Basement Egress Windows – Safety, Window Gardening and Light too.
A basement that will be used as a living or sleeping quarters must have a method of egress (a way to get out of a place or the act of leaving a place) in the event of an emergency. This regulation was established via the ICC, the International Code Council, and is documented in the ICC’s International Residential Codes (IRC) for buildings. The United States and other countries have adopted the “IRC” as the “minimum” requirements for residential buildings. Section R310 of the Residential Code is the section that covers emergency escape and rescue openings. It states the following:
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.
The requirements for emergency egress is met if the basement contains a bulkhead door or a walk-out door. However, as mentioned, if the basement has a bedroom, then that bedroom must have its own form of egress, such as a window. If the window is deeper than 44 inches, then the window well must have some type of ladder to allow a person to climb up and out in the event of an emergency.
Today, there are many forms of window wells available. These window wells range from plain to decorative and come in a variety of materials, colors and textures. You can even have your basement window well double as a garden.