Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Egress Issue?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,473

    Default Egress Issue?

    I looked at a new construction rowhome in Philly today. In addition to the front entry door, there is a door in the kitchen that leads to the rear exterior patio. The issue is that the walls surrounding the rear patio (left, right, straight ahead, and above the door) are about 25 feet high each so the patio is essentially at the bottom of a 25 foot high box. While the rear door does allow egress, the height of the walls prevents anybody from leaving the property which appears to be a real safety issue in the event of a fire. There is a rear 1st floor bedroom which has one window that exits to the same patio. There is also an attic pulldown ladder that allows access to the roof of the house. But there is no fire escape ladder to allow safe escape from the roof surfaces. Therefore, the only means of egress that allow complete and safe exiting of the property are the front entry door and the two front living room windows.

    Are there any code references that might address this configuration?

    Similar Threads:
    Inspection Referral SOC
    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  2. #2
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Egress Issue?

    NC Code Reference - It look's like a court is ok in NC.

    SECTION R310
    EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS
    R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue required.
    Basements
    with habitable space and every sleeping room shall have at least
    one operable emergency escape and rescue opening. Such opening shall open directly into a public street, public alley, yard or
    I

    court.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Egress Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Are there any code references that might address this configuration?
    Yes. (bold and underlining are mine, also, I did not post the entire section, just the applicable part and some extra)
    - 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 ...

    And the definition:
    - EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENING. An
    operable exterior window, door or similar device that provides
    for a means of escape and access for rescue in the event of an
    emergency.

    I.e., as you are alluding to - once out the window they need to be able to escape to someplace.

    Also, keep in mind this part "and rescue" - rescue personnel need to have access to that area in order to be able to rescue the person(s) in the room.


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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Stacy, MN
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: Egress Issue?

    In principle I agree with you Jerry, but this is another one of those places where the code and common sense diverge. It is opening into a court so it meets the minimum requirements of the code.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,473

    Default Re: Egress Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Weck View Post
    In principle I agree with you Jerry, but this is another one of those places where the code and common sense diverge. It is opening into a court so it meets the minimum requirements of the code.
    Then that code need to be rewritten. EMS personnel would need to have rappelling equipment on-hand to pull anybody out of there.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Egress Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Then that code need to be rewritten. EMS personnel would need to have rappelling equipment on-hand to pull anybody out of there.
    It can't be that hard to build a staircase with a one-way gate. If the builder doesn't do it voluntarily, then the tenants should demand it.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Egress Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Weck View Post
    In principle I agree with you Jerry, but this is another one of those places where the code and common sense diverge. It is opening into a court so it meets the minimum requirements of the code.
    Fred,

    Actually, the code and common sense do not diverge, the codes wording is simply not fully clear, while its intent is.

    The code's intent is to have that escape and rescue path lead to a place where there is an escape from the building and to a place from which one can be rescued, and (as an alternative) have a path from a place accessible to rescue personnel which leads to the EERO through which rescue personnel can enter the structure and rescue people.

    The code's wording starts out clear "public street, public alley," and then becomes a little less clear even though the intent has not changed "yard or court".

    Think about it this way: If the code said this 'public street, public alley, public yard or public court' ... would the bedroom window be allowed to open to a "private" yard area? Nope. Can you imagine having to have your bedroom window open directly to a PUBLIC 'street, alley, yard, or court'? Holy smokes!

    So the code starts out with specifically stating that it needs to open to a public area, then allows for it to open to a private area *as long as the private area is accessible to a public area where rescue can take place or where rescue personnel can enter from*.

    If the code poorly worded? Yep. Could the code be worded better? Absolutely! Maybe something like this: 'public street, public alley, yard or court which is accessible from a public street or public way'. Of course, then you would get someone who would complain that they would not be able to 'fence in their yard', but they could, because, as one Fire Marshal in South Florida told me once when I asked about an subdivision where the EERO all opened to rear fenced yards with no access out of them, there were other fenced yards on the other sides of all the fences - "I've never seen a fence we could not run down with one of our firetrucks." He then added: "If there is a fire and people are in one of those rear yards, we will just put the truck in gear and stand on the gas pedal ... and stop when we have run over any and all fences which might have been in our way."

    Nick's example is different in that, as I read his post, there are other building on the sides of that yard ... the difference is that buildings are harder to run over than fences ... but that does not mean the fire department might not try if the time comes ...

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
    Posts
    4,086

    Default Re: Egress Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Yes. (bold and underlining are mine, also, I did not post the entire section, just the applicable part and some extra)
    No, you snipped the most important applicable part for Nick's situation (the solitary EERO for the bedroom that opens to this 25' high-walled dead-end; and this erroneously lead to the confusion, and the statement by Nick that the code "needed to be rewritten" based upon your "snip", which it doesn't. The last sentance of R310.1 prior to the exception is THE most applicable part!!

    You cut too early in your cut & paste:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    - 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 ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski
    ...There is a rear 1st floor bedroom which has one window that exits to the same patio. There is also an attic pulldown ladder that allows access to the roof of the house. But there is no fire escape ladder to allow safe escape from the roof surfaces...
    Unclear if that "attic" is considered habital. Sounds like there may be a roof top deck, occupiable.

    This is IRC R310.1 following (both 2009 and 2006). The Most applicable part(s) is(are) highlighted in bold, red, and underlined for emphasis (and the last sentance that you cut out is a larger font!):

    Quote Originally Posted by 2009 IRC, Chapter 3
    SECTION R310 EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS

    R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue required. Basements, habitable attics and every sleeping room shall have at least one operable emergency escape and rescue opening. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, emergency egress and rescue openings shall be required in each sleeping room. 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).
    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 IRC, Chapter 3

    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 escape 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).
    Definitions read the same also for "Public Way" in both editions, thusly:

    Quote Originally Posted by IRC

    SECTION R202 DEFINITIONS

    PUBLIC WAY. Any street, alley or other parcel of land open to the outside air leading to a public street, which has been deeded, dedicated or otherwise permanently appropriated to the public for public use and that has a clear width and height of not less than 10 feet (3048 mm).
    The kitchen door is a secondary exit not the primary means of egress.

    That last sentance of 310.1,

    "Emergency escape and rescue openings shall
    open directly into a public way,
    or
    to a yard or court that opens to a public way"

    should clear things up for Nick O. and Fred.

    Obviously, climbing a fence, let alone scaling a 25' wall, doesn't "cut it". The yard or court must OPEN to a public way, if serving an EERO.

    See further definitions in the IBC, and IFC, which are incorporated into the IRC by reference in Chapter 2.


    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 07-14-2011 at 10:19 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: Egress Issue?

    A few words makes a big difference.
    Good catch Mr Watson

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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Maple Glen PA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Egress Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    I looked at a new construction rowhome in Philly today. In addition to the front entry door, there is a door in the kitchen that leads to the rear exterior patio. The issue is that the walls surrounding the rear patio (left, right, straight ahead, and above the door) are about 25 feet high each so the patio is essentially at the bottom of a 25 foot high box. While the rear door does allow egress, the height of the walls prevents anybody from leaving the property which appears to be a real safety issue in the event of a fire. There is a rear 1st floor bedroom which has one window that exits to the same patio. There is also an attic pulldown ladder that allows access to the roof of the house. But there is no fire escape ladder to allow safe escape from the roof surfaces. Therefore, the only means of egress that allow complete and safe exiting of the property are the front entry door and the two front living room windows.

    Are there any code references that might address this configuration?
    I too inspect in Philadelpia and they do not care about code or just use their interpitation. I have inspected homes that were taken down to the basement foundation walls and rebuilt without emergency egress from finished basements. The city accepts this, which from everything I know is wrong. Also the city inspection process in the city is poor to non existent.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Maple Glen PA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Egress Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Then that code need to be rewritten. EMS personnel would need to have rappelling equipment on-hand to pull anybody out of there.
    But assuming as in Philadelpha that full time fire fighters respond they can gain access. Yes it is poor planing


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,473

    Default Re: Egress Issue?

    Yeah, Philadelphia has little to no enforcement. Makes for some interesting inspections.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  13. #13
    Michael Gantt's Avatar
    Michael Gantt Guest

    Default Re: Egress Issue?

    DO they have sprinklers?


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Egress Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    A few words makes a big difference.
    Good catch Mr Watson
    Yes, I did manage to cut that off a few words too soon, and then I compounded the matter by not going back and looking at the code again to catch that error. That made my error double bad - Thanks for catching that H. G.

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

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •