AMONG THE CHANGES:
Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings Required; Basements …
If you are a builder or contractor in New York State you are probably already aware that as of October 1, 2016 changes were made to the building code as we currently know it. The code is now updated to the 2015 International Building Code (IBC) along with NYS Building Standards and Codes 2016 Uniform Code Supplement. From that code, most of us most often refer to the International Residential Code (IRC) for One- and Two-family Dwellings.
With regard to basements, Building Code already required that habitable basement spaces have an Emergency Egress Window System that provides direct access to the outdoors. This portion of that code remains the same, paraphrased as follows;
Any habitable space and all sleeping rooms in basement must have a second means of Egress with a minimum open area of 5.7 sq. ft. with a minimum height of 24 inches and a minimum width of 20 inches and cannot be more than 44 inches off the floor. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys or tools.
Here is the 2015 IBC/IRC version:
Section R310 – EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS
R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue opening required.
Basements … shall have not less than one operable emergency escape and rescue opening. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be required in each sleeping room….
So if there is a basement with sleeping quarters which contains an emergency egress does that fulfill the requirements of Section R310? That’s something on which we’ll be seeking clarification. But here is what is offered relative to additions and alterations or repairs.
Section R310.5 Dwelling Additions
Where dwelling additions occur that contain sleeping rooms, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be provided in each new sleeping room. Where dwelling additions occur that have basements, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be provided in the new basement.
- An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required in a new basement that contains a sleeping room with an emergency escape and rescue opening.
- An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required in a new basement where there is an emergency escape and rescue opening in an existing basement that is accessible from the new basement.
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.
Conditions requiring emergency escape and rescue openings from a basement have changed slightly. The requirements for emergency escape and rescue openings remain very similar and will be addressed in our follow-up post to include:
Emergency escape and rescue openings
- Minimum Opening Area
- Window sill height
- Window wells
Emergency escape and rescue doors
- Minimum door opening size
- Bulkhead enclosures
For those familiar with the code book, see pg. 62 of 2015 International Residential Code, SECTION R310 EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS.
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IF YOU ARE A HOMEOWNER and have questions about the information in this article, please contact your local town code enforcement officer for information as it pertains to you and your location. Secor Lumber cannot answer questions or provide end-user homeowner support on this topic.