Our master bedroom in our house is located in the basement. The one window it was does not have an egress window and was like this since the 50's. Am i grandfathered in or do I have to replace the old window with a new egress window to be up to code. This will require substantial foundation work to make the opening to the correct size.
The required egress window size is 5.7 square feet, except for first floor and basement window is 5.0 square feet. The net height shall be a minimum of 24” and net width shall be 20” wide. (See ICC R310.2.1)
The window sill shall be not more than 44” above the finished floor and provided with an appropriate window well if located in the basement. (R310.2.2 and R310.2.3)
Yes, you are “grandfathered in”, (See R310..6), unless you’re remodeling your basement and adding a sleeping room.
However, how do you sleep at night if you put a child or guest in that room? Do you at least have smoke detectors in the bedroom AND in the basement?
I heard years ago from a real estate agent that if you have a "bedroom" that doesn't meet the egress requirements then you can't count it as a bedroom when you sell the house. For example, if you have 3 "good" bedrooms upstairs and one not-quite-a-legal-bedroom downstairs, then you have to list it as "3 bedrooms". Most of the time people looking at houses understand this - and can make their own decision whether to use a non-bedroom as a bedroom. Similarly, if your area requires an occupancy permit for a house then it will be based on having proper egress for bedrooms, so any rooms that don't meet the requirements just won't be officially bedrooms.
However, the master bedroom is, IMHO, a bit different. Typically it is larger, has a bathroom attached and can't really be ignored. You can sell a house with 3 bedrooms almost as easily as 4. You can't (practically speaking) sell a house without a master bedroom. So if this is truly the master bedroom then the egress requirements really do matter. But in the end, except if you are selling the house, the choice is yours.