Egress is one of those provisions that truly fits the “health and safety” edict of the residential building code, requiring that a house provide multiple and ample-sized access to the outdoors from bedrooms and common rooms in case of an emergency, namely a fire.
That’s simple enough at grade, but what about for a basement—especially one that barely peeks at the outside? In those cases, you’ve got to provide a well to each code-compliant window that is large enough to enable safe egress from (or entry to) the basement rooms that require it.
Since basements are fairly common, so are the solutions. In fact, there’s a whole industry of ready-made window well kits designed to meet code and reduce labor costs.
Still, it’s important to know the provisions in the IRC and design the home and specifically the basement to accommodate required wells and provide the proper level of safety to your home buyers.