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drewhart 01-16-2010 12:15 PM

third floor efficiency
i am considering coverting the large attic space of a dounle house i have to a one bedroom efficiency. my plan is to get a third electric meter on the house, and make everything run electrically. electric base borad heat, water heater etc. i am having trouble finding information on what constitures a legal fire escape. i am wondering if a ladder from a window to the second floor's porch would suffice. does anyone know? i am in cleveland, ohio. also if anyone has any advice/ideas/concerns about doing this, please share them with me.


Scuba_Dave 01-16-2010 12:30 PM

I'm not sure a ladder would work, how would a small child get down ?
Your best bet is to contact your local building Dept & see what they want

drewhart 01-16-2010 12:39 PM

not a ladder, i meant a fixed staircase, either iron or wood. i was just wondering if getting to them to second floor is enough. (since you dont need a second escape route on second floors.) but yeah, i need to contact the building department. i am still trying to figure out if its feasible.

Scuba_Dave 01-16-2010 01:06 PM

As long as they can then go from the 2nd floor porch down to the ground WITHOUT re-entering the building you would probably be OK

A staircase w/code height railing/handrails would be required

Gary in WA 01-16-2010 01:48 PM

As mentioned, 36" wide stairway and an egress sized window for a bedroom. Here are some other thoughts:

Be safe, Gary

drewhart 01-16-2010 02:32 PM

thanks GBR. thats a good article. i will be renting it as a one bedroom efficiency. my thoughts are that since i already own the house and pay tax/water etc. the only expense to do this is the cost of the material/labor. at 300/mo. (would be easy around here) i would get 3600/year. at a normal .10 cap rate this would justify investing 36,000 in the project. which i could do for a fraction of that (i do all the labor) maybe even as much as a quarter of that, which would yield a 40% return on money invested then.

drewhart 01-16-2010 02:37 PM

what size is a minimum egress sized window?

drewhart 01-16-2010 02:41 PM

does the egress window have to be on the other side of the room as the staircase? i have a window in the back, but there is a porch roof right under it. the windows in the front are above the roofless front porch, but they are right at the top of staircase.

concretemasonry 01-16-2010 02:49 PM

You just need to contact the local building official to find out what they require locally. - Especially since this is a rental, you could have other local requirements in addition to the usual fire and CO monitors, but your insurance company could also have other requirements. If you make modifications, they can just drop you since there is no requirement that they have to insure a modified use structure.


drewhart 01-16-2010 02:54 PM

good point, i didnt think to contact the insurace co. yet

user1007 01-16-2010 04:09 PM

Just finished an antique house renovation with an attic renovation space to be rented out. It turned out to be less expensive and less ugly to just central alarm and put emergency sprinklers in the space. Total code compliance. There was no need for egress on the outside of the building.

drewhart 01-16-2010 06:51 PM

did you have to install sprinklers on every level of the house, or just the third?

user1007 01-16-2010 08:30 PM


Originally Posted by drewhart (Post 384152)
did you have to install sprinklers on every level of the house, or just the third?

I was redoing the entire place, so added sprinklers to all four floors. I think sprinklers and a central alarm in the attic was all that was required to keep me having to clunk something tacky for egress to the outside.

Where are you? Your building codes may be different.

Is your structure gutted so you could add sprinklers? Like mentioned it was cheaper!

drewhart 01-16-2010 10:13 PM

im in cleveland, ohio. im gonna get with the building department to see what i need to do. but no, the house nice, all rented out. the attic is gutted, but it seems like the sprinklers would have to be on everylevel to be effective. were you pricing an iron stair case or wood?

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