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Do I need an egress window in a basement family room when the basement has two viable exits? There are garage doors on one end and an exterior person door leading to exterior stairs on the other.

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3 Answers

Depends on where you live and what your local code and code inspectors say.

Typically, the code for a basement bedroom is that you need two exits.

But since it's not a bedroom, I don't think you have even that issue. You are probably good to go. But check with your local code folks.

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+1 But often the local inspectors take the view that something that could be used as a bedroom must meet bedroom standards. –  bib Dec 4 '13 at 23:20
    
@bib yes, very true. If the room 'looks' like it could be a bedroom, they may flag you for it. Things that might trigger than are an internal door and a closet. –  DA01 Dec 4 '13 at 23:43
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As long as one of the "viable exits" meets the standards for an emergency escape and rescue opening, then you should be all set.

International Residential Code 2012

Chapter 3 - Building Planning

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.

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).

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.

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Since you have 2 walkable paths, you are covered. Egress windows are needed as an alternative in case fire is blocking the path that the bedroom door would allow. This is only required of bedrooms in basements. I have a copy of the ICC 2012 residential building code in Adobe PDF, I cant get the section of the page up since it is PDF, I can get it as an .XPS, that doesn't help either. It does refer to doors being accepted as a rescue opening as long as it goes to a yard or public space.

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If you post the code section you are referring to, folks can look it up for themselves on the internets. –  Tester101 Dec 5 '13 at 12:36
    
R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue openings, in the ICC 2012 code book –  Jack Dec 5 '13 at 15:56
    
I see you posted above.... –  Jack Dec 5 '13 at 15:57
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