Decks/Egress ?


Here's a stumper for you;
Does a deck require a means of egress or can it be enclosed on three sides (enclosed on four sides counting the house wall except of course being able to access the deck from the door leading out of the house on to the deck)?
I have looked online and I own a copy of the IBC and IRC books and can not find a definitive answer anywhere. I have several decks I'm quoting for a multi-family property where the existing decks have stairs but for several reasons it doesn't make sense to replace the stairs when the deck is rebuilt. My thinking is for the residents that have patios on third and fourth floors their only means of egress in case of an emergency is through the entry door into the apartment. So the residents on the first floor, in this case, do not need a means of egress that the others do not have. If you can tell me where to find this code or something I can use to prove my thought on this it would be helpful. Thank you in advance for your assistance and taking time to respond to my question.


  That IS a stumper. From my understanding, an outdoor structure shall not be made to hinder means of existing egress, but I'm not completely sure.  I would think a call to your local building inspector might answer the question, but if they can't even answer it, then they themselves may not have a problem with it. Keep in mind, that besides them, the home insurance company, and mortgage company may have a problem with it anyway, even in a situation where the homeowner wants to do a refi in the future. Large enough windows may also be part of the equation.

    Sorry that I couldn't be of more help than this. Best of luck with the situation! :)


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Michael Romano


I can answer any questions relating to decks, porches, exterior stairs & railings, walkways, access ramps, pergolas, deck roofs, screen rooms, etc... These may include design ideas, footing to framing design & construction methods, various species of woods vs. composites & pvc/vinyl materials for decking, skirting, or railing applications. I also have expertise in various rain-free systems for under-deck storage & living spaces.


I have designed and built decks and many other types of outdoor structures for over 25 years for my own home improvement company. We also perform many other types of home improvements, including window & door installation, molding & trimwork, siding, basement finishing, siding, etc. Our main love however, is decks!

NADRA - The North American Deck and Railing Association. Several Small Business & Home Improvement Contractor Alliances & Associations.

I have written several articles over the years for,, and many other deck & construction related websites.

High School graduate. 2 years of Mechanical Drawing & Architecture classes. Vocational School graduate. 2 years of Construction Technology & Carpentry classes. Many years of reading, researching, and application in the real world.

Awards and Honors
I am certified by several decking manufacturers for expert application & installation of their products.

Past/Present Clients
Mainly local residential clients, and occasional commercial clients, including restaurants, nightclubs, office buildings, etc.

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