I have a question that is similar, but different, than:

Can I have an office in my basement without egress?

I want to finish off my basement as such:

enter image description here

My question is, by putting the red walls up, am I closing off an egress for the rest of the basement? Does it matter since there are no bedrooms down there? What if the Office were to turn into a bedroom. Would there be any problems since the bedroom has external access?

3 Answers 3


If the red flaps on the red wall are doors, you should be fine, so long as the doors are and remain functional, and cannot be locked in the egress direction - i.e. from the "family room" to the office.

  • This seems to be slightly more comprehensive than @Henry anwer as it addresses the fact that you can't have the doors lock (which is really the crux of the problem). Once those doors are up, if you could lock them then the only way out would be up the stairs which really doesn't count. Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 1:50

Yes, this allowed according to recent versions of the IRC building code. (If your state or region has a different building code you will need to look it up yourself or specify.)

To quote the code:

R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue required. Basements and every sleeping room shall have at least one operable emergency and rescue opening. Such opening shall open directly into a public street, public alley, yard or court.

So in short it only counts as an emergency exit if it leads directly outside. It can't just be a route outside.

Since there are no bedrooms in this basement, a single exit from the basement is allowed. If you convert the "office" to a bedroom, that is also allowed, but you could not convert the "family area" into a basement without adding an additional exit. (You may wish to read the rest of that section since there are additional requirements and definitions, but that is the gist of it.)

However the short answer to any code question is always "whatever your local inspector says", since they are the ones that have the final say or not.


The only answer is to ask your inspector. I can't see why in any case this would pose a problem as you have doors. The whole point of the egress is accessibility. Your basement has to two points in two different areas and really whether you have a door there or not.

  • Actually the basement (or bedrooms) only need a single exit that leads directly outside. There is no concept in the IRC of "two exits", although there often ends up being two ways out because people want to access a basement from inside.
    – Hank
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 1:23
  • @HenryJackson - I didn't see the whole floor plan. If the home owner is claiming a bedroom in basement there must be an egress somewhere.
    – DMoore
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 2:58

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