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    Egress from basement bedroom?

    Egress from basement bedroom?

    New postby lmnop123 on Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:13 pm

    We are looking to purchase a house in New York state with a partially finished basement. The family room in the basement has been finished to code with a egress window. There are full size doors to two unfinished areas. One of these, an unfinished laundry room area leads to another room that we would like to turn into a bedroom and add square footage to the house by cutting another egress window/well.

    The question I have is regarding the door from the bedroom. Currently, it is a full size door that leads into an unfinished laundry area with some low pipes and ducts, etc. The door from the laundry room into the finished family room is a full size door, but has some ductwork that is a few inches lower than the frame on the unfinished side. We would prefer to have a door cut directly from the bedroom into the finished family room, but the only convenient location for that is in an area with low ceiling due to pipes and HVAC stuff. The ceiling here is only ~6'4".

    So, my questions are:

    1. Will a 6'4" door be sufficient to call this a bedroom?
    2. If not, will the door through the unfinished laundry room be sufficient? If not, is the issue that it is entering an unfinished area, or is it that there are some things blocking the top few inches of the door?
    3. I think our last option may be to go in through the other unfinished area, but there are also some low pipes in that area, so I am not confident of that option either.
    lmnop123
     
    Posts: 1
    Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:28 pm

    Re: Egress from basement bedroom?

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:04 pm

    lmnop123 wrote:So, my questions are:

    1. Will a 6'4" door be sufficient to call this a bedroom?
    2. If not, will the door through the unfinished laundry room be sufficient? If not, is the issue that it is entering an unfinished area, or is it that there are some things blocking the top few inches of the door?
    3. I think our last option may be to go in through the other unfinished area, but there are also some low pipes in that area, so I am not confident of that option either.


    Q 1 answer: (the code for New York was taken from here - place cursor over the link and right click, select 'open in new tab': https://codes.iccsafe.org/public/docume ... g-planning )

    - No. All portions of the house (habitable portions especially) are required to have an egress path to the egress door which goes to the outdoors and a public way: (bold and underlining are mine)
    - - SECTION R311
    - - - MEANS OF EGRESS
    - - - - R311.1 Means of egress.
    - - - - - Dwellings shall be provided with a means of egress in accordance with this section. The means of egress shall provide a continuous and unobstructed path of vertical and horizontal egress travel from all portions of the dwelling to the required egress door without requiring travel through a garage. The required egress door shall open directly into a public way or to a yard or court that opens to a public way.

    - No, but ...
    - - R311.2 Egress door.
    - - - Not less than one egress door shall be provided for each dwelling unit. The egress door shall be side-hinged, and shall provide a clear width of not less than 32 inches (813 mm) where measured between the face of the door and the stop, with the door open 90 degrees (1.57 rad). The clear height of the door opening shall be not less than 78 inches (1981 mm) in height measured from the top of the threshold to the bottom of the stop. Other doors shall not be required to comply with these minimum dimensions. Egress doors shall be readily openable from inside the dwelling without the use of a key or special knowledge or effort.

    - No, but even though the code states "Other doors shall not be required to comply with these minimum dimensions.", which is about doors other than the "egress door', which is typically the front door, but could be other doors, all doors from habitable areas are "egress doors" as they allow for the "continuous and unobstructed path" of egress, as such, I have not heard of jurisdictions which allow for shorter doors (not as wide, yes, but not shorter in height), thus the minimum height of "shall be not less than 78 inches" has always been required for bedroom doors and other doors from habitable areas.

    Q 2 answer:
    - The code does not require areas to be finished, however, the code does require all habitable areas to have minimum amounts of natural light, natural ventilation, and heat sufficient to maintain 68 degrees F in the habitable space, and requiring a person so travel through unheated space within the habitable space may be questionable in many jurisdictions (non-habitable space is not required to be heated, laundry rooms, bathrooms and kitchens are examples of non-habitable space) - I have heard of jurisdictions which require heat in bathrooms, and kitchens typically are self-heated by the cooking which takes place in the kitchen (albeit stoves are not permitted to be used for heating, the side affect of cooking things is that the area typically heats up too).
    - The partially blocked door height, though, goes back to the answer to Q 1.

    Q 3 answer:
    - A 7'0" ceiling height for the bedroom area, with a full height door, would be acceptable, and basements are allowed to have a 6'4" height above the floor for "beams, girders, ducts or other obstructions" ... but a 6'4" ceiling height in the room is not allowed:
    - - SECTION R305
    - - - CEILING HEIGHT
    - - - - R305.1 Minimum height.
    - - - - - Habitable space, hallways and portions of basements containing these spaces shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet (2134 mm). Bathrooms, toilet rooms and laundry rooms shall have a ceiling height of not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm).
    - - - - - - Exceptions:
    - - - - - - - 1. For rooms with sloped ceilings, the required floor area of the room shall have a ceiling height of not less than 5 feet (1524 mm) and not less than 50 percent of the required floor area shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet (2134 mm).
    - - - - - - - 2. The ceiling height above bathroom and toilet room fixtures shall be such that the fixture is capable of being used for its intended purpose. A shower or tub equipped with a showerhead shall have a ceiling height of not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm) above an area of not less than 30 inches (762 mm) by 30 inches (762 mm) at the showerhead.
    - - - - - - - -3. Beams, girders, ducts or other obstructions in basements containing habitable space shall be permitted to project to within 6 feet 4 inches (1931 mm) of the finished floor.
    - - - - - R305.1.1 Basements.
    - - - - - - Portions of basements that do not contain habitable space or hallways shall have a ceiling height of not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm).
    - - - - - - - Exception: At beams, girders, ducts or other obstructions, the ceiling height shall be not less than 6 feet 4 inches (1931 mm) from the finished floor.
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    Return to Egress: Means of Egress (other than stairways, see 'Stairways' below)



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