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Thread: Bedroom Egress

  1. #1
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    Default Bedroom Egress

    Today's house has two doors that open to different parts of the interior but no opening window or door to the exterior. The window is painted shut and could be made to open which would likely fulfill the ventilation requirement but it's far too small for legal egress.

    So, is it required to have and exit to the outside or just two ways out?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bedroom Egress

    The IRC *requires*: (bold and underlining are mine)
    - SECTION R310
    - - EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS
    - - - R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue required. Basements and every sleeping room shall have at least one operable emergency and rescue opening. Such opening shall open directly into a public street, public alley, yard or court. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, emergency egress and rescue openings shall be required in each sleeping room, but shall not be required in adjoining areas of the basement. Where emergency escape and rescue openings are provided they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118 mm) above the floor. Where a door opening having a threshold below the adjacent ground elevation serves as an emergency escape and rescue opening and is provided with a bulkhead enclosure, the bulkhead enclosure shall comply with Section R310.3. The net clear opening dimensions required by this section shall be obtained by the normal operation of the emergency escape and rescue opening from the inside. Emergency escape and rescue openings with a finished sill height below the adjacent ground elevation shall be provided with a window well in accordance with Section R310.2. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way.
    - - - - Exception: Basements used only to house mechanical equipment and not exceeding total floor area of 200 square feet (18.58 m2).

    Some older codes used to allow a bedroom to have two egresses at opposite ends of the room to a hall which had exists in two opposite directions.

    Your description does not even match that. And that is no longer allowed anywhere (as far as I know). Even if you find a house where that was allowed, it would be your duty to advise your client that it is no longer allowed for safety reasons - the room could well become Fry Room 1, and the next bedroom could become Fry Room 2, etc. (Yes, I have used those terms in my reports. I've also stated in my reports that the room may become a Crispy Critter Room 1, etc.)


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bedroom Egress

    Thanks JP...


  4. #4
    erika krieger's Avatar
    erika krieger Guest

    Default Re: Bedroom Egress

    The Property Maintenance Code, which is retroactive, states:

    §PM702.4 Emergency escape openings. Required emergency escape openings shall be maintained in accordance with the code in effect at the time of construction, and the following. Required emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys or tools. Bars, grilles, grates or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, provided the minimum net clear opening size complies with the code that was in effect at the time of construction and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.

    For example, here in NY, that could be anywhere from 0 to 5 SF to 4 SF to 5.7 SF, depending on the date of construction and jurisdiction. But regardless of size, the window needs to be operational....



  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bedroom Egress

    How much smaller were the windows?

    Is it possible they were OK when the house was built.

    Very often I find windows too small for today's EE&R requirements. If the house was an older one, I would include the following:

    Bedroom windows are not large enough for today's fire emergency escape & rescue standards (At least 1 window per bedroom must have a minimum opening that is 24" high and 20" wide with a net opening of at least 5.7 square feet, or 5.0 Square feet if on 1st floor level). This means if a window opening is 24 inches high, it must be 34 1/2 inches wide to meet the 5.7 sq ft. While they probably met standards when the house was constructed, you should consider upgrading to meet today's safety requirements. Now, to make things more confusing, the NJ Re-hab code allows you to replace these windows with the same exact size windows; however, you cannot make them any smaller, and if you make them larger then the existing size, they then must meet the above mentioned requirements.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
    'Whizzing & pasting & pooting through the day (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!) (FZ)

  6. #6
    erika krieger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bedroom Egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Miller View Post
    ... Now, to make things more confusing, the NJ Re-hab code allows you to replace these windows with the same exact size windows; however, you cannot make them any smaller, and if you make them larger then the existing size, they then must meet the above mentioned requirements.
    And in NY, for alteration work in existing dwellings, Appendix J allows smaller openings. I wonder what "minor" means?
    §RAJ502.3 ...Minor reductions in the clear opening dimensions of replacement doors and windows that result from the use of different materials shall be allowed...



  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bedroom Egress

    Quote Originally Posted by erika krieger View Post
    And in NY, for alteration work in existing dwellings, Appendix J allows smaller openings. I wonder what "minor" means?
    §RAJ502.3 ...Minor reductions in the clear opening dimensions of replacement doors and windows that result from the use of different materials shall be allowed...
    I would think that means a window with a thicker frame than the one it replaced. Vinyl windows tend to have thicker frames than the metal windows they often replace. So, it does reduce the overall opening of the window, albeit slightly.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bedroom Egress

    In many basements its not only size but also height as being problematic. The max height is 44" and I don't believe that spec has changed over the years. Forget about code for a second - could a normal person egress from that room in the event of an emergency? If you have any shred of a doubt - write it up and move on.

    //Rick

    Anacortes, Wa. Home Inspections by Pacific Crest Inspections in Skagit, Snohomish, Whatcom and Island Counties, Washington.

    Rick Bunzel
    WWW.PacCrestInspections.com
    360-588-6956

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bedroom Egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    In many basements its not only size but also height as being problematic. The max height is 44" and I don't believe that spec has changed over the years. Forget about code for a second - could a normal person egress from that room in the event of an emergency? If you have any shred of a doubt - write it up and move on.
    The question then becomes what was in effect when the sleeping room was added to the basement, not what was in the basement at the time of construction, i.e., if the egress windows were not enlarged to meet EERO size when the bedroom was added, then the following exception from size does not apply.

    (underlining is mine)
    Quote Originally Posted by erika krieger View Post
    The Property Maintenance Code, which is retroactive, states:

    §PM702.4 Emergency escape openings. Required emergency escape openings shall be maintained in accordance with the code in effect at the time of construction, and the following. Required emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys or tools. Bars, grilles, grates or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, provided the minimum net clear opening size complies with the code that was in effect at the time of construction and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Bedroom Egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The IRC *requires*: (bold and underlining are mine)
    - SECTION R310
    - - EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS
    - - - R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue required. Basements and every sleeping room shall have at least one operable emergency and rescue opening. Such opening shall open directly into a public street, public alley, yard or court. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, emergency egress and rescue openings shall be required in each sleeping room, but shall not be required in adjoining areas of the basement. Where emergency escape and rescue openings are provided they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118 mm) above the floor. Where a door opening having a threshold below the adjacent ground elevation serves as an emergency escape and rescue opening and is provided with a bulkhead enclosure, the bulkhead enclosure shall comply with Section R310.3. The net clear opening dimensions required by this section shall be obtained by the normal operation of the emergency escape and rescue opening from the inside. Emergency escape and rescue openings with a finished sill height below the adjacent ground elevation shall be provided with a window well in accordance with Section R310.2. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way.
    - - - - Exception: Basements used only to house mechanical equipment and not exceeding total floor area of 200 square feet (18.58 m2).

    Some older codes used to allow a bedroom to have two egresses at opposite ends of the room to a hall which had exists in two opposite directions.

    Your description does not even match that. And that is no longer allowed anywhere (as far as I know). Even if you find a house where that was allowed, it would be your duty to advise your client that it is no longer allowed for safety reasons - the room could well become Fry Room 1, and the next bedroom could become Fry Room 2, etc. (Yes, I have used those terms in my reports. I've also stated in my reports that the room may become a Crispy Critter Room 1, etc.)
    Wasn't this part just added in 2003, Such opening shall open directly into a public street, public alley, yard or court.

    So actually prior to that addition, you could have technically had a bedroom with an egress window that lead to a screen porch or another portion connected to the house??

    Randy Gordon, construction
    Michigan Building Inspector/Plan Reviewer

  11. #11
    Bruce Adams's Avatar
    Bruce Adams Guest

    Default Re: Bedroom Egress

    Quote Originally Posted by Door Guy View Post
    Wasn't this part just added in 2003, Such opening shall open directly into a public street, public alley, yard or court.

    So actually prior to that addition, you could have technically had a bedroom with an egress window that lead to a screen porch or another portion connected to the house??

    Checking back to the CABO. ICBO, SBCCI, back to before 1990 and ICC BACK TO 1996 this has been the requirement. I believe it to go back even further. If there is no window or door to the exterior I do not write it up as a bedroom and will explain to the person buying the home of why. Have done homes listed as three and four bedroom homes, that ended up in my report as one bedroom homes. I do not plan on putting a window or door to the exterior to make it a bedroom. I do not care when the home was built or remodeled.


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