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Old 10-17-2012, 09:05 AM   #1
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Help with my Egress Question


So I am starting a remodel on my basement and in talking with the building inspector he says that if I want to get a permit and have it inspected I need to install an egress window in the bedroom of the basement.

Attached is a picture of what I have down there now. the window is 29" wide. the inside to inside face of jambs is 32. There is what appears to be a steel header, supported by two steel jambs that are in turn supported by the steel sill.

Here are my questions.

Is anyone familiar with this type of framing?

Is it a structural steel member or some type of steel wood wrap?

If I only make the window taller, can I use the header that is there?

If I use the header, can I install wood jambs (Trimmers) or do I need another steel jamb fabricated?

Thanks in advance for all your help.
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Help with my Egress Question-2012-10-16-18.17.59.jpg   Help with my Egress Question-2012-10-16-18.18.29.jpg  

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Old 10-17-2012, 09:14 AM   #2
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I should also mention that this is a one story brick ranch.

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Old 10-17-2012, 09:27 AM   #3
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Looks to me like someone just installed a window in a crawl space access door frame.
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:43 AM   #4
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brock,

you will need to confirm this with your building official to determine if it meets you building code. the following is from the 2009 International Residential Code, which is the basis for most local and state building 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 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.

This link will provide you with access to the 2009 IRC code.

Post back with any questions, good luck!
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:46 AM   #5
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you either need a door or a window that meets the above requirements to do considered an Emergency Escape and Rescue Opening. You need two means of egress, your basement stairs is one so you need another.
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:51 AM   #6
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Gbrackins thanks for all of that information. I've discussed what is required by my local code with our Chief Building Inspector and it is consistent with what you've displayed. I can keep the width of the opening that is there and just cut the concrete vertically until the sill is at 44" A.F.F. (required) and be able to get my net opening area of 5.7 sq. st. What am I supposed to put in for a header to support the 2 floor/ceiling joists that are shown? Do I need a header for that? Do you think I have a steel lintel to support the brick face above it?
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brockmiera View Post
Gbrackins thanks for all of that information. I've discussed what is required by my local code with our Chief Building Inspector and it is consistent with what you've displayed. I can keep the width of the opening that is there and just cut the concrete vertically until the sill is at 44" A.F.F. (required) and be able to get my net opening area of 5.7 sq. st. What am I supposed to put in for a header to support the 2 floor/ceiling joists that are shown? Do I need a header for that? Do you think I have a steel lintel to support the brick face above it?


From the pic you posted it looks like you have a steel lintel in place for the window thats there.

Last edited by Canarywood1; 10-17-2012 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:31 PM   #8
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That is a basement window insert.

Its a galvanized steel frame with studs that is set into the form-work and the concrete is poured around it. When the form-work is stripped it is a self supporting opening which the window is then installed.

It is important to note that it isn't the steel that supports the load at the top. The frame essentially creates a formed opening, and works in conjunction with the concrete that remains above the window is its header.

With all of that being said. Its going to be tough to get that frame out because of the studs into the concrete. Instead, I suggest that you cut the steel at the bottom of the frame only and remove it with the concrete down to the required egress floor height. Remove the sashes and install a whole new retrofit window over what remains of the existing frame.
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:37 PM   #9
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Ah to heck with it. I'm just going to remove the concrete wall up to the sill plate and have an engineer certify a header assembly. I'm sure (4) 2x8's will be just fine.
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:58 PM   #10
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I should also point out that the window was installed too close to the top of the foundation when constructed, and I suspect that is the reason for the deflection at the top.

On second thought you may consider pulling the whole thing out and putting a new header back in when you cut the new window below. This will require some shoring temporarily to facilitate the work.
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:14 PM   #11
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brock,

more information would be needed than you've provided to calculate the header.

what is the width of the house? (in the direction of the floor joists)
what is the length of the floor joists that are over the window?
are they supported on the opposite end by a beam?
does the roof bear upon the wall above the window?
what is the pitch of the roof?
what is your ground snow load? 30 psf? 50 psf? 70 psf? or more? ask your building department if you don't know

Tables 3.22A-E of the Wood Frame Construction Manual would provide you with prescriptive header sizes and spans. Don't know if you building department has one or not.
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcarlilesiu View Post
I should also point out that the window was installed too close to the top of the foundation when constructed, and I suspect that is the reason for the deflection at the top.

On second thought you may consider pulling the whole thing out and putting a new header back in when you cut the new window below. This will require some shoring temporarily to facilitate the work.
I think you and I are on the same page. So let me know if this sounds right.

Build a temporary supporting wall 3' or so from the concrete wall that supports the joists in question.
Have my concrete cutter cut from the sill plate all the way down to my finished window sill height. ( no more than 44") per code.
Install header on jack studs flush with the exterior wall using PT lumber.
Install window.
Slide my temp wall over 3' to become my newly framed exterior wall.
DO you see anything I might be missing or overlooking?
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GBrackins View Post
brock,

more information would be needed than you've provided to calculate the header.

what is the width of the house? (in the direction of the floor joists)
what is the length of the floor joists that are over the window?
are they supported on the opposite end by a beam?
does the roof bear upon the wall above the window?
what is the pitch of the roof?
what is your ground snow load? 30 psf? 50 psf? 70 psf? or more? ask your building department if you don't know

Tables 3.22A-E of the Wood Frame Construction Manual would provide you with prescriptive header sizes and spans. Don't know if you building department has one or not.
So if I were to have all of these answers would the building inspector typically not need an engineer's sign off?
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GBrackins View Post
brock,

more information would be needed than you've provided to calculate the header.

what is the width of the house? (in the direction of the floor joists)
what is the length of the floor joists that are over the window?
are they supported on the opposite end by a beam?
does the roof bear upon the wall above the window?
what is the pitch of the roof?
what is your ground snow load? 30 psf? 50 psf? 70 psf? or more? ask your building department if you don't know

Tables 3.22A-E of the Wood Frame Construction Manual would provide you with prescriptive header sizes and spans. Don't know if you building department has one or not.
House is 26' Wide
Joist span is 13' supported on the end by a load bearing wall
Roof is truss construction that bears on the exterior wall
pitch of the roof is a 4:12
Roof snow load is 30psf
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:41 PM   #15
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brock -

Talk to the local building inspector since local areas have the right to make a national code more stringent, but they cannot make the local code more lenient.

I have seen some areas that require 42" or 44" to the bottom of the clear opening and not to the sill height. Get a certified egress window (clear openings AND clear square footage) with the sticker on it and install it at the height he requires and you may never see him again (if he remembers you asked what his requirements were.

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