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What qualifies as a sleeping room?

What qualifies as a sleeping room?

International Residential Code

SUCCINCT REQUIREMENTS

  1. Minimum 70 square feet, with 7-feet headroom
  2. Emergency egress
  3. Natural or artificial light
  4. Natural or artificial ventilation
  5. Heated

A more detailed answer must look at the Code requirements and of habitable and sleeping spaces. Code referenced is based on the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC). While inspections are not Code based, current safety considerations are.

HABITABLE SPACE

First, it must meet the definition of Habitable Space: A space in a building for living, sleeping, eating, or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces and similar areas are not considered habitable spaces. To be a Habitable Space, it must be at least 70 square feet (except for kitchens).IRC R304.1, and not smaller than 7-feet in any horizontal direction. IRC R304.4 This means that the room can’t be smaller than 7-feet x 10-feet. At least 50% of the ceiling must be at least 7-feet tall. IRC R305.1 So, those attic spaces converted to rooms may be habitable, if they are big enough and 50% of the ceiling is tall enough.

Second, it must have other features required of any Habitable Space.

  • Glazing with an aggregate glazing area of not less than 8 percent of the floor area of such rooms is required. Windows, whether they open or not, skylights, doors, door sidelight, or a combination thereof, can provide this total area. Artificial light may be used in place of glazing. IRC R303.1
  • Natural ventilation shall be through windows, skylights, doors, louvers or other approved openings. Glazed areas need not be openable where the opening is not required and a whole- house mechanical ventilation is installed. IRC R303.1
  • Heating facilities capable of maintaining a room temperature of not less than 68°F (20°C) at a point 3 feet (914 mm) above the floor and 2 feet (610 mm) from exterior walls in habitable rooms must be provided where the winter design temperature is below 60°F (16°C). The installation of one or more portable space heaters is not sufficient. IRC R303.9
  • At least one wall switch-controlled lighting outlet shall be installed in every habitable room and bathroom. IRC E3903.2 and NEC 210.70(A)(1)

  • Receptacles shall be installed so that no point measured horizontally along the floor line of any wall space is more than 6 feet (1829 mm), from a receptacle outlet. IRC E3901.2.1 and NEC 210.52(A)(1). In addition, any space that is 2 feet (610 mm) or more in width, including space measured around corners, and that is unbroken along the floor line by doorways and similar openings, fireplaces, and fixed cabinets, must have a receptacle. IRC E3901.2.1 and NEC 210.52(A)(2)

SLEEPING ROOMS

If all aspects of being habitable space are met, then there are specific requirement for a Sleeping Room.

There must be a second, or emergency, egress (either Window or Door meeting the following requirements). IRC 310.1

To qualify as an emergency escape and rescue opening, windows must;

  • open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way, IRC 310.1
  • be operational from the inside of the room without use of key, tools, or special knowledge. IRC R310.1
  • have an openable window area not less than 5.7 sq ft (820 sq in), with an opening height not less than 24 inches, or opening width not less than 20 inches, be operational from the inside of the room without use of key, tools, or special knowledge. IRC R310.2.1 and
  • have a sill height of no more than 44 inches above floor, IRC 310.2.2

To qualify as an emergency escape and rescue opening, doors must;

  • open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way, IRC R310.1 and
  • be operational from the inside of the room without use of key, tools, or special knowledge. IRC R310.2.1

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alert systems must be installed.

  • Smoke alarms shall be installed in each sleeping room. IRC R314.3.1
  • Smoke alarms shall be installed in the immediate vicinity outside of the sleeping room. IRC R314.3.2
  • Carbon Monoxide alarms shall be installed in the immediate vicinity outside of the sleeping room. IRC R315.3

RESTRICTIONS ON A SLEEPING ROOM.

  • Openings from a private garage directly into a room used for sleeping purposes shall not be permitted. IRC R302.5

CLOSETS

Closets are not required to designate any habitable space a sleeping room, although the lack thereof may be considered by an Appraiser in evaluating conformity with like properties in the area. That is, if other dwellings have closets, the lack of a closet in the appraised dwelling might affect the evaluation. If, however, none of the dwellings have closets in designated sleeping rooms, it typically has no affect.

Clay M. Collins
Grace Home Inspection Services, LLC
www.GraceHIS.com
T.R.E.C. License #7147
ICC Certified Combination Residential Inspector # 8061161
ICC Certified Commercial Inspector # 8061161
ICC Certified Energy Conservation Inspector/Plans Examiner #8061161 Certified Level 1 Unbonded Post-Tensioning Inspector #912090009 Certified Level 1 ANSI/ASNT CP105, CP-189 Thermographer ITC #181642 APSP Certified Pool Operator/Inspector #CPO-464063
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