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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to find, online, the regulations for a basement egress window. It seems that NJ has it's own edition of the IBC. Is it really the case that only "sleeping rooms" need an egress window/door? What's stopping someone from labeling rooms as living rooms, dens, exercise rooms etc? And not a bedroom.
 

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Labeling can just be a way of getting around standards that the "labeler" does not want to comply with.

States adopt a models code (IRC, etc.) and local municipalities have the right to adopt something better than the model code that is just a minimum standard. One thing that is universal is the specifications (opening minimum widths, height and areas for a window unit that meet the universal definition of an egress window because it satisfies all codes and can be marketed and certified as an egress window.

One thing that applies to installation is the height to the bottom of the OPENING is the height of that can vary slightly on a local basis (usually 42" or 44").
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
concretemasonry said:
Labeling can just be a way of getting around standards that the "labeler" does not want to comply with. States adopt a models code (IRC, etc.) and local municipalities have the right to adopt something better than the model code that is just a minimum standard. One thing that is universal is the specifications (opening minimum widths, height and areas for a window unit that meet the universal definition of an egress window because it satisfies all codes and can be marketed and certified as an egress window. One thing that applies to installation is the height to the bottom of the OPENING is the height of that can vary slightly on a local basis (usually 42" or 44").
Yeah, im aware of sizing and location height requirements.

The part I'm hung up on ( in all the basements I've done in PA this is not the case ) is the code seems to only require "egress" for sleeping rooms. So if you just finish a NJ basement (assuming local municipality doesn't amend for greater regs) you don't need any egress unless you want to label the room a "bedroom"?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dan_Watson said:
Anytime we have run into this we have been told if the room can be used as a bedroom, it needs to be considered one. As in not obviously a bathroom, kitchen or utility room you need to build it like a sleeping room.
Thanks! That's consistent with what I've always gotten on this side of the river.
 

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You are not forced to add an egress window.

If you wanted real estate credit for an additional bedroom for the house then yes you need one. If you tell them, "they might use it as a bedroom", then its going to be hard for the official to ignore it. Even rooms without doors. In the name of public safety they cant turn their head but even if he insists, it could be challenged at the board of appeals.

You are allowed to have a rec room, an office ect... and no one can tell you how you should finish a room.
 

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Again its different in different jurisdications. Some guys will say no because they dont believe you or dont want to see it become one after the fact. But I think Board of Appeals may feel different.

If you think its going to be a bedroom sell it if you can,for everyone involved. If not ask the code offical the correct way.
 

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It is a zoning issue as to what the room is classified as. The building code says if it is a bedroom then it needs a means of egress.

The zoning dept makes the call on what the room is classified as, does it have a door? Closet? either one may trigger bedroom classification. I did one where you could have closet, door, full bath but no other sink including a bar sink. Then they said it would turn into a bedroom.

Every town is different in regards to zoning. Many towns have building dept walk through's when ever the house is sold just to catch these things.
 

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What does zoning have to do with it? It not a 1 family 2 family thing or legal apartment dwelling its usable space.
I keep an nj administrative book up to date. I will look in it later.
 

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What does zoning have to do with it? It not a 1 family 2 family thing or legal apartment dwelling its usable space.
I keep an nj administrative book up to date. I will look in it later.
Every building permit has to go through the zoning dept first before it even gets to the building dept. Many towns have weird rules on where bedrooms can be located, how many kitchens, number of bedrooms per house sq footage, which way the garage door faces, etc. There are so many zoning rules in some towns it's crazy.

I know of one town where no bedroom can be located on the 3rd floor if the 1st floor is habitable living area having a bedroom. They define what is a habitable living area having a bedroom. The next town over is no problem. Part of 1 town you can't have a garage door facing the street.
 

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I know towns have loads of little quirky rules. Zoning is about the footprint or change of occupancy. They are rules for what gets credit for a 3rd story additional the structure is Type VA or VB. They created another mess by Wind loads & building height when they asked people to lift the houses down the shore.
 

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I know towns have loads of little quirky rules. Zoning is about the footprint or change of occupancy. They are rules for what gets credit for a 3rd story additional the structure is Type VA or VB. They created another mess by Wind loads & building height when they asked people to lift the houses down the shore.
And conformity by not allowing change of use, I think the term is zoning review. Some towns its free some its $30. If you look on the permit after its approved there is a check box that should be initialed after zoning review.

Never thought about raised houses down there, that could cause some problems
 

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Here we have many raised houses or multi-level splits.

When it comes to selling, it takes an egress window to count as a bedroom(livable space) to include in the livable space for appraisals and does affect how much money a person can borrow on a purchase. That difference can rule out many purchases that are on the "edge", valuation-wise. Here, an egress window is usually a selling point.

Closet or no closet, it is a bedroom here since some people go the European route and use furniture (finished wardrobe).
 

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Every Cape house in NJ has bedrooms in attic that dont meet requirements for stairs, windows or hieght. None require Zoning approval to renovate. By rule you dont get the real estate credit but we all know what its used for.
 

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Every Cape house in NJ has bedrooms in attic that dont meet requirements for stairs, windows or hieght. None require Zoning approval to renovate. By rule you dont get the real estate credit but we all know what its used for.
Right, they are grandfathered in. But now if you convert an attic to a bedroom in a cape you have to meet all of those restrictions.

About 10-15 years ago for 1 or 2 years if you did any permitted work in that attic you had to make sure the entire attic met current codes including the stairs. Everybody went nuts and the rules were changed quickly. Thats when they came up with the Rehab Subcode.
 

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What did they say Kambrooks?

I keep an adminstrative code book for the State. The book modifies the IRC. In this particular section 310 the code reads: Basements, attics with habitable spaces and every sleeping rooms shall have emergency escape...blah blah blah.

In NJ they delete "Basements, attics with habital spaces and" So the code is read starting with every sleeping room. They made a point of doing this. If you tell me they modified this locally Im going to throw this subscription out. There is no definition of sleeping room because it can happen anywhere.
 
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