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United States Egress Codes

Emergency escape and rescue openings for the United States

Based upon your location in the United States, your state/county may have different requirements for basement egress and emergency escape codes. We have compiled many resources from States and local governments to give you a great starting point to find which IRC Building codes you should adhere to.

Please note, due to the government’s government’s constantly changing nature, please verify with your local county building inspector to double-check your code requirements before starting a project. We try to keep this database up-to-date as best as possible but express no warranties on the accuracy of information.

Discover your local requirements for an emergency exit from window wells, including:

  • Window well minimum size
  • Ladder requirements
  • Operational constraints

IRC Section 310 By Year

2020 INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTIAL CODE – SECTION R310

EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS

R310.1Emergency escape and rescue opening required.

Basements, habitable attics, and every sleeping room shall have not less than one operable emergency escape and rescue opening. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be required in each sleeping room. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall open directly into a public way or to a yard or court that opens to a public way.

Exception:

Storm shelters and basements used only to house mechanical equipment not exceeding a total floor area of 200 square feet (18.58 m2).

R310.1.1 Operational constraints and opening control devices.

Emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys, tools, or special knowledge. Window opening control devices on windows serving as a required emergency escape and rescue opening shall comply with ASTM F2090.

R310.2 Emergency escape and rescue openings.

Emergency escape and rescue openings shall have minimum dimensions as specified in this section.

R310.2.1 Minimum opening area.

Emergency and escape rescue openings shall have a net clear opening of not less than 5.7 square feet (0.530 m2). 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. The clear net height of the opening shall be not less than 24 inches (610 mm), and the net clear width shall be not less than 20 inches (508 mm).

Exception: Grade floor openings or below-grade openings shall have a net clear opening area of not less than 5 square feet (0.465 m2).

R310.2.2 Window sill height.

Where a window is provided as the emergency escape and rescue opening, it shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118 mm) above the floor; where the sill height is below grade, it shall be provided with a window well in accordance with Section R310.2.3.

R310.2.3 Window wells.

The horizontal area of the window well shall be not less than 9 square feet (0.9 m2), with a horizontal projection and width of not less than 36 inches (914 mm). The area of the window well shall allow the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened.

Exception: The ladder or steps required by Section R310.2.3.1 shall be permitted to encroach not more than 6 inches (152 mm) into the required dimensions of the window well.

R310.2.3.1 Ladder and steps.

Window wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the window in the fully open position. Ladders or steps required by this section shall not be required to comply with Section R311.7. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of not less than 12 inches (305 mm), shall project not less than 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall, and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches (457 mm) on center vertically for the full height of the window well.

R310.2.3.2 Drainage.

Window wells shall be designed for proper drainage by connecting to the building’s foundation drainage system required by Section R405.1 or an approved alternative method.

Exception: A drainage system for window wells is not required where the foundation is on well-drained soil or sand-gravel mixture soils in accordance with the United Soil Classification System, Group I Soils, as detailed in Table R405.1.

R310.2.4 Emergency escape and rescue openings under decks and porches.

Emergency escape and rescue openings installed under decks and porches shall be fully openable and provide a path not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height to a yard or court.

R310.2.5 Replacement windows.

Replacement windows installed in buildings meeting the scope of this code shall be exempt from the maximum sill height requirements of Section R310.2.2 and the requirements of Section R310.2.1, provided that the replacement window meets the following conditions:

The replacement window is the manufacturer’s largest standard size window that will fit within the existing frame or existing rough opening. The replacement window is of the same operating style as the existing window or a style that provides for an equal or greater window opening area than the existing window.

The replacement window is not part of a change of occupancy.

R310.3 Emergency escape and rescue doors.

Where a door is provided as the required emergency escape and rescue opening, it shall be a side-hinged door or a slider. Where the opening is below the adjacent grade, it shall be provided with an area well.

R310.3.1 Minimum door opening size.

The minimum net clear height opening for any door that serves as an emergency and escape rescue opening shall be in accordance with Section R310.2.1.

R310.3.2 Area wells.

Area wells shall have a width of not less than 36 inches (914 mm). The area well shall be sized to allow the emergency escape and rescue door to be fully opened.

R310.3.2.1 Ladder and steps.

Area wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the door in the fully open position. Ladders or steps required by this section shall not be required to comply with Section R311.7. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of not less than 12 inches (305 mm), shall project not less than 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall, and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches (457 mm) on center vertically for the full height of the exterior stairwell.

R310.3.2.2 Drainage.

Area wells shall be designed for proper drainage by connecting to the building’s foundation drainage system required by Section R405.1 or by an approved alternative method.

Exception: A drainage system for area wells is not required where the foundation is on well-drained soil or sand-gravel mixture soils in accordance with the United Soil Classification System, Group I Soils, as detailed in Table R405.1.

R310.4 Bars, grilles, covers and screens.

Where bars, grilles, covers, screens or similar devices are placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, area wells, or window wells, the minimum net clear opening size shall comply with Sections R310.2.1 through R310.2.3, and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool, special knowledge or force greater than that required for the normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.

R310.5 Dwelling additions.

Where dwelling additions contain sleeping rooms, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be provided in each new sleeping room. Where dwelling additions have basements, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be provided in the new basement.

Exceptions:

  • An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required in a new basement that contains a sleeping room with an emergency escape and rescue opening.
  • An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required in a new basement where there is an emergency escape and rescue opening in an existing basement that is accessed from the new basement.

R310.6 Alterations or repairs of existing basements.

An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required where existing basements undergo alterations or repairs.

Exception: New sleeping rooms created in an existing basement shall be provided with emergency escape and rescue openings in accordance with Section R310.1.

SECTION R310 – EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS

R310.1 Emergency Escape And Rescue Opening Required.

Basements, habitable attics and every sleeping room shall have not less than one operable emergency escape and rescue opening. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be required in each sleeping room. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way

Exception: Storm shelters and basements used only to house mechanical equipment not exceeding a total floor area of 200 square feet (18.58 m2).

Where the dwelling or townhouse is equipped with an automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section P2904, sleeping rooms in basements shall not be required to have emergency escape and rescue openings provided that the basement has one of the following:

  • 2.1. One means of egress complying with Section R311 and one emergency egress escape and rescue opening.
  • 2.2. Two means of egress complying with Section R311.

R310.1.1 Operational Constraints And Opening Control Devices.

Emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys, tools or special knowledge. Window opening control devices on windows serving as a required emergency escape and rescue opening shall comply with ASTM F2090.

R310.2 Emergency Escape And Rescue Openings.

Emergency escape and rescue openings shall have minimum dimensions as specified in this section.

R310.2.1 Minimum Opening Area.

Emergency and escape rescue openings shall have a net clear opening of not less than 5.7 square feet (0.530 m2). 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. The net clear height of the opening shall be not less than 24 inches (610 mm) and the net clear width shall be not less than 20 inches (508 mm).

Exception: Grade floor openings or below-grade openings shall have a net clear opening area of not less than 5 square feet (0.465 m2).

R310.2.2 Window Sill Height.

Where a window is provided as the emergency escape and rescue opening, it shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118 mm) above the floor; where the sill height is below grade, it shall be provided with a window well in accordance with Section R310.2.3.

R310.2.3 Window Wells.

The horizontal area of the window well shall be not less than 9 square feet (0.9 m2), with a horizontal projection and width of not less than 36 inches (914 mm). The area of the window well shall allow the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened.

Exception: The ladder or steps required by Section R310.2.3.1 shall be permitted to encroach not more than 6 inches (152 mm) into the required dimensions of the window well.

R310.2.3.1 Ladder and steps.

Window wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the window in the fully open position. Ladders or steps required by this section shall not be required to comply with Section R311.7. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of not less than 12 inches (305 mm), shall project not less than 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches (457 mm) on center vertically for the full height of the window well.

R310.2.3.2Drainage.

Window wells shall be designed for proper drainage by connecting to the building’s foundation drainage system required by Section R405.1 or by an approved alternative method.

Exception: A drainage system for window wells is not required where the foundation is on well-drained soil or sand-gravel mixture soils in accordance with the United Soil Classification System, Group I Soils, as detailed in Table R405.1.

R310.2.4 Emergency Escape And Rescue Openings Under Decks And Porches.

Emergency escape and rescue openings installed under decks and porches shall be fully openable and provide a path not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height to a yard or court.

R310.2.5 Replacement Windows.

Replacement windows installed in buildings meeting the scope of this code shall be exempt from the maximum sill height requirements of Section R310.2.2 and the requirements of Section R310.2.1, provided that the replacement window meets the following conditions:.

The replacement window is the manufacturer’s largest standard size window that will fit within the existing frame or existing rough opening. The replacement window is of the same operating style as the existing window or a style that provides for an equal or greater window opening area than the existing window.
The replacement window is not part of a change of occupancy.

Exception: Replacement windows installed in accordance with Section 113.5.1 shall not be required to comply with Section 310.2.1.

R310.3 Emergency Escape And Rescue Doors.

Where a door is provided as the required emergency escape and rescue opening, it shall be a side-hinged door or a slider. Where the opening is below the adjacent grade, it shall be provided with an area well.

R310.3.1 Minimum Door Opening Size.

The minimum net clear height opening for any door that serves as an emergency and escape rescue opening shall be in accordance with Section R310.2.1.

R310.3.2 Area wells.

Area wells shall have a width of not less than 36 inches (914 mm). The area well shall be sized to allow the emergency escape and rescue door to be fully opened.

R310.3.2.1 Ladder and steps.

Area wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the door in the fully open position. Ladders or steps required by this section shall not be required to comply with Section R311.7. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of not less than 12 inches (305 mm), shall project not less than 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches (457 mm) on center vertically for the full height of the exterior stairwell.

R310.3.2.2 Drainage.

Area wells shall be designed for proper drainage by connecting to the building’s foundation drainage system required by Section R405.1 or by an approved alternative method.

Exception: A drainage system for area wells is not required where the foundation is on well-drained soil or sand-gravel mixture soils in accordance with the United Soil Classification System, Group I Soils, as detailed in Table R405.1.

R310.4 Bars, Grilles, Covers And Screens.

Where bars, grilles, covers, screens or similar devices are placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, area wells, or window wells, the minimum net clear opening size shall comply with Sections R310.2.1 through R310.2.3, and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool, special knowledge or force greater than that required for the normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.

R310.5 Dwelling Additions.

Where dwelling additions contain sleeping rooms, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be provided in each new sleeping room. Where dwelling additions have basements, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be provided in the new basement.

Exceptions:.

An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required in a new basement that contains a sleeping room with an emergency escape and rescue opening.
An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required in a new basement where there is an emergency escape and rescue opening in an existing basement that is accessed from the new basement.

R310.6 Alterations Or Repairs Of Existing Basements.

An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required where existing basements undergo alterations or repairs.

Exception: New sleeping rooms created in an existing basement shall be provided with emergency escape and rescue openings in accordance with Section R310.1.

2015 INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTIAL CODES

SECTION R310 – EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS

R310.1 Emergency Escape And Rescue Opening Required.

Basements, habitable attics and every sleeping room shall have not less than one operable emergency escape and rescue opening. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be required in each sleeping room. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way.

Exception: Storm shelters and basements used only to house mechanical equipment not exceeding a total floor area of 200 square feet (18.58 m2).

R310.1.1 Operational Constraints And Opening Control Devices.

Emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys, tools or special knowledge. Window opening control devices complying with ASTM F 2090 shall be permitted for use on windows serving as a required emergency escape and rescue opening.

R310.2 Emergency Escape And Rescue Openings.

Emergency escape and rescue openings shall have minimum dimensions as specified in this section.

R310.2.1 Minimum Opening Area.

Emergency and escape rescue openings shall have a net clear opening of not less than 5.7 square feet (0.530 m2). 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. The net clear height opening shall be not less than 24 inches (610 mm) and the net clear width shall be not less than 20 inches (508 mm).

Exception: Grade floor or below grade openings shall have a net clear opening of not less than 5 square feet (0.465 m2).

R310.2.2 Window Sill Height.

Where a window is provided as the emergency escape and rescue opening, it shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118 mm) above the floor; where the sill height is below grade, it shall be provided with a window well in accordance with Section R310.2.3.

R310.2.3 Window Wells.

The horizontal area of the window well shall be not less than 9 square feet (0.9 m2), with a horizontal projection and width of not less than 36 inches (914 mm). The area of the window well shall allow the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened.

Exception: The ladder or steps required by Section R310.2.3.1 shall be permitted to encroach not more than 6 inches (152 mm) into the required dimensions of the window well.

R310.2.3.1 Ladder and steps.

Window wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the window in the fully open position. Ladders or steps required by this section shall not be required to comply with Sections R311.7 and R311.8. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of not less than 12 inches (305 mm), shall project not less than 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches (457 mm) on center vertically for the full height of the window well.

R310.2.3.2 Drainage.

Window wells shall be designed for proper drainage by connecting to the building’s foundation drainage system required by Section R405.1 or by an approved alternative method.

Exception: A drainage system for window wells is not required where the foundation is on well-drained soil or sand-gravel mixture soils in accordance with the United Soil Classification System, Group I Soils, as detailed in Table R405.1.
R310.2.4 Emergency Escape And Rescue Openings Under Decks And Porches.

Emergency escape and rescue openings shall be permitted to be installed under decks and porches provided that the location of the deck allows the emergency escape and rescue openings to be fully opened and provides a path not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height to a yard or court.

R310.2.5 Replacement Windows.

Replacement windows installed in buildings meeting the scope of this code shall be exempt from the maximum sill height requirements of Sections R310.1 and Sections R310.2.1 and R310.2.2, provided the replacement window meets the following conditions:

The replacement window is the manufacturer’s largest standard size window that will fit within the existing frame or existing rough opening. The replacement window is of the same operating style as the existing window or a style that provides for an equal or greater window opening area than the existing window.

The replacement window is not part of a change of occupancy.

R310.3 Emergency Escape And Rescue Doors.

Where a door is provided as the required emergency escape and rescue opening, it shall be permitted to be a side-hinged door or a slider. Where the opening is below the adjacent ground elevation, it shall be provided with a bulkhead enclosure.

R310.3.1 Minimum Door Opening Size.

The minimum net clear height opening for any door that serves as an emergency and escape rescue opening shall be in accordance with Section R310.2.1.

R310.3.2 Bulkhead Enclosures.

Bulkhead enclosures shall provide direct access from the basement. The bulkhead enclosure shall provide the minimum net clear opening equal to the door in the fully open position.

R310.3.2.1 Drainage.

Bulkhead enclosures shall be designed for proper drainage by connecting to the building’s foundation drainage system required by Section R405.1 or by an approved alternative method.

Exception: A drainage system for bulkhead enclosures is not required where the foundation is on well-drained soil or sand-gravel mixture soils in accordance with the United Soil Classification System, Group I Soils, as detailed in Table R405.1.

R310.4 Bars, Grilles, Covers And Screens.

Bars, grilles, covers, screens or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, bulkhead enclosures, or window wells that serve such openings, provided that the minimum net clear opening size complies with Sections R310.1.1 to R310.2.3, and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool, special knowledge or force greater than that required for the normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.

R310.5 Dwelling Additions.

Where dwelling additions occur that contain sleeping rooms, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be provided in each new sleeping room. Where dwelling additions occur that have basements, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be provided in the new basement.

Exceptions:

  • An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required in a new basement that contains a sleeping room with an emergency escape and rescue opening.
  • An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required in a new basement where there is an emergency escape and rescue opening in an existing basement that is accessible from the new basement.

R310.6 Alterations Or Repairs Of Existing Basements.

An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required where existing basements undergo alterations or repairs.

Exception: New sleeping rooms created in an existing basement shall be provided with emergency escape and rescue openings in accordance with Section R310.1.

2012 INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTIAL CODES

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.

Exception: Basements used only to house mechanical equipment and not exceeding a total floor area of 200 square feet (18.58 m2).

R310.1.1 Minimum Opening Area.

All emergency escape and rescue openings shall have a minimum net clear open ing of 5.7 square feet (0.530 m2).

Exception: Grade floor openings shall have a mini mum net clear opening of 5 square feet (0.465 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.

R310.2 Window Wells.

The minimum horizontal area of the window well shall be 9 square feet (0.9 m2), with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches (914 mm). The area of the window well shall allow the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened.

Exception: The ladder or steps required by Section R310.2.1 shall be permitted to encroach a maximum of 6 inches (152 mm) into the required dimensions of the window well.

R310.2.1 Ladder And Steps.

Window wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the window in the fully open position. Ladders or steps required by this section shall not be required to comply with Sections R311.7 and R311.8. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of at least 12 inches (305 mm), shall project at least 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches (457 mm) on center vertically for the full height of the window well.

R310.2.2 Drainage.

Window wells shall be designed for proper drainage by connecting to the building’s foundation drainage system required by Section R405.1 or by an approved alternative method.

Exception: A drainage system for window wells is not required when the foundation is on well-drained soil or sand-gravel mixture soils according to the United Soil Classification System, Group ISoils, as detailed in Table R405.1.

R310.3 Bulkhead Enclosures.

Bulkhead enclosures shall provide direct access to the basement. The bulkhead enclosure with the door panels in the fully open position shall provide the minimum net clear opening required by Section R310.1.1. Bulkhead enclosures shall also comply with Section R311.7.8.2,

R310.4 Bars, Grilles, Covers And Screens.

Bars, grilles, covers, screens or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, bulkhead enclosures, or window wells that serve such openings, provided the mini mum net clear opening size complies with Sections R310.1.1 to R310.1.3, and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool, special knowledge or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.

R310.5 Emergency Escape Windows Under Decks And Porches.

Emergency escape windows are allowed to be installed under decks and porches provided the location of the deck allows the emergency escape window to be fully opened and provides a path not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height to a yard or court.

2009 INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTIAL CODES

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) above the floor. 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.

Exception: Basements used only to house mechanical equipment and not exceeding total floor area of 200 square feet (18.58 m2).

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). Exception: Grade floor openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5 square feet (0.465 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.

R310.2 Window Wells.

The minimum horizontal area of the window well shall be 9 square feet (0.9 m2), with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches (914 mm). The area of the window well shall allow the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened.

Exception: The ladder or steps required by Section R310.2.1 shall be permitted to encroach a maximum of 6 inches (152 mm) into the required dimensions of the window well.

R310.2.1 Ladder And Steps.

Window wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the window in the fully open position. Ladders or steps required by this section shall not be required to comply with Sections R311.7 and R311.8. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of at least 12 inches (305 mm), shall project at least 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches (457 mm) on center vertically for the full height of the window well.

R310.3 Bulkhead Enclosures.

Bulkhead enclosures shall provide direct access to the basement. The bulkhead enclosure with the door panels in the fully open position shall provide the minimum net clear opening required by Section R310.1.1. Bulkhead enclosures shall also comply with Section R311.7.8.2.

R310.4 Bars, Grilles, Covers And Screens.

Bars, grilles, covers, screens or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, bulkhead enclosures, or window wells that serve such openings, provided the minimum net clear opening size complies with Sections R31 0.1.1 to R31 0.1.3, and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool, special knowledge or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.

R310.5 Emergency Escape Windows Under Decks And Porches.

Emergency escape windows are allowed to be installed under decks and porches provided the location of the deck allows the emergency escape window to be fully opened and provides a path not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height to a yard or court.

2006 INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTIAL CODES

SECTION R310 – EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS

R310.1 Emergency Escape And Rescue Required.

Basements and every sleeping room shall have at least one operable emergency escape and rescue opening. Such opening shall open directly into a public street, public alley, yard or court. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, emergency egress and rescue openings shall be required in each sleeping room, but shall not be required in adjoining areas of the basement. Where emergency escape and rescue openings are provided they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118 mm) above the floor. 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 R31 0.2. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way.

Exception: Basements used only to house mechanical equipment and not exceeding total floor area of 200 square feet (18.58 m2).

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). Exception: Grade floor openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5 square feet (0.465 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.

R310.2 Window Wells.

The minimum horizontal area of the window well shall be 9 square feet (0.9 m2), with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches (914 mm). The area of the window well shall allow the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened.

Exception: The ladder or steps required by Section R310.2.1 shall be permitted to encroach a maximum of 6 inches (152 mm) into the required dimensions of the window well.

R310.2.1 Ladder And Steps.

Window wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the window in the fully open position. Ladders or steps required by this section shall not be required to comply with Sections R311.5 and R311.6. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of at least 12 inches (305 mm), shall project at least 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches (457 mm) on center vertically for the full height of the window well.

R310.3 Bulkhead Enclosures.

Bulkhead enclosures shall provide direct access to the basement. The bulkhead enclosure with the door panels in the fully open position shall provide the minimum net clear opening required by Section R310.1.1. Bulkhead enclosures shall also comply with Section R311.5.8 .2.

R310.4 Bars, Grilles, Covers And Screens.

Bars, grilles, covers, screens or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, bulkhead enclosures, or window wells that serve such openings, provided the minimum net clear opening size complies with Sections R310.1.1 to R31 0.1.3, and such devices shall be releasable or removable Ifrom the inside without the use of a key, tool, special knowledge or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.

R310.5 Emergency Escape Windows Under Decks And Porches.

Emergency escape windows are allowed to be installed under decks and porches provided the location of the deck allows the emergency escape window to be fully opened and provides a path not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height to a yard or court.

2003 INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTIAL CODES

SECTION R310 – EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS

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 be required in adjoining areas of the basement. Where emergency escape and rescue openings are provided they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118 mm) above the floor. 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 310.3. 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.

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).

Exception: Grade floor openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5 square feet (0.465 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 or tools.

R310.2 Window Wells.

The minimum horizontal area of the window well shall be 9 square feet (0.84 m2), with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches (914 mm). The area of the window well shall allow the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened.

Exception: The ladder or steps required by Section R310.2.1 shall be permitted to encroach a maximum of 6 inches (152mm)into the required dimensions of the window well.

R310.2.1 Ladder And Steps.

Window wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the window in the fully open position. Ladders or steps required by this section shall not be required to comply with Sections R311.5 and R311.6. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of at least 12 inches (305 mm), shall project at least 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches (457 mm) on center vertically for the full height of the window well.

R310.3 Bulkhead Enclosures.

Bulkhead enclosures shall provide direct access to the basement. The bulkhead enclosure with the door panels in the fully open position shall provide the minimum net clear opening required by Section R310.1.1. Bulkhead enclosures shall also comply with Section R311.5.8.2.

R310.4 Bars, Grills, Covers And Screens.

Bars, grills, covers, screens or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, bulkhead enclosures, or window wells that serve such openings, provided the minimum net clear opening size complies with Sections R310.1.1 to R310.1.3, and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.

2000 INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTIAL CODES

SECTION R310 – EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS

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 window or exterior door opening for emergency escape and rescue. Where openings are provided as a means of escape and rescue they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118′ mm) above the floor. 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 window or door opening from the inside of Escape and rescue window openings with a finished sill height below the adjacent ground elevation shall be provided with a window well in accordance with Section R310.2.

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).

Exception: Grade floor openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5 square feet (0.465 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 or tools.

R310.2 Window Wells.

Window wells required for emergency escape and rescue shall have horizontal dimensions that allow the door or window of the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened. The horizontal dimensions of the window well shall provide a minimum net clear area of 9 square feet (0.84 m2) with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches (914 mm).

Exception: The ladder or steps required by Section R310.2.1 shall be permitted to encroach a maximum of 6 inches (152 m’m) into the required dimensions of the window well.

R310.2.1 Ladder And Steps.

Window wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) below the adjacent ground level shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the window in the fully open position. Ladders or steps required by this section shall not be required to comply with Sections R314 and R315. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of at least 12 inches (305 mm), shall project at least 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches (457 mm) on center vertically for the full height of the window well.

R310.3 Bulkhead Enclosures.

Bulkhead enclosures shall provide direct access to the basement. The bulkhead enclosure with the door panels in the fully open position shall provide the minimum net clear opening required by Section R310.1.1. Bulkhead enclosures shall also comply with Section R314.9.

R310.4 Bars, Grills, Covers And Screens.

Bars, grills, covers, screens or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, bulkhead enclosures, or window wells that serve such openings, provided the minimum net clear opening size complies with Sections R310.1.1 to R310.1.3, and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.

Find your state’s IRC code adoption

Download the State Local Codes Chart PDF to determine which International Residential Code your state follows. Depending on your State, your local county may have additional/different requirements. Please refer to your local government website for up-to-date information and to confirm the information on this page.

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