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Thread: Egress window maximum height

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    Sawhorse
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    Egress window maximum height

    44 inches above floor for maximum distance to egress opening, as required by R310.

    Just curious how you all would treat a window bench or seat, that is permanent in nature (finished, built in, sheetrocked, ie. not removable easily)....
    If you had an egress window that was 50" to sill, above the floor, but there was a window seat or bench at, say 16" in height, giving you actually 34" to the window sill....
    I realize the code says floor. The commentary also says floor.

    This is at rough framing. The problem with lowering the window is that the exterior roof of the floor below is right at the bottom.

    Raising the floor inside would provide a solution, and with 9' ceilings, wouldn't be a huge consequence.

    I am just scanning for creative solutions that might not be as drastic, looking at what others have approved or modified in the past.

    I realize that my duty is owed to the safety and enforcing the code minimums and I will always work towards that end. I just wanted to get opinions and thoughts on window seats/benches, or other things you all have seen.

    Forgive me if this has been covered in a previous thread. I did scan them but didn't see anything similar.

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    I would allow it as-is,provided the bench/seat is of suitable depth to stand on..

    worst case put a 8" high step to the bench/seat and now you have a raised floor

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    Only in San Juan County Washington.
    Last edited by Bootleg; February 16th, 2011 at 21:02.

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    Well guardrails now measure from top of built-in seat, why not window sill height?

    I have always designed measuring from finish floor, not the seat in both cases above, so I probably fall into a thinking that you could measure from the top of a step that meets riser requirements of a stair, but than would a landing be required? Ah heck, I guess I don't know what to think.

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    I don't see it as a big issue as long as the seat is not so narrow as to be awkward for escaping or for firefighters entering.

    If you don't like my step scenario, how about you build a floor 6" higher below the window and then build the seat on top of that


    I wouldn't overthink this.. we are talking about 50" vs 44".. I dare say (having put hundreds of kids through windows during FP week) that it is easier for a child (and probably everybody) to escape with a seat under the window than a sill 44" AFF.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimNY View Post
    I wouldn't overthink this.. we are talking about 50" vs 44".. I dare say (having put hundreds of kids through windows during FP week) that it is easier for a child (and probably everybody) to escape with a seat under the window than a sill 44" AFF.
    That sounds like a very good point. I guess I was searching for options for a modification that preserve the intent of the code, which is life safety. Your explanation supplemented with personal experience makes quite a bit of sense. I am again, in my new capacity, trying to balance strict letter of the code with practical solutions that arise during projects. I really appreciate the feedback because it provides unique pov's from others with more experience than me. I also appreciate, believe it or not, when criticism comes my way, because if coming from some with a good knowledge base, then it is worthwhile for me to consider. One thing about myself is that I don't think I am stuck in my ways, nor am I an expert at everything or all knowing either. I do listen to all sides and feel I have a lot to learn. Basically I am good about knowing what I don't know. So again, thanks for the opinions from those out there with much more code experience than me. I hope I can provide feedback that is helpful as well.

    The other thing that comes to mind about having a bench or permanent seat under the egress window is that is a great place to put the window key so it doesn't get lost.

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    Sawhorse
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bootleg View Post
    Only in San Juan County Washington.
    For the record, we grant forgiveness more often than permission, about 2 to 1 last year.

    And speaking of "only in San Juan County", ask me sometime about our "owner-builder" ordinance. you guys would have a field day with it.

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    righter101.

    It's politics at it's best.

    But it was that way before you got there and will be that way long after you leave.

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    Are you from the Islands?

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    Quote Originally Posted by righter101 View Post
    That sounds like a very good point. I guess I was searching for options for a modification that preserve the intent of the code, which is life safety. Your explanation supplemented with personal experience makes quite a bit of sense. I am again, in my new capacity, trying to balance strict letter of the code with practical solutions that arise during projects. I really appreciate the feedback because it provides unique pov's from others with more experience than me. I also appreciate, believe it or not, when criticism comes my way, because if coming from some with a good knowledge base, then it is worthwhile for me to consider. One thing about myself is that I don't think I am stuck in my ways, nor am I an expert at everything or all knowing either. I do listen to all sides and feel I have a lot to learn. Basically I am good about knowing what I don't know. So again, thanks for the opinions from those out there with much more code experience than me. I hope I can provide feedback that is helpful as well.

    The other thing that comes to mind about having a bench or permanent seat under the egress window is that is a great place to put the window key so it doesn't get lost.
    The great thing about this forum is that many different opinions are contributed. There are the "letter of the law" people here, the "get an engineer's stamp and disregard everything" people, and an entire spectrum in between. While the opinions will differ (heatedly, in some cases) I don't think anybody's opinion is discounted.

    There is no tone of voice in text, so if you get a short answer don't take it as gruff..

    And don't discount your own opinion. Sometimes I'm guilty of "doing it this way for xx years", then a fresh body presents a different opinion.. and the lightbulb comes on

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    Have run into this with basement escape windows. The concrete guy screws up the height, and then the builder / owner needs to provide a fix. I always require a concrete step / platform in the basement because it's more likely to stay instead of a wood step / platform.....which would be gone the day after a c.o. Is issued. This does'nt happen too often......but someday it will happen to all of us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAYWALKER View Post
    Have run into this with basement escape windows. The concrete guy screws up the height, and then the builder / owner needs to provide a fix. I always require a concrete step / platform in the basement because it's more likely to stay instead of a wood step / platform.....which would be gone the day after a c.o. Is issued. This does'nt happen too often......but someday it will happen to all of us.
    I agree, when I have approved a wood platform (and it is to be 36"x36" at the "top" if more than one riser) I require bolting to the conc floor. not that it can't be removed, but they have just gone to a bit of work to get the bolts installed into the concrete, and hey , , , the platform isn't so bad anyway, , a stage for the puppet shows

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    Short answer, I'd accept it.
    Arguing with an inspector is like wrestling with a pig in mud, pretty soon you realize that the pig is enjoying it!

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    I believe BO's have the authority under R104.10 Modifications to allow these types of "fixes" when needed. I don't belive R104.10 Modifications would apply during the design or intial plan review but we are all human and make mistakes. The concrete guy poured the floor to low, the inspector missed the rough opening height. The plans examiner did not have an interior elevation drawing detailing the sill height any number of reasons could apply and the modifications listed above would be in keeping with the intent of the code to provide safety to the occupants and firefighters.
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    I approved a "step" before to meet the requirement. Of course the usual it's got to be bolted down cr@p goes with the approval.

    As my old boss used to say you can only approe what you see at the time you see it. To assume it stays or get changed you have no control over.

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    Must be an Island thing in Washington! A remodel to the Bainbridge Island Fire Department Station 22 quarters included installation of 2 or 3 steps up to a landing on a built-in storage box beneath the bedroom window. The box itself was at about the same height as the bed (which did not have steps leading up to it - yet kids still manage to jump on their beds, how on earth do they get up there!)

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    TimNY,
    That is a great point you made with childern getting out with the aid of a step, I think I'd approve it also. Just goes to show you the code does'nt always think of every issue. If it's a window seat that is hinged, a good place for a rope ladder?

    righter101,
    Is there another window in the bedroom that meets the 5.7 s.f. requirement that does not have a step? Only need one window to meet the egress requirement!

    There is nothing preventing the homeowner from setting his dresser infront of the window anyway!

    pc1

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    Quote Originally Posted by righter101 View Post
    For the record, we grant forgiveness more often than permission, about 2 to 1 last year.

    And speaking of "only in San Juan County", ask me sometime about our "owner-builder" ordinance. you guys would have a field day with it.
    So, John, tell us about the "OWNER-BUILDER Ordinance...

    I would truly like to hear about it!
    "Build it Well, whatever you do. Build it Strong, Straight, and True. Build it High; build it Broad. Build it for the eye of God."

    "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right."

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    The window opening is to be measured from the floor.(R310.1) A landing is also an acceptable equal to a floor.(R311.3 & 311.7.5) Residential landings must be a minium 36 deep. IMHO, the window seat would not qualify as a floor or landing.

    Not acceptable.
    "Build it Well, whatever you do. Build it Strong, Straight, and True. Build it High; build it Broad. Build it for the eye of God."

    "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right."

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    Would it be acceptable if the window seat was 36" wide? Not sure the OP has R311 issues.

    R311 is for Stairways, ramps, egress off of balconies, hallways and doors. Should we be using that section here?

    Just asking?

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