Egress code

Can someone help me out, I would like to know exactly how the 2000 IBC code reads for egress windows.

I was under the assumption that all bedrooms require egress window, my question is, is it limited to bedrooms or all habitable rooms?

Are you sure you mean the IBC? I don’t know that the IBC addresses this particular topic. Wouldn’t the IRC be more applicable?

sorry, i don’t know the answer pete, but if you publicly thank someone you will probably get 4 pages of response. :wink: yikes-o-pizza!

Yes, the IRC

Well, I don’t have the 2000 IRC but would the 2003 IRC suffice?

Just some of what it says but enough to answer your question…

**R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue required.**Basements with habitable space and every sleeping room shall have at least one openable 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,but shall not not be required in adjoining areas of the basement.

It goes on to give spec.s on demension minimums.

Here’s a scan of 2003 IRC R310:
Egress.PDF (103 KB)

Thanks guys, I am building a attached 2 car garage with a family room above it and the inspector want a egress window up there. I have never come across a situation where a family room needs egress window.

Could there be something I’m missing in the life saftey codes?

My unfinished basement has small windows painted shut. But it does have two doors: one up the stairs to my kitchen, and another directly out to my back garden.

If I finish the basement, are there any restrictions on what types of rooms I can have in this current state i.e. are bedrooms allowed? or a living area? or a utility room?

From the quote, I assume that I would be allowed a bedroom if this room is built around the door out to the garden. Other habitable (non-bedrooms) could then be around this.

Peter, some times the AHJ looks at the proposed room not as what you call it but rather how it might be used by future occupants. I suspect he is surmising the Family Room could potentially be a sleeping room in the future therefore he wants to see an egress window. What’s the issue?

Might be a municipality issue.
Without being argumentative, and using your best people skills,ask your inspector what code he/she is refering to and have him/her read it with you.
Some code inspectors are quite cooperative.
Also pay attention to code about how you are to finish the garage to conform with fire separation.

That is how I read it.
To be sure you should also check with local code.

You may have any of those rooms as long as they are code compliant with your AHJ.

OK this is what I’m up against, it appears they have amended the 2000 IRC code to include that every habitable room in a home must have 2 means of egress. Their definition of a habitable room is any room occupied within a dwelling unit.

My contention with this is what about a bathroom, laundry room, walk in closet?

The IRC defines a "Habitable Space as a space in a building for living, sleeping, eating or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces and similar areas are not considered habitable spaces." If your local AHJ has amended the IRC requirement to add 2 means of egress and done so legally, i.e. by city ordinance, then you will likely have to abide by it. Ask the AHJ to provide that ordinance to you to ensure the AHJ is interpreting the requirement as you would.

Thanks for the clarification on that, I know this is all about safety but I just want to understand the difference. I don’t have a problem with changing the window, though I do have a problem with the building department issuing a permit and approving my plans, then they come out for the frame inspection and tell me I need an egress window.

I might add the house next door got completely gutted and remodeled and there isn’t a single window in the entire house. I don’t want to make a big deal about it, I just want to understand the logic.

Thanks to everyone for the help.


This may satisfy the AHJ…

And help your wallet.


I’d say the original plans examiner dropped the ball on this and approved your plans in error. Or, the framing inspector is interpreting the AHJ revised rules differently than the plans examiner did. You might be able to appeal your case and get a variance but it will likely be easier just to change or add the window. I’d definitely obtain a copy of the ordinance modifying that egress requirement just to make sure of the wording.

Thanks Jeff and Mike.
Mike your probably right but I like to understand why my plans can be approved but not acceptable after the fact. In most cases these battles are rarely won but I do like to professionally challenge building inspectors and debate the pros’s and con’s of the subject. I think they like the challenge as well when it’s done in a professional manner.

Peter, you’re exactly right. BTW, I looked at your town’s website and realized it’s pretty small place. Is the building inspection dept a one man operation? Also, did you have the plans drawn up by an architect? Isn’t his stamp on the drawings? Doesn’t he share some of the blame here? What’s he going to do to help correct the problem?

I would love to see photos of that house without windows. Who lives there, Count Dracula?

Jim King