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Opinion: Egress in basements

Inquiry:

05-01

Subject:

Egress in basements

Code:

R310.1               

Submitted By:

Contractor

Approved By:

Thomas R. Joachim
State Building Official

Issue Date:

November 2, 1005

Question:

A builder has submitted plans for the construction of a new house. On the basement plan there are dashed lines indicating possible future rooms, including the bathroom layout. The builder has provided the location of the bathroom walls for the installation of underground plumbing that needs to be installed prior to installing the basement slab. The builder has been asked to install an egress window in the basement because the basement has at least seven feet of ceiling height. Is an egress window (or door) required?

Answer:

In our opinion, "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 (egress). Habitable space is defined (in IRC section R202) as "A space in a building for living, sleeping, eating or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces and similar areas are not considered habitable spaces."

This window is not required for a "sleeping room" or a "basement with habitable space" until the sleeping room or habitable space is actually created, and the room is used is for that purpose. When the space is created at a latter date, it would then require proper permits, inspections, and compliance with R310 for egress.

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