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New Finished Basement Requirement effective Oct. 1

Discussion in 'Homeowners Corner' started by Tech Head, Jul 22, 2004.

  1. Tech Head

    Tech Head Member

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    http://www.co.fairfax.va.us/news/2004/04197.htm

    "The plans for all finished basement projects in non-sprinklered homes submitted on or after Oct. 1, 2004, must identify an emergency escape window or door to the outside from the basement."

    Looks like in order to finish your basement after Oct. 1st, you will need to have a separate exit, either window or door. This is for all of Virginia, not just Fairfax Co.

    That's major! [:0]
  2. Zansu

    Zansu New Member

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    Makes me glad I paid up for the walkout!
  3. neilz

    neilz New Member

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    I believe this has been the standard for use of a basement bedroom, I didn't know this was required for family type rooms.



    Neil Z.
    Resident since 1999
  4. pamD

    pamD Member

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    My inspector told me that the new regs require *every* room in the basement has to have an emergency exit - window or door. That was previously required only for "bedrooms." I honestly don't know how that will be possible if I ever finish the basement, but I am thinking some nice "storage rooms" could come in handy...

    Pam D.
  5. rlab

    rlab Member

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    Any idea what an exit window would cost?
  6. neilz

    neilz New Member

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    Think digging down to create a window well, then cutting into any concrete and rebar that is part of the foundation. I seem to remember this being done in a Hometime episode, and they quoted $3,000 in Minnesota.



    Neil Z.
    Resident since 1999
  7. Kate

    Kate New Member

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    Wow, that's new.

    ************************
    Lived in Ashburn since 1992!
  8. hberg

    hberg give me some of your tots

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    I take this that if you have an areaway this does not apply?

  9. Twriter

    Twriter Get a Mac!

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    All you need to do is get your building permit by Oct 1 to avoid the
    new rule. I got mine last week. The process is fairly simple.
    I went to the County Offices in Leesburg and picked up an application.
    I filled out that night and my wife brought it in the next day. Cost is $65.00, and all you need is to make some estimates of how much of a project you intend to do, and to make a sketch of your intentions.

    Because I am also doing my own electric, I had to file a separate application for that (and pay another $65.00) and estimate the number of lights, receptacles, total amps, and circuits needed. Plus I had to sign a form indicating that I'm responsible for any electrical problems.

    I'm having a contractor do my heating/AC vents and I don't need any plumbing because we had the builder finish a bathroom in the basement for us. Typical basement projects involve framing, electrical, venting, and plumbing work so you have to either do them yourself or get contractors for them.

    --- John B.
  10. rlab

    rlab Member

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    Hey John B.

    How did you verify that all you need is the permit?

    Is there a time limit as to how long you have to finish the basement once you have the permits? - Do the permits have expiration dates?

    How about time limits for inspections?

    Looks like I will be heading to Leesburg :)

    Thanks for the info.

    Jim
  11. rlab

    rlab Member

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    Well I picked up my building permit today. However, the lady at the permit office said that "If your house was built before Oct 1, 2004 (This Friday) then you are grandfathered in and do not need to build an escape window."

    I haven't found any documentation stating that and she didn't have anything on hand to show that.

    Although the link http://www.co.fairfax.va.us/news/2004/04197.htm states that "The plans for all finished basement projects in non-sprinklered homes submitted on or after Oct. 1, 2004, must identify an emergency escape window or door to the outside from the basement. This new requirement will save lives during fire emergencies when the main means of exit from a basement cannot be used."

    So I got the permit anyway just to be sure.
  12. Tech Head

    Tech Head Member

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    From the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code,

    "R310.1. Emergency escape and rescue openings
    required. Basements with habitable space and each
    sleeping room shall have at least one openable
    emergency escape and rescue opening. 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, except that tilt-out
    or removable sash designed windows shall be
    permitted to be used. Emergency escape and rescue
    openings with a finished height below the adjacent
    ground elevation shall be provided with a window
    well in accordance with Section R310.2.

    Exception: Dwelling units equipped throughout
    with an approved automatic sprinkler system
    installed in accordance with NFPA 13, 13R or
    13D."

    I couldn't find anything about grandfathering homes completed prior to October 1. [?]
  13. rlab

    rlab Member

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    Tech Head, Is this the new requirement for Oct 1st?

    So since I filed today, I do not need an escape window, correct?

    I was looking at the Fairfax site and it seems to read that an escape window is needed, regardless?

    I also wonder which would be cheaper/easier - Installing an escape window or a sprinkler system?
  14. neilz

    neilz New Member

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    I would think the escape window, as retrofitting for sprinkler would involve doing the whole house!!



    Neil Z.
    Resident since 1999

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