Basement egress

loreleiberksApril 22, 2008

I have an old house on a steep slope on Long island, New York with a basement level walk out garage. Another garage sits directly on top of the basement garage -- yes, a double decker!

As of now, we exit through this basement garage when we want access from the basement to the rear yard. We did find a cemented in doorway after removing some utility shelving along a length of the rear wall, but opening up this doorway would now require removing the existing deck and a beautiful 5-6 foot stone supporting wall.

Does exiting through a garage door meet basement egress code, or do we face demolishing a beautiful wall and deck?

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Local codes do vary. Most likely a configuration like yours could not be constructed today. To begin, carbon monoxide settles so the garage would need to be LOWER than the basement, not at the same level. But, due to the age of your home, codes from the time of construction are most likely grandfathered until MAJOR reconstruction is undertaken.

I have no idea as to whether opening the old doorway would qualify as an escape route. An egress window, even through a window well, would be acceptable so if you could enlarge a window, removing your deck would not longer be an issue. You would need to check local codes for a size requirement. This is especially important if sleeping arrangements are part of your basement usage.

Hope this is of some help.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 6:00PM
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