Bedroom secondary emergency escape and rescue—especially from basement bedrooms can be problematic. Bedrooms added in basements of older homes often have problems related to proper secondary escape and rescue.
In this picture we can see that someone knew a little bit about egress requirements. The height from the floor to the bottom of the window should not be more than 44. The permanent step installed would certainly bring the window closer to compliance but unfortunately there is a bigger problem.
How would you get out of it—-or into it, if you were a fire person!
If you saw my previous window escape and rescue post you would perhaps be able to guess that the window “size” does not comply because it is not a minimum of 24” high.
But that is NOT the answer I am looking for.
As a Seattle Home Inspector, I will point out the issue regarding the size—-but if a person could get their bodies out of the room through the window “reasonably” well, I would not come down on it as hard as I would if it was new construction, or room was being “SOLD” as a bedroom. The room in the picture above was being called a “bedroom,” and was listed as a bedroom, and yet I would defy anyone to get out of the window in an emergency. While it might be possible to undo the chain—which it can’t easily—the window would only lay flat, likely making matters worse.
We could discuss all day long what goes into defining a room as a bedroom. Appraisers apparently have no trouble calling this room a bedroom—-after all it has a closet—-therefore it must be a bedroom. For me I am more interested in a second means of egress than I am in whether the room has a closet or not—and interestingly enough, the building codes do not even require a closet in a bedroom.
So in my report, I would not refer to this room a bedroom—-even if that is contrary to the listing information. I don’t do this because I am trying to be contrary, but because I am only trying to convey the most accurate information about the property that I can. This is what the buyer is paying me to do.
In some instances I would include a list of what it might take to make the room a “proper” bedroom—in terms of safety. Of all the things that help define a bedroom a bedroom, proper egress from the room is perhaps the most important to me. Depending on the age of the house, my recommendations will either be a “safety upgrade” or that the room is “missing proper secondary escape and rescue provisions.” It is for other parties to wrestle over the issue that someone has “labeled” it a bedroom.
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