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Brian, Architect
Category: Home Improvement
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Experience:  Licensed Architect- 17 years, L.E.E.D. AP
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Is there anything in the IBC or the IRC that says I cannot

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Is there anything in the IBC or the IRC that says I cannot build a ladder to the basement in the house I am currently building, or am I required to build stairs? I am operating under the 2009 IRC. The basement is strictly for mechanical and storage, there will be no living space.

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There is nothing in the code that says you cannot use a ladder. Stairs are preferred for carrying storage items and to make it easier to maintain the mechanical equipment, especially if you have to replace something. But the code never mentions that a stair has to be used to access a basement. You do need two remote, operable, windows at least 12"x 32" for light and firemen access. Verify this with your local building inspector since he has the last say with what you can and cannot do.
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