Basement egress questions


Old 08-02-20, 08:06 AM
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Basement egress questions

Sections 3XX of the residential building code (IRC) require emergency egress in a habitable basement space but appear to me to generally define that space in terms of how it is used rather than by it's features. For example, a storage or utility/laundry room would not require egress while a recreation room would. Is this interpretation correct?

In addition, it would be helpful to get comments on the following but note that a sleeping area is not contemplated under any circumstances:
  • * Do the features of the space impact egress requirements? For example, does finishing walls, ceilings, or floors influence egress requirements? What about electrical, insulation or heat?
  • * Are furnishings determinative? Would having a sofa, TV, or even foosball control?
  • * If use dictates egress requirements, how should I evaluate occasional use. Would infrequent use (perhaps once a week or month) be treated differently than daily use?
Any information is appreciated.

Last edited by Tony P.; 08-02-20 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 08-02-20, 10:20 AM
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Marc Nard, ICC technical expert, further explains which spaces require emergency egress or exit openings, saying emergency exits are required in basement sleeping rooms or habitable space — defined as spaces used for living, sleeping, eating, or cooking. While that does not include spaces like bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage spaces, or utility spaces, it does include offices, recreation rooms, bedrooms, and home theaters. 

There are some fine points. For example, a basement that has no bedroom but has an office would need an emergency exit for the office. But, says Nard, “Say you have a basement bedroom and an office which is not in the bedroom. How many emergency egress and rescue openings do you need? Answer: One, but it has to be in the sleeping room.”

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Old 08-03-20, 09:39 AM
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Time to visit your local code authority. They are there to help,
I have a feeling that even though you state no sleeping will be done they will not be satisfied with that. What about the guy that buys the property after you?
Old 08-04-20, 11:12 AM
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Local opinions rule. Your intended use has little to do with how your code office sees it.
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