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  1. #1
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    Default Emergency Escape and Rescue

    I inspected this 2003 yr built home today with a basement window sill height of 53 1/4", I know its too high, should be 44". I wonder what happened during the construction of the house, nice middle class neighborhood. I don't have a IRC book for 2000, I was wondering what the code said (44" correct ?)

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Emergency Escape and Rescue

    Maybe there's another egress window? Or it was permitted for another purpose.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Emergency Escape and Rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    Maybe there's another egress window? Or it was permitted for another purpose.
    Nope, no other window in that bedroom, could have been listed as a office when built ?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Emergency Escape and Rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Morris View Post
    I don't have a IRC book for 2000, I was wondering what the code said (44" correct ?)
    From the 2000 IRC:
    R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue required. Basements with habitable space and every sleeping room shall have at least one openable emergency escape and rescue window or exterior door opening for emergency escape and rescue. Where openings are provided as a means of escape and rescue they shall have a sill height of not more that 44 inches (4118 mm) above the floor. (blah, blah-blah, blah-blah - too much to type and not applicable to the question) 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.

    The question now is - was the 2000 IRC applicable in TN at that time? Even if not, the IRC had just come in as the consensus 'national standard' for the construction of one- and two-family dwellings (didn't cover townhouses in 2000 IRC - townhouses would have been under the IBC in 2000).

    Jerry Peck
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Emergency Escape and Rescue

    By the way, that "sill height" is 54".

    The "sill height" being referred to is the bottom of the opening when the window is open.

    The window opening size is measured with the window open: height (bottom of opening to top of opening), width one side of opening to the other side of the opening), overall square feet (height inches times width inches divided by 144 gives square feet or opening), from the floor inside (floor to bottom of opening - more than 44" not allowed), and from the ground outside (ground to bottom of opening - more than 44 inches and the minimum opening size goes from 5.0 sf to 5.7 sf to allow for ladder to intrude into opening).

    Jerry Peck
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Emergency Escape and Rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    By the way, that "sill height" is 54".

    The "sill height" being referred to is the bottom of the opening when the window is open.

    The window opening size is measured with the window open: height (bottom of opening to top of opening), width one side of opening to the other side of the opening), overall square feet (height inches times width inches divided by 144 gives square feet or opening), from the floor inside (floor to bottom of opening - more than 44" not allowed), and from the ground outside (ground to bottom of opening - more than 44 inches and the minimum opening size goes from 5.0 sf to 5.7 sf to allow for ladder to intrude into opening).
    Oh OK so I needed to add another three-quarter inch


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Emergency Escape and Rescue

    The builder probably called it a bonus room thus not having to meet the bedroom EE & R requirements.

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Emergency Escape and Rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    From the 2000 IRC:
    R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue required. Basements with habitable space and every sleeping room shall have at least one openable emergency escape and rescue window or exterior door opening for emergency escape and rescue.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    The builder probably called it a bonus room thus not having to meet the bedroom EE & R requirements.
    Didn't matter - in basements, it is habitable space shall have at least one EERO , "and" every sleeping room in the house.

    Basements with habitable space only - at least one EERO.

    Basements with habitable space and a bedroom - at least one EERO in bedroom "and" at least one EERO for the habitable space.

    Even more requirements today, that was in 2000.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Morris View Post
    Oh OK so I needed to add another three-quarter inch
    ... just pointing out for the future where one measures to, and why.

    Jerry Peck
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Emergency Escape and Rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Didn't matter - in basements, it is habitable space shall have at least one EERO , "and" every sleeping room in the house.
    It possibly can matter, for trying to understand where it fell apart, if the basement was simply a wide open room upon approval, and there was an EERO in the basement.
    Someone could have added a bedroom or "finished" the basement off book, changing the location of the EERO. Wouldn't be the first time.

    That's just to illustrate a potential scenario.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Emergency Escape and Rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    The builder probably called it a bonus room thus not having to meet the bedroom EE & R requirements.
    The above is what I quoted as what I was replying to, and, to that, as I previously said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Didn't matter - in basements, it is habitable space shall have at least one EERO , "and" every sleeping room in the house.

    Basements with habitable space only - at least one EERO.

    Basements with habitable space and a bedroom - at least one EERO in bedroom "and" at least one EERO for the habitable space.
    Which, I thought, pretty much covered any scenario - 'habitable space only', 'bedroom', 'bedroom and habitable space'

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    It possibly can matter, for trying to understand where it fell apart, if the basement was simply a wide open room upon approval, and there was an EERO in the basement.
    Someone could have added a bedroom or "finished" the basement off book, changing the location of the EERO. Wouldn't be the first time.

    That's just to illustrate a potential scenario.
    Which does not address what I was replying to:
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    The builder probably called it a bonus room thus not having to meet the bedroom EE & R requirements.
    That said ... it likely "fell apart" when it was constructed ... but we don't know the answer to that possibility.

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

  11. #11

    Default Re: Emergency Escape and Rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Morris View Post
    I inspected this 2003 yr built home today with a basement window sill height of 53 1/4", I know its too high, should be 44". I wonder what happened during the construction of the house, nice middle class neighborhood. I don't have a IRC book for 2000, I was wondering what the code said (44" correct ?)
    Would a step below the window solve the problem?


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Emergency Escape and Rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Hawley View Post
    Would a step below the window solve the problem?
    The 10" difference would require 2 risers, and to be able to use the top tread as a 'floor' area to measure from, the top 'tread' would need to not only be as wide as the window, the top 'tread' would need to be a "landing" - minimum 36" from the wall.

    If the bedroom is large enough to give up an area of about 4 feet out from the wall by the width of the window, I don't see why that wouldn't work. Provided that the window meets the other EERO requirements.

    Permanently installed, of course.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Emergency Escape and Rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Permanently installed, of course.
    There is a nearby condo/townhouse development (I think from the late 1980s or early 1990s) where the windows were too high to meet EERO requirements. So, the builder installed metal, fold-down steps that are attached to the wall below the operable sash. Apparently, the AHJ was ok with it.

    "Bring out yer dead"
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Emergency Escape and Rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Apparently, the AHJ was ok with it.
    The AHJ has no liability for it either.

    The home inspector, by recommending such a fix, puts themselves first in line for any and all liability for anything related to such a fix.

    Which includes any injuries from bumping into those steps, or high school prom gowns getting caught and torn on such ... whatever 'injury' which might happen to anyone.

    Far better to advise the buyer of the condition and then not suggest any fix less than a full and proper fix.

    Jerry Peck
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Emergency Escape and Rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Far better to advise the buyer of the condition and then not suggest any fix less than a full and proper fix.
    I understand, but sometimes there just is no fix and I struggle with these. I have seen a couple of instances where it is the result of poor design and I cannot imagine any correction short of some significant demolition, which frankly won't be done until the building comes down.

    "Bring out yer dead"
    "I'm not dead yet!"
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Emergency Escape and Rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    I have seen a couple of instances where it is the result of poor design and I cannot imagine any correction short of some significant demolition, which frankly won't be done until the building comes down.
    I absolutely agree.

    But ... does that mean that the home inspector should take it upon themselves to offer a less than required fix?

    No.

    Explain the issue. Explain the fix. When the client says 'the seller will never do that', you say 'you are probably correct' ... then add 'but that is what needs to be done' ... and, if you feel like you need a different out, offer 'you can check with the local building department and see what they say'.

    Put it back on the AHJ, the ones who (supposedly) approved the work (unless it was unpermitted work). Let the AHJ tell them what they should do, after all, it was the AHJ which approved the work as it now exists.

    If the client comes back and says that the AHJ says 'we don't see a problem with it', then tell your client to send them an email "to confirm the phone conversation", and then save the return email which says that ... and if they don't get a written response saying that same thing ... then it wasn't anything your client could hang their hat on anyway ... spoken words are nothing more than mutterings into the wind ... saying nothing and meaning nothing.

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

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Emergency Escape and Rescue

    That's what happened to my Parents with a home they built in 1980. The Basement "Storage" Room had no closet and had a 2o/4o window 60 inches up off the floor. County made them build 2 steps (portable). The County signed off and the steps were never seen again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Hawley View Post
    Would a step below the window solve the problem?



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