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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Erwin, TN
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    Default Bedroom Yes or No ?

    Inspecting a house today with a contractor friend of the buyers. I told him that the basement room that he referred to as a bedroom was NOT a bedroom that I was listing it as an office. He wanted to know why and I told him the room has the secondary egress needed (main door & exterior door) but, lacked the natural sunlight because it had no window (room had outlets, lighting, heat, closet and 2 doors-one going to outside-No smoke detector) Who is correct ?

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    Last edited by Sam Morris; 01-14-2019 at 03:40 PM.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
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    2,008

    Default Re: Bedroom Yes or No ?

    Who is correct depends on what Code your local municipality has adopted and what requirements are under that Code. In order to verify what is required I suggest you verify what Code / version of the IRC your area has adopted.
    A few points to consider:
    No window = a glorified walk in closet; under modern Codes a sleeping room and/or other rooms depending on how you want to discuss it require natural light & ventilation. Natural L&V is typical 8/4 or 10/5 percent of the square footage of the room.
    Without windows the room would essentially end up smelling like a boys high school locker room all too soon
    Closet - not aware of any Code requirement for a closet. Lots of people like to think a closet is required but I haven't come across it from a general residential requirement. However, a closet IS required once there is one dollar of any government money involved.
    If a closet were generally required most 'bedrooms' in Europe would not be bedrooms
    Secondary egress - a big sticking point. Again this is something you have to verify locally. A lot of suburbs around us have a secondary egress / escape window requirement. However, we do not. For us the secondary egress requirement is based on the square footage of the floor level. An egress / escape window isn't uniformly enforceable for use due to our standard lot size.
    Having a smoke detector would be a separate requirement. I am not aware of a requirement where a smoke detector makes a room a bedroom or not.
    Hope that helps.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    27,242

    Default Re: Bedroom Yes or No ?

    I will itemize some aspects to consider:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Morris View Post
    I told him that the basement room that he referred to as a bedroom was NOT a bedroom that I was listing it as an office.
    It is not even an 'office', or any habitable room (using IRC code standards as Markus is correct that local codes vary and you should become familiar with local codes for significant differences from the IRC so you don't call something out which should be, or call something out which should not be).

    ANY habitable room requires natural light (minimum 8% of floor area is to be glazed area for natural light) and natural ventilation (minimum 4% of floor area is to be 'openable' area of the opening, window or door).

    He wanted to know why and I told him the room has the secondary egress needed (main door & exterior door) ...
    And that secondary egress opening could be a window which meets EERO requirements, which for basements is not only size, by access out of the window.

    but, lacked the natural sunlight because it had no window ...
    Just to clarify, neither door had a glazed area open to natural light from outside, correct?

    And to clarify further, neither door opened to the outdoors, correct? Opening to the outdoors would be counted towards natural ventilation as a screen door could be installed.

    (room had outlets, lighting, heat, closet and 2 doors-one going to outside-No smoke detector) Who is correct ?
    A bedroom also requires a smoke alarm outside and inside the bedroom, an office does not.

    Now for the 'tough one' that many write up but which is not in the code - a bedroom ("sleeping room" in code wording) does not ... I repeat, does not ... require a closet. ANY room designated for sleeping (as a "bedroom") is a "bedroom", and any room with a closet 'is likely' a bedroom even if designated as a den or office. Confused yet? You usually will recognize a 'bedroom' when you are in a room with a closet, but you may not recognize a 'bedroom' as a room without a closet.

    How many bedrooms are listed in the listing information (resale) or on the approved plans (new construction)? Make sure there are that many rooms which have all the requirements for bedrooms.

    Kitchens, bathrooms, hallways are not habitable rooms and do not require heat, natural light, or natural ventilation.

    Only "sleeping rooms" (bedrooms) require an EERO.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Erwin, TN
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    266

    Default Re: Bedroom Yes or No ?

    Yes, one door does go to the outside. The MLS is calling this room in the basement a bedroom (original I believe this was an unfinished basement, converted into a den and a so called bedroom. I've seen several rooms in basements that do not have natural lighting that are called offices, exercise rooms, sewing rooms or mud rooms. NO this house was built in 1996, not required in this county to have sprinklers in a basement sleeping room even for the IRC 2018 code, they have not adopted that code as of yet.

    Last edited by Sam Morris; 01-14-2019 at 08:03 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
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    2,008

    Default Re: Bedroom Yes or No ?

    These attic and basement rooms that are supposedly bedrooms are very common in our area. I just looked at a flipper rehab saturday morning (no permits for anything). With the 'master bedroom' in the basement.
    Room had 1 small glass block window and ceiling height was only ~81". I explained to the buyer the space was essentially a glorified closet. If they wanted to pay for something that didn't actually exist value wise that was up to them. We have buyers walk from deals like that and other buyers who buy the house anyway.
    House also had a 1 room addition at the rear that looked like it had been built on top of an old patio pad.
    Overall the rehab was better than average but the above two are pretty major cost and liability issues that could really bite a buyer hard.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

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