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Basement and egress question

PatrickNYS

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Feb 7, 2021
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7
Location
Hampton Bays
Hello everyone,

I would like opinions on the following:

The plan it to finish the basement. This is a link to a 3D rendering of the plan/situation. link to dropbox file

The issue: do I need to add a (larger) egress window?
Currently there is one window that is not big enough to qualify as and legal egress window but it is currently one open space and there is also a set of Bilco doors, and of course stairs that go to the 1st floor. Although replacing the window by a larger and code compliant one, is technically an option, practically it is a challenge because of the plumbing right under it that would be in the way and hard to reroute.
If I split the space into 2 spaces:
- room #1 (the right one in the picture) that is about 1/4 of the surface and has the Bilco doors as an exit, and
- room #2 that is basically one big room that leads to a hallway between the 2 spaces. There will be no door(s) between room #2 and the hallway. The hallway has unobstructed access to a staircase and the door at the top of the stairs that opens onto the first floor.

Would room #2 still need an egress window or does the direct access through the hallway to the stairs to the first floor count as an code compliant egress?

Thanks in advance for all your time and advice.

Cheers,
Patrick
 

classicT

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Aug 2, 2017
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Location
Washington State
R310.2.5 Replacement Windows
Replacement windows installed in buildings meeting the scope of this code shall be exempt from the maximum sill height requirements of Section R310.2.2 and the requirements of Section R310.2.1, provided that the replacement window meets the following conditions:
  1. The replacement window is the manufacturer's largest standard size window that will fit within the existing frame or existing rough opening. The replacement window is of the same operating style as the existing window or a style that provides for an equal or greater window opening area than the existing window.
  2. The replacement window is not part of a change of occupancy.

[NY] R310.6 Alterations or Repairs of Existing Basements
Alterations or repairs of existing basements shall conform with Appendix J of this code.


[NY] AJ601.7.3 Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings
An emergency escape and rescue opening complying with Section R310 shall be provided in existing basements undergoing a reconfiguration of space to create habitable space.
 

PatrickNYS

Registered User
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
7
Location
Hampton Bays
R310.2.5 Replacement Windows
Replacement windows installed in buildings meeting the scope of this code shall be exempt from the maximum sill height requirements of Section R310.2.2 and the requirements of Section R310.2.1, provided that the replacement window meets the following conditions:
  1. The replacement window is the manufacturer's largest standard size window that will fit within the existing frame or existing rough opening. The replacement window is of the same operating style as the existing window or a style that provides for an equal or greater window opening area than the existing window.
  2. The replacement window is not part of a change of occupancy.

[NY] R310.6 Alterations or Repairs of Existing Basements
Alterations or repairs of existing basements shall conform with Appendix J of this code.


[NY] AJ601.7.3 Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings
An emergency escape and rescue opening complying with Section R310 shall be provided in existing basements undergoing a reconfiguration of space to create habitable space.
Hi ClassicT,

Thanks for providing the relevant sections of the code, that is very helpful. (I am not being sarcastic, for those not dealing with that kind of literature every day it is sometimes hard to find what you need).
Let's see if I am reading this correctly:
[NY] R310.6 Alterations or Repairs of Existing Basements: yes, I am altering an existing basement, so go to Appendix J (which is I assume AJ601.7.3 since that is what you also added).
[NY] AJ601.7.3 Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings: this is saying that since I am altering/reconfiguring my basement I need to provide an "emergency escape and rescue opening complying with Section R310", and see R310 for details ...

I am not sure how to interpret R310.2.5. I assume you quote R310.2.5. specifically because of the possible exception.
- I am no changing the occupancy classification. It is residential and it stays residential. So R310.2.5.2 is good.
So: I should see if I can fit a bigger window in the existing opening?
If so, I should be exempt from the 4.4ft sill height requirement, and the 5 sq ft (R310.2.1. Exception: Grade floor openings or below-grade openings shall have a net clear opening area of not less than 5 square feet (0.465 m2).) requirement?

Am I correct?

Thanks again for your time an advice,
Patrick
 

classicT

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Washington State
If you are just refinishing the basement, then you really do not have to do much. Even if replacing the window, as long as it is like for like, R310.2.5 will allow you to keep the same size window.

That said, if you are finishing a previously unfinished basement, then all bets are off and a compliant egress window following all the requirements of Section R310 is necessary.
 

Rick18071

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Poconos/eastern PA
I don't know NY codes but since you already have a bilco door and no bedroom is being added you don't need the egress window. A door to the outside is already a emergency escape and rescue opening.
 

cda

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Oct 19, 2009
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Basement
Hi,
Mostly recreation room for the kids, but I can't exclude that occasionally someone will sleep there. Note: there is no bathroom.


If you are submitting plans for review and permit, You will need to label the use of the rooms.

It may be a good time to replace the window, in case you sale, or it becomes or can be used for a bedroom.

A bathroom or closet in a room does not make it a bedroom. Just a note
 

classicT

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I don't know NY codes but since you already have a bilco door and no bedroom is being added you don't need the egress window. A door to the outside is already a emergency escape and rescue opening.
Nope... That is not correct.

If it is the typical Bilco cellar door, it does not meet the requirements for an EERO. Per R310.3, must be a side-hinged door or a slider.

R310.3 Emergency Escape and Rescue Doors
Where a door is provided as the required emergency escape and rescue opening, it shall be a side-hinged door or a slider. Where the opening is below the adjacent grade, it shall be provided with an area well.
 

PatrickNYS

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Messages
7
Location
Hampton Bays
Nope... That is not correct.

If it is the typical Bilco cellar door, it does not meet the requirements for an EERO. Per R310.3, must be a side-hinged door or a slider.

R310.3 Emergency Escape and Rescue Doors
Where a door is provided as the required emergency escape and rescue opening, it shall be a side-hinged door or a slider. Where the opening is below the adjacent grade, it shall be provided with an area well.
Is this an exception for NYS? Because the current Bilco site states this, for the basement door type that I have:

International Residential Building Codes (IRC)​

Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings – Section 310​

Section 310 of the International Residential Code pertains to all single and two family homes. The intent of this code is to keep you and your loved ones safe by requiring a secondary means of egress in basement level living spaces. This egress allows occupants to escape safety in the event of fire if the main stairway is impassible and provides firefighters direct access to the basement area. BILCO basement doors and egress window wells both meet the requirements outlined in the codes listed below for emergency egress in finished basement areas.
 

classicT

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Location
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Is this an exception for NYS? Because the current Bilco site states this, for the basement door type that I have:

International Residential Building Codes (IRC)​

Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings – Section 310​

Section 310 of the International Residential Code pertains to all single and two family homes. The intent of this code is to keep you and your loved ones safe by requiring a secondary means of egress in basement level living spaces. This egress allows occupants to escape safety in the event of fire if the main stairway is impassible and provides firefighters direct access to the basement area. BILCO basement doors and egress window wells both meet the requirements outlined in the codes listed below for emergency egress in finished basement areas.
The code section I provided (R310.3) was from NYS.
 

Paul Sweet

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It looks like the 2015 IRC allowed bulkheads (Bilco doors), but the 2018 changed it to a well with a ladder or steps
 

PatrickNYS

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Location
Hampton Bays
Nope... That is not correct.

If it is the typical Bilco cellar door, it does not meet the requirements for an EERO. Per R310.3, must be a side-hinged door or a slider.

R310.3 Emergency Escape and Rescue Doors
Where a door is provided as the required emergency escape and rescue opening, it shall be a side-hinged door or a slider. Where the opening is below the adjacent grade, it shall be provided with an area well.
Sorry, to keep coming to back to this ....
The current basement door is the Classic series Bilco basement door. It is basically a set of side hinged doors, al be it not vertical. Is there a definition of what is a side-hinged door in the code?
 

Rick18071

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I didn't know that they made a bilco doors that wasn't side hinged and the door to the bilco door is also side hinged.
The EERO windows are sliders and the wells come with a cover to keep leaves, people and stuff from falling in that isn't side hinged.
 

PatrickNYS

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Location
Hampton Bays
I didn't know that they made a bilco doors that wasn't side hinged and the door to the bilco door is also side hinged.
The EERO windows are sliders and the wells come with a cover to keep leaves, people and stuff from falling in that isn't side hinged.
Now that you mention it, and I double checked on the site, all Bilco basement doors are side hinged.
So, are the (NYS) code compliant?
However, after the basement reconfiguration (i.e. finishing my basement), the Bilco door will be in seperate unfinished part of the basement. So, going back to my original post, does the unobstructed access (no doors) to the staircase to the indoor door to the first floor count as an code compliant egress? (see details in my first post)
 

Rick18071

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This is from the 2015 IRC. Don't know NY codes.

R310.3 Emergency escape and rescue doors. Where a door
is provided as the required emergency escape
and rescue
opening, it shall be permitted to be a side-hinged door or a
slider. Where the opening is below the adjacent ground elevation,
it shall be provided with a bulkhead enclosure.
R310.3.1 Minimum door opening size. The minimum
net clear height opening for any door that serves as an
emergency and escape rescue opening shall be in accordance
with Section R310.2.1.
R310.3.2 Bulkhead enclosures. Bulkhead enclosures
shall provide direct access from the basement. The bulkhead
enclosure shall provide the minimum net clear opening
equal to the door in the fully open position



R310.6 Alterations or repairs of existing basements. An
emergency escape and rescue opening is not required where
existing basements undergo alterations or repairs.

Exception: New sleeping rooms created in an existing
basement shall be provided with emergency escape and
rescue openings in accordance with Section R310.1.
 

VillageInspector

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Feb 9, 2010
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Dutchess County, New York, United States
I would speak with the local AHJ as I believe you will need natural lighting to create habitable space and I'm not certain BIlco doors are permissible in NYS as rescue openings but I might be incorrect. Also the applicable code in this case would be the Existing Building code of NYS not the Residential Building Code which you should find more favorable to your project.
 
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