Emergency exit from basement

I understand "code" now on basement is to have a secondary (besides stairs) egress from basement if you want to put living quarters in basement. I have seen products to make basement windows large enough to make them emergency exits, but they are a big project, and involve cutting the basement walls. They are expensive as well.
How about this instead:
Take a built-in ladder, meant to be installed in an attic, and install it into the ceiling of basement/floor of first floor. Obviously it would leave a big folded up ladder on the floor on the first floor, but you could hide it with a built-in bookshelf, maybe a built-in bench. Maybe you could design it into the floor of a broom closet. Or maybe you could install it in such a manner (drop it down) that it could just intall it with a flat trap door over it.
It seems a clever manufacturer could design a ladder that sits flat from above, and has all the ladder hanging below. (as opposed to the current attic design, which is flat from below, and all the ladder parts sit up high). It would make it a lot easier to build to code in a basement.
Thoughts
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com said...

Why not just put a set of stairs in the corner of the basement with a flip-up door that comes through the floor in an appropriate spot on the main floor?
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On 20 Jan 2004 07:09:07 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Rotation Slim) wrote:

<snip>
A rope ladder could be concealed between the basement ceiling and the flooring above with a trap door providing access to the ground floor.
This would provide the emergency exit required whilst causing minimal visual impact and inconvenience.
sPoNiX
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umm I think the idea is to be able to exit the building to the outside, eg.. house above is on fire, your trapped in basement with your solution!
Punch
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First you should be contacting the building inspector. Second your going to find, I think that they are going to require an outside exit from the basement. Not through the house. A buddy of mine had to put an exterior stair well in and a small patio with doors from all but 1 bedroom going to the outside. He hated the expense in the beginning but got to like it after a while.
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Rotation Slim wrote:

I don't have a code-book nearby, but I believe that the second means of egress has to be separated from the first by a fire assembly[1], which you're unlikely to have in a single-family dwelling, which means that you'd probably have to build a complete landing/lobby for your stairwell, with it's own outside exit.
[1] Not only can the two means of egress to pass through the same spaces/rooms, the spaces that they DO pass through have to have a (I forget, 2 hour?) rated walls, doors, floors and ceilings between them. With all the penetrations for wires, pipes etc, sealed. All of which is a PITA.
Also, it's a bad idea to put your trapdoor someplace where it's likely to get covered or blocked, so closets are right out.
In any case, the second exit helps you meet your lighting and ventilation minimums, and if you make it big enough it will also help get construction materials and furniture in and out.
Now, if you're too close to the property line to put in a bulkhead or window well, THEN it might make sense to put your egress within the building envelope. In which case I'd go with a masonry tower inside one wall, with a spiral stair in it. That would meet the requirements, be architecturaly interesting, and give you someplace bullet resistant to hide when they come to get you.
--Goedjn
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Rotation Slim) wrote in message

The intent of the code is to provide an emergency escape from a sleeping room to outside the house.
Tom Baker
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Rotation Slim) wrote in message

Hmmm, a trapdoor into the basement under a bookshelf ... that opens automatically when you tilt the big leatherbound Edgar Allen Poe volume! Your place would be a hit at Hallowe'en!
I'm pretty sure that the basement egress, as required by code, needs to go straight outdoors. A corridor or vestibule may be ok but I believe I've read that access into a garage is specifically not suitable. And I seem to recall that doors mounted horizontally, like a lot of backyard basement access, don't count either.
Keep in mind that part of the intent is to allow *ingress* by firefighters with equipment (like air tanks). This is why the minimum sizes are rather larger than what a person can squeeze through.
Yes, retrofitting code-compliant sleeping quarters into a basement is darned hard in many situations.
Chip C Toronto
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Besides, neither pull-down stairs, nor rope ladders qualify as "egress."
As the saying goes: "You wanny play, you gotta pay."
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Geez.. all that mumbo jumbo is a very good argument for keeping the gubment out of my basement.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com said...

No shit. Based on their over-protection I would think that I should never even allow people to enter my unfinished basement because they will likely be trapped and killed.
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what if my 5 year old has a sleep over with your little timmy and they decide to sleep downstairs, in the event of a fire, would they be able to use or reach this secondary exit, assuming that the primary exit is blocked by fire? I assume you will have posted instructions on how to escape in an emergency and that also assumes that you will show how to use the secondary fire escape. nataS
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