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  1. #1
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    Default Basement Egress Window size

    I have discovered that my basement egress windows are slightly under size--at 5.33 square feet ( 24" wide by 32" high, actual opening). Is this something I could expect a home inspector to call out? And could this end up causing me grief down the line when we want to sell the house?
    --Ken

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Basement Egress Window size

    Ken, How old is the house?

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Basement Egress Window size

    If it is a grade floor opening the current IRC allows 5.0 sq ft for the opening size (Section 310.1.1 exception), so it would depend on where the outside grade is relative to the window. A grade floor opening is defined as having the sill not more than 44" above or below the ground level adjacent to the opening (R202).

    Thom Huggett, PE, SE, CBO

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Basement Egress Window size

    house was built in 1960; however two bedrooms were added in the basement, perhaps about ten years ago, with vinyl casement windows. Windows are below grade, so the requirement is 5.7 sq. ft. opening. I was just wondering how big a deal it is that the actual window opening is 5.3 sq, ft., and whether it is something I want to address before selling the house in the future.
    -Ken


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Basement Egress Window size

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rip View Post
    Windows are below grade, so the requirement is 5.7 sq. ft. opening.
    The exception to the 5.7 square foot size opening requirement states:
    Exception: Grade floor or below grade opening shall have a new clear opening of not less than 5 square feet (0.465 m2).

    The reason for the 5.7 square feet is so a firefighter with gear and on a ladder can get through the window.

    The reason for the exception for grade floor (not more than 44 inches above grade) and below grade windows to allow 5.0 square feet is that no ladder will be taking up space in the opening.

    Below grade EERO are required to have a window well and a permanent ladder if greater than 44 inches deep.

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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Basement Egress Window size

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The exception to the 5.7 square foot size opening requirement states:
    Exception: Grade floor or below grade opening shall have a new clear opening of not less than 5 square feet (0.465 m2).

    The reason for the 5.7 square feet is so a firefighter with gear and on a ladder can get through the window.

    The reason for the exception for grade floor (not more than 44 inches above grade) and below grade windows to allow 5.0 square feet is that no ladder will be taking up space in the opening.

    Below grade EERO are required to have a window well and a permanent ladder if greater than 44 inches deep.
    Using CD reporting software the exterior window sill being below 6"-8" from grade requires a window well.
    If the means of egress is greater than 44" in height would require a permanent ladder.
    IE: A 24" inch deep window well with a fenced enclosure to protect trip fall accidents.

    Would that be a safe assumption?

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.”

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Basement Egress Window size

    Ken, To answer your question the window size only becomes an issue if the future buyers or their inspector make it an issue. Just be aware that it could become an issue and have a plan in case it does. Is there a way to install windows with a slightly smaller trim that would give you that extra space?

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Basement Egress Window size

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    Using CD reporting software the exterior window sill being below 6"-8" from grade requires a window well.
    If the means of egress is greater than 44" in height would require a permanent ladder.
    IE: A 24" inch deep window well with a fenced enclosure to protect trip fall accidents.

    Would that be a safe assumption?
    The code measures from grade because it presumes that is the starting point.

    Put a fence around a window well with no gate and the depth of the well would be measured from the top of the fence.

    If there is a gate, the latch should be at grade level to measure from grade.

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

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Basement Egress Window size

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rees View Post
    Ken, To answer your question the window size only becomes an issue if the future buyers or their inspector make it an issue. Just be aware that it could become an issue and have a plan in case it does. Is there a way to install windows with a slightly smaller trim that would give you that extra space?
    thanks for the idea...that's a possibility. the present windows have a 3" trim. I'll look into that.
    --Ken


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Basement Egress Window size

    EERO fenestrations.

    The 2015 versions of IRC and IEBC have specific provisions for replacement windows that are required to provide EERO. As long as the window replacement is not occurring due to a change in occupancy of the building (i.e. a home is not being converted to a restaurant or retail shop), the replacement may consist of the manufacturer’s largest standard style window of the same operating type as the existing window that will fit into the existing opening.

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.”

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Basement Egress Window size

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    EERO fenestrations.

    The 2015 versions of IRC and IEBC have specific provisions for replacement windows that are required to provide EERO. As long as the window replacement is not occurring due to a change in occupancy of the building (i.e. a home is not being converted to a restaurant or retail shop), the replacement may consist of the manufacturer’s largest standard style window of the same operating type as the existing window that will fit into the existing opening.
    Regardless, that window meets EERO requirements as it is.

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

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Basement Egress Window size

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Regardless, that window meets EERO requirements as it is.
    Just information, unless you want to be the last word on the subject?

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.”

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