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Building over a hatchway/bulkhead

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Jul 02, 2013, 12:36 PM
Building over a hatchway/bulkhead
I just bought a house and the only way to get into the backyard is to exit through the side door and open the fence. This isn't a big problem until we have a dog or kids. I wanted to take out the windows in the dining room and change it to a slider with stairs. Unfortunately, that is right above the hatchway leading to the basement. I saw on tv someone built right over these stairs, but I don't want to permenently lose access. Can anyone tell me if this is possible? Thanks
Jul 02, 2013, 01:36 PM
you can do anything. but the building code officials can order it taken apart again or red tag your home. and building over the basement egress is going to get you exactly that, an order to remedy within X days.

if it is possible to build the basement egress stairs to the right, and build the slider egress stairs to the left, and maintain the minimum headroom for the basement, then there might be a way to pull that off.

but you can't bury the access, no sir.

sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Jul 02, 2013, 02:16 PM
So you think I should talk to town hall or a contractor?
Jul 02, 2013, 05:16 PM
since there's a lot of digging, wall stabilization, etc. on the basement, a contractor is a good place to start. real good start. two or three good reputable ones that pass the smell test, for competitive bids and several possible approaches. they can tell you in about two minutes if it's feasable, and might have to pull a measuring tape out before a ballpark price.

sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Jul 03, 2013, 10:23 AM
I would start with the town hall.

Basement egress isn't required if you aren't using it for bedroom living space. Many homes are built without exterior entrances to the basement. There are possible solutions that will allow access with the existing stairs but they wouldn't satisfy an emergency egress for a basement bedroom.

General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Jul 03, 2013, 11:05 AM
Thanks all