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I have a basement with three hopper windows and a walk-out door. There's also a staircase that connects the basement with the upper (main) floor of the house.

If I build a bedroom, do I need an egress window or is the basement walk-out door acting as such? (Note that there probably be an internal door between the bedroom and the walk-out exterior door.)

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Think about it: What would you do about a fire in the doorway? – Loren Pechtel Oct 10 '11 at 0:50
up vote 13 down vote accepted

You need an egress window in any bedroom. The purpose is to provide an alternate point of exit from inside a bedroom in the event of an emergency. Having an exterior door located nearby but still outside of the bedroom will not qualify. If the bedroom doorway is blocked, the occupant still cannot exit the room.

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This is correct. Every bedroom now has to have windows as egress, unless there is a door to the outside. Doors, even it just a short distance to another egress do not qualify. Older structures, existing usage etc can get variances, by local code enforcement. – shirlock homes Apr 11 '11 at 21:58
In addition to the mere presence of a second means of egress, most places also require a certain amount of headroom, minimum dimensions, electrical connections, window size, and that the door to the room open into a hallway for a room to be used as a bedroom. And for real estate listings, you'll probably need a closet. Check with your local building inspector so you have all of the requirements in mind before finalizing your plans. – richardtallent Apr 14 '11 at 4:23
You definitely need an egress window. It's required in every home. – user3983 Oct 8 '11 at 7:59
Would it be fine if the exterior door was inside the bedroom? You just need two means, not necessarily either of them being a window, right? – Mazura Mar 6 at 0:58
@Mazura Yes, an exterior door inside the bedroom would be fine. – Doresoom Mar 6 at 1:26

I don't have an answer based on any existing building code other then to relay my experience dealing with my attic remodel.

I think the point the egress route is a secondary exit if the primary (door) is blocked due to smoke/fire. I would imagine if your door to the outside is in a different location than the stairway to the upstairs (main floor) you may be OK. If it is not "up to code" you may be able to work with your local building department/fire marshal.

Our attic we turned into a bedroom only had 1 exit (the main stairway) and the only accessable windows that you could crawl out of where three stories above the ground (too far the jump, at least that is what the fire marshal said). However we filed (and received) a variance from the city and on the condition we installed inteconnected smoke detecotors on all the floors.

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