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    Basement egress question

    Basement egress question

    New postby Dave F on Tue Feb 16, 2016 11:42 am

    Hello,

    I've looked at other questions, and the code, but its tough to interpret, so I'll ask a specific question. I'm planning an addition that will include a section of new basement. the new section will be 16 feet wide and 20 feet long. It wont be a bedroom, but it may be finished into a family room, or similar. There will be a stairway in this room that will lead up to a foyer that has an exterior door. there will also be a door that leads to the existing basement which has another stairway to the kitchen, and a hatchway that leads outside. Do these two exits meet the code requirements for a finished basement, or does there need to be a third way out. I did not plan to put any windows in this new section of basement, but I want to know if I have to.

    Thanks, Dave F
    Dave F
     
    Posts: 11
    Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:15 pm

    Re: Basement egress question

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Tue Feb 16, 2016 2:35 pm

    Dave F wrote: ... but it may be finished into a family room, or similar.
    .
    .
    I did not plan to put any windows in this new section of basement, but I want to know if I have to.


    Dave,

    Yes, you will need a window or door which goes directly to the outdoors to fulfill the emergency escape and rescue opening requirements, and that opening needs to meet the sizes shown below.

    From the 2012 IRC (as I do not know what code specifically applies to you, most codes are now based on the ICC codes): (underlining is mine)
    - SECTION R310 EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS
    - - R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue required.
    - - - Basements, habitable attics and every sleeping room shall have at least one operable emergency escape and rescue opening. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, emergency egress and rescue openings shall be required in each sleeping room. Where emergency escape and rescue openings are provided they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118 mm) measured from the finished floor to the bottom of the clear opening. Where a door opening having a threshold below the adjacent ground elevation serves as an emergency escape and rescue opening and is provided with a bulkhead enclosure, the bulkhead enclosure shall comply with Section R310.3. The net clear opening dimensions required by this section shall be obtained by the normal operation of the emergency escape and rescue opening from the inside. Emergency 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. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way.
    - - - - Exception: Basements used only to house mechanical equipment and not exceeding total floor area of 200 square feet (18.58 m2). (Jerry's note: this exception does not apply to your project as described.)
    - - - R310.1.1 Minimum opening area.
    - - - - All emergency escape and rescue openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5.7 square feet (0.530 m2).
    - - - - - Exception: Grade floor openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5 square feet (0.465 m2).
    - - - R310.1.2 Minimum opening height.
    - - - - The minimum net clear opening height shall be 24 inches (610 mm).
    - - - R310.1.3 Minimum opening width.
    - - - - The minimum net clear opening width shall be 20 inches (508 mm).
    - - - R310.1.4 Operational constraints.
    - - - - Emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys, tools or special knowledge.
    - - R310.2 Window wells.
    - - - The minimum horizontal area of the window well shall be 9 square feet (0.9 m2), with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches (914 mm). The area of the window well shall allow the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened.
    - - - - Exception: The ladder or steps required by Section R310.2.1 shall be permitted to encroach a maximum of 6 inches (152 mm) into the required dimensions of the window well.
    - - - R310.2.1 Ladder and steps.
    - - - - Window wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the window in the fully open position. Ladders or steps required by this section shall not be required to comply with Sections R311.7 and R311.8. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of at least 12 inches (305 mm), shall project at least 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches (457 mm) on center vertically for the full height of the window well.
    - - - R310.2.2 Drainage.
    - - - - Window wells shall be designed for proper drainage by connecting to the building’s foundation drainage system required by Section R405.1 or by an approved alternative method.
    - - - - - Exception: A drainage system for window wells is not required when the foundation is on well-drained soil or sand-gravel mixture soils according to the United Soil Classification System, Group I Soils, as detailed in Table R405.1.
    - - R310.3 Bulkhead enclosures.
    - - - Bulkhead enclosures shall provide direct access to the basement. The bulkhead enclosure with the door panels in the fully open position shall provide the minimum net clear opening required by Section R310.1.1. Bulkhead enclosures shall also comply with Section R311.7.10.2.
    - - R310.4 Bars, grilles, covers and screens.
    - - - Bars, grilles, covers, screens or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, bulkhead enclosures, or window wells that serve such openings, provided the minimum net clear opening size complies with Sections R310.1.1 to R310.1.3, and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool, special knowledge or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.
    - -R310.5 Emergency escape windows under decks and porches.
    - - - Emergency escape windows are allowed to be installed under decks and porches provided the location of the deck allows the emergency escape window to be fully opened and provides a path not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height to a yard or court.

    Additionally ...

    Additionally, you need to meet the requirements for natural light (window glass 'daylight' area), natural ventilation (window opening area), ceiling height, receptacle and lighting requirements, etc, as would be applicable to any other habitable space (family room, dining room, den, whatever you may choose to call the space).
    Jerry Peck - CodeMan
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    Re: Basement egress question

    New postby Dave F on Wed Feb 17, 2016 1:08 pm

    Thanks for the thorough and quick reply.

    After reading you response, I looked up the window area requirements. it looks like there needs to be window area equal to 8% of the floor area. that would mean I would need roughly 26 square feet of window area for the 320 square feet of space. That's quite a bit of window area through a basement wall. I would think they would think that much open area in the foundation walls to be a structural integrity issue, but be that as it may, I'm just trying to put together the best plan I can before I talk to the local building inspector.

    Thanks again
    Dave F
     
    Posts: 11
    Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:15 pm

    Re: Basement egress question

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:33 pm

    Dave F wrote:Thanks for the thorough and quick reply.

    After reading you response, I looked up the window area requirements. it looks like there needs to be window area equal to 8% of the floor area. that would mean I would need roughly 26 square feet of window area for the 320 square feet of space. That's quite a bit of window area through a basement wall.


    Yes, the window would need to provide natural lighting for 8% of the floor area, the window also needs to provide the following too:
    - openable area of 4% of the floor area for natural ventilation
    - and
    - openable area a minimum of 20 inches opening width
    - and
    - openable area a minimum of 24 inches opening height
    - and
    - openable area a minimum of 5.0 square feet (20 inches by 24 inches does not provide 5.0 square feet)
    - and
    - the bottom sill (opening) of the window shall not be higher than 44 inches above the interior floor
    - and
    - a window well which meets the requirements for window wells, and, if a grate or grille is placed over the window well opening, the grate or grille shall meet the requirements for protection and removability for escape and rescue

    So, yes, you would need to provide 25.6 square feet of 'daylight' window opening - but not necessarily all from one window, and 12.8 square feet of opening area for natural ventilation, but not necessarily all from one window.

    The EERO window size requirements are, yes, for each EERO window (you would need at least one EERO window)
    Jerry Peck - CodeMan
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