and rescue openings are not required in adjoining areas of the basement, according to code.

    Emergency exits are required in basement sleeping rooms or habitable space—defined as spaces used for living, sleeping, eating, or cooking.
    What you missed in your statements above, is the part I have made bold and quoted below:

    "Emergency exits are required in basement sleeping rooms or habitable space—defined as spaces used for living, sleeping, eating, or cooking."

    I.e., EERO *ARE* required *IN HABITABLE spaces* in basements ... even if no bedrooms are in that basement.

    Now, IF there is a bedroom and adjoining habitable space, then the EERO is required to be IN the bedroom, but is not required to be IN the adjoining habitable space.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Help me with this EERO example.

    I inspected a house the day before yesterday with a basement being used as a bedroom. The EERO minimum specification are not met in any way as far as I can see. The owner is renting the house to a single mom on social assistance with two children. The owner told me social services came to the house when the tenant moved in and said the basement meets thier requirements for a safe bedroom.

    The one window is too high and too small for EERO purposes. The door at the end of the basement opposite the childs bed does not open directly to the exterior, it opens into another small service area which has a second door to the exterior. This second door opens into a bulkhead stairs with 6 risers to grade.

    How does this basement meet EERO requirements? If it does, I'm guessing it has something to do with that door, but I can't find any verbage in the IRC or my commom sense library to agree with the social services people. Are the social services people playing with a different rulebook?

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  14. #14
    Byron Brubaker's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Means of egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    What you missed in your statements above, is the part I have made bold and quoted below:

    "Emergency exits are required in basement sleeping rooms or habitable space—defined as spaces used for living, sleeping, eating, or cooking."

    I.e., EERO *ARE* required *IN HABITABLE spaces* in basements ... even if no bedrooms are in that basement.

    Now, IF there is a bedroom and adjoining habitable space, then the EERO is required to be IN the bedroom, but is not required to be IN the adjoining habitable space.
    That was my intent. We're on the same page. I explained it in another thread too. If there is no sleeping room there has to be an emergency egress in one of the rooms, yes. If there is, say, an office, family room and one sleeping room only the sleeping room has to have it, two sleeping rooms and both have to have one. Someone said they didn't consider a basement room with a bed a "bedroom" on account of no emergency egress. I would "tend" to agree not calling it a "bedroom" but I would def call it a "sleeping room". Regardless, I note the intent of the use of the room and note suggestions accordingly.


  15. #15
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    Thumbs up Re: Means of egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    How does this basement meet EERO requirements?
    It doesn't if where the child's bed is located is a "sleeping room". However, on the property card if there is no intent on that room being used or labeled as a sleeping room or bedroom then it does meet code.


    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    Are the social services people playing with a different rulebook?
    I have no idea what their rules are but it sounds like they didn't want to bother with it. I'm curious to know what their rules are exactly.

    Last edited by Byron Brubaker; 06-10-2010 at 11:14 AM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    The owner is renting the house to a single mom... with two children. The owner told me social services came to the house when the tenant moved in and said the basement meets thier requirements for a safe bedroom.
    Well I guess if the stair rail is safe for children, the EERO shouldn't be a problem.

    I'm not so sure I would take the owner at as his word on this one.


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    Post Re: Means of egress

    Simple way to explain this to home owners and clients: if there is a fire and they are in the basement, two options for getting out are better than one. Particularly if one will likely be blocked.

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    What you missed in your statements above, is the part I have made bold and quoted below:

    "Emergency exits are required in basement sleeping rooms or habitable space—defined as spaces used for living, sleeping, eating, or cooking."

    I.e., EERO *ARE* required *IN HABITABLE spaces* in basements ... even if no bedrooms are in that basement.

    Now, IF there is a bedroom and adjoining habitable space, then the EERO is required to be IN the bedroom, but is not required to be IN the adjoining habitable space.
    Thank You Jerry Peck! I was reading through this post and its replies, and I was starting to cringe because it seemed like nobody had the jist of it. You are right on. If you have a finished basement, than you must have A means of secondary egress somewhere in that basement (in a habitable portion of the basement, obviously... not burried in the back of the furnace room). That means that if you have a den, an office, and a playroom, then you just need an egress window in ONE of those rooms.

    However, if you have a permanent bedroom in the basement (not just a guestroom, but a bedroom that is used everyday by someone as their regular bedroom), then that room has to have an egress window in it. If you have two or more bedrooms in teh basement, they EACH have to have an egress window. However, if you do have a bedroom with an egress window in the basement, then that counts as the egress window for remaining habitable space in the finished basement (ie: the office, den, and playroom I used in my example).

    For fifteen years now I've always told my clients the same thing: "Don't just think of code, but think of common sense too". And if you think about it from a common sense point of view, it does make sense. If I'm sleeping and there's a fire, and the smoke detector battery is dead, then I won't wake up until the fire's at my bedroom door, and I'm trapped in my bedroom. This is why each bedroom needs second egress, so I can just climb out of the window instead of trying to run through the flames (and the rest of the burning basement/house). As for the rest of the finished basement... Since I don't regularly sleep in the den/office/playroom (just when my wife makes me), chances are I'm awake during the fire. Therefore, I'll become aware of the problem when I start to see smoke or flame coming down the basement stairs. I'll therefore be able to make it to whichever room in the basement has the egress window and climb out.

    Cheers,
    Eric


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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Eric,
    ....."However, if you have a permanent bedroom in the basement (not just a guestroom, but a bedroom that is used everyday by someone as their regular bedroom),".....

    I do not think that you can spit the hair of a guest bedroom and one that is used every day. Bedroom is a bedroom....... is a bedroom.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Eric,
    ....."However, if you have a permanent bedroom in the basement (not just a guestroom, but a bedroom that is used everyday by someone as their regular bedroom),".....

    I do not think that you can spit the hair of a guest bedroom and one that is used every day. Bedroom is a bedroom....... is a bedroom.
    Ideally yes, but I wasn't talking about my opinion, I was just stating the actual rule. I do agree with you though. If it were about what I personally thought, then I would recommend egress in a guestroom too, in fact, I always do, since it'll boost the resale value of the home by creating an additional legal bedroom,

    What I usually say to cover all ends is something like: "Technically this isn't a bedroom and can't be listed as one, since the window is too small. You're allowed to use it as an office, den, tv room, or an occasional guestroom, but if the house is listed as a 4 bedroom (the illegal room being the fourth), then you have some room to negotiate".

    In all fairness, you may be right down in your neck of the woods, since I don't know the subtle differences with the codes in the states. Generally I believe we're all based off the IBC, but there are little differences for sure. (ie standard nails vs screw-shank in California because of seismic issues... learned that on tv! hahaha.. go figure!)

    Regardless of personal opinion, over here, it only applies to permanent bedrooms. Guestrooms aren't enforced. As for if they choose to use the guestroom as a regular bedroom, well, that's up to them. I've seen it hundreds and hundreds of times over the years that's for sure. Personally, I wouldn't risk my kid's safety (or whoever may be living in that room).

    Anyway, sorry for the confusion Garry, I should have mentioned that when I speak of guestroom, I'm talking about a fourth "bedroom" in a house that's officially listed as a 3-bedroom. If the room is listed as a bedroom, than it's a no-go and the buyer has the option to negotiate on a new window. I hope that clarified things for you.

    Cheers!


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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Eric,
    ....."However, if you have a permanent bedroom in the basement (not just a guestroom, but a bedroom that is used everyday by someone as their regular bedroom),".....

    I do not think that you can spit the hair of a guest bedroom and one that is used every day. Bedroom is a bedroom....... is a bedroom.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Parent View Post
    Ideally yes, but I wasn't talking about my opinion, I was just stating the actual rule.
    Garry was referring to use as a guest bedroom, and if that use is there, then it is a bedroom, no technically or splitting hairs about it - that area would be a bedroom.

    Now, if the room was NOT a bedroom, not even a guest bedroom, then it is just "habitable space" and there needs to be an EERO for the habitable space - either in that habitable space or in an adjoining habitable space.

    *IF* it is a bedroom, of any type or nature, then that room requires an EERO. Period. Plain and simple. That is spelled out in the code.

    What is not, however, spelled out in the code is the definition of a "bedroom", and therein lies the rub and the confusion ... BUT ... if someone says "This is our guest bedroom ... " THEY just defined it as a bedroom and then it needs to meet all requirements for bedrooms.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    *IF* it is a bedroom, of any type or nature, then that room requires an EERO. Period. Plain and simple. That is spelled out in the code.

    What is not, however, spelled out in the code is the definition of a "bedroom", and therein lies the rub and the confusion ... BUT ... if someone says "This is our guest bedroom ... " THEY just defined it as a bedroom and then it needs to meet all requirements for bedrooms.
    Interesting... I wonder if I could then trouble you with one last question...

    I know you work in the states and not Canada, so I don't know if you know the answer to this or not, but you seem to be well informed, so perhaps you do... is it possible that it's different in Ontario? The reason that I ask is that, although it's been quite many years since university, so it may have changed since then, but I was told that it only applies to a permanent bedroom, and not a guest bedroom that is used occasionally, The fire code/retrofit inspector that I sometimes consult with also doesn't enforce guestrooms. So I'm just wondering if it's possible it's different in my province than in the US.

    Sorry... I realize we're beating a dead horse at this point, but I'm just curious if I'm incorrect about the code for this. I know it's a non-issue, since in reality, sellers always list their guest bedrooms as bedrooms anyway, therein making it "official" (hence what I was saying regarding listings in my previous post). I just like to be as informed as possible.

    Thanks Jerry Much obliged!


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Are the social services people playing with a different rulebook?[/quote]


    We want the best for our people, but we are not willing to pay for it, I guess we will have to make some concessions, till someone gets hurt.


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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Parent View Post
    Interesting... I wonder if I could then trouble you with one last question...

    I know you work in the states and not Canada, so I don't know if you know the answer to this or not, but you seem to be well informed, so perhaps you do... is it possible that it's different in Ontario? The reason that I ask is that, although it's been quite many years since university, so it may have changed since then, but I was told that it only applies to a permanent bedroom, and not a guest bedroom that is used occasionally, The fire code/retrofit inspector that I sometimes consult with also doesn't enforce guestrooms. So I'm just wondering if it's possible it's different in my province than in the US.

    Sorry... I realize we're beating a dead horse at this point, but I'm just curious if I'm incorrect about the code for this. I know it's a non-issue, since in reality, sellers always list their guest bedrooms as bedrooms anyway, therein making it "official" (hence what I was saying regarding listings in my previous post). I just like to be as informed as possible.

    Thanks Jerry Much obliged!

    Eric, Not beating a dead horse. The fire code/retrofit inspector you have like every else does what they want for what ever reasoning they care apply. I do find it interesting to look to the north and see how things vary.

    I think issue is the terms used and their definitions. A brother-inlaw that comes for a weekend and stays for a year is still a guest in the house. The bedroom used is for guests. Therefore a guest bedroom? If that bedroom was a closet with a bed in it used as the guest bedroom then it would pass with your inspector?? Realtors always want to make the property more than what it really is. They want to pump and hype it up. A 3 bed room house is a 3 bedroom house. A bedroom is a bedroom. If you call it a bedroom then it has to conform to a bedroom/sleeping room. If it is a habitable space then it has to conform to a habitable space requirement. A finished basement that does not meet the requirements of a habitable space can not be refereed to as a habitable space. The space can be described as a finished basement, but cannot be used in square footage of habitable space. Not busting your chops. I have had this discussion with many people. At issue is who's ox is being gored. If I look at the property as a buyer and am using local comparable pricing as one of my appraisal tools the number of bedrooms are at issue, the square footage is at issue. As an owner I do believe that you can do what ever you want to do with the property that you want (within some reasonableness) that does not effect others. If I look at house listed as a 3 bedrooms with 1 guest bedroom I expect to see 4 bedrooms. If its listed as 3 bedrooms and somewhere in the listing (not under bedrooms) it lists something as a guest room (no bedroom connotation) its a mater of deception if anyone tries to make it seem it is a bedroom. The buyer on their own could say " we could use this as a bedroom" so long as they understand that it is not a bedroom.


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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    Help me with this EERO example.

    I inspected a house the day before yesterday with a basement being used as a bedroom. The EERO minimum specification are not met in any way as far as I can see. The owner is renting the house to a single mom on social assistance with two children. The owner told me social services came to the house when the tenant moved in and said the basement meets thier requirements for a safe bedroom.

    The one window is too high and too small for EERO purposes. The door at the end of the basement opposite the childs bed does not open directly to the exterior, it opens into another small service area which has a second door to the exterior. This second door opens into a bulkhead stairs with 6 risers to grade.

    How does this basement meet EERO requirements? If it does, I'm guessing it has something to do with that door, but I can't find any verbage in the IRC or my commom sense library to agree with the social services people. Are the social services people playing with a different rulebook?
    Robert,
    I would wonder who would be held libel for any injury or death? Egress window , Railing, etc. Social Service may state that its the owner of the property to conform to all code (fire,building,housing,zoning) and they are not responsible to know or enforce code. Only to see if meets their departments min requirements as written.


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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    Help me with this EERO example.

    I inspected a house the day before yesterday with a basement being used as a bedroom. The EERO minimum specification are not met in any way as far as I can see. The owner is renting the house to a single mom on social assistance with two children. The owner told me social services came to the house when the tenant moved in and said the basement meets thier requirements for a safe bedroom.

    The one window is too high and too small for EERO purposes. The door at the end of the basement opposite the childs bed does not open directly to the exterior, it opens into another small service area which has a second door to the exterior. This second door opens into a bulkhead stairs with 6 risers to grade.

    How does this basement meet EERO requirements? If it does, I'm guessing it has something to do with that door, but I can't find any verbage in the IRC or my commom sense library to agree with the social services people. Are the social services people playing with a different rulebook?

    Robert,
    I would wonder who would be held libel for any injury or death? Egress window , Railing, etc. Social Service may state that its the owner of the property to conform to all code (fire,building,housing,zoning) and they are not responsible to know or enforce code. Only to see if meets their departments min requirements as written. End result owner on hook and doesn't really know it. Getting a written acknowledgment that the Dept. of Social Service has verified and has designated the basement as a bedroom as designed and constructed. Get them to put their but into sling.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Parent View Post
    ... is it possible that it's different in Ontario?
    To the best of my knowledge, Ontario does not use the IRC/IBC, and in fact, there are many municipalities in the states that don't use it.

    I suggest that you check with the local AHJ to see what code they're using in Ontario and how they are interpreting it. Go right to the source: Ask A Building Code or A Building Code Act Question


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    Default Re: Means of egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Parent View Post
    I know you work in the states and not Canada, so I don't know if you know the answer to this or not, but you seem to be well informed, so perhaps you do... is it possible that it's different in Ontario?
    It is quite possible, and even though there are many locations which do not use the IRC here in the US, I suspect that safety glass requirement is pretty consistent across the land (lawyers and all make sure of things like that ).

    Steve offered the most accurate source of all below:
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Frederickson View Post
    I suggest that you check with the local AHJ to see what code they're using in Ontario and how they are interpreting it. Go right to the source: Ask A Building Code or A Building Code Act Question


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Means of egress

    It's all there in IRC 2009 - Section R310 and R311.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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