Property Q&A in 14610>Question Details

Scott, Home Owner in 14610

Many homes in the Park Ave area have finished attics but no fire escape for egress. When is a fire escape necessary per city/county/state code?

Asked by Scott, 14610 Fri Jan 6, 2012

Is it only when there are bedrooms in the attic? What about a bathroom? Livingroom?

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Scott the city typically looks at it as any living space although some say you are okay with some inspectors if there is no bedroom. I always stay on the safe side and keep these spaces as finished storage for rentals, unless it is to code. However If you are living there and own the property you can waive your c of o.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 6, 2012
For an accurate answer to your question do contact the local building's department.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 6, 2012
Scott: Most answers relating to real issues start with an "it depends". The city has an enviable safety fire safety record so while we may complain about what may appear to be inconsistencies in code enforcement the system works. Fire escapes may be "grandfathered" but to my knowledge no new ones will be installed. The use of the attic space will be a large determinent inwith the inspectors. Cooking facilitieswill be viewed most closely. I could go on here but will end this with the advice to get an inspection when you have the least bit of doubt. The city inspectors are not push overs but one can have a civil discussion of issues,options,etc. Also, note that the CO process and rules are different for various sizes and uses.
Rochester is a great place to invest in income producing it with caution.....engage an experienced Realtor.....have a good real estate lawyer and be as loyal to them as they will be to you and you will be more successful.
Bob Miglioratti
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 6, 2012
Scott, Not only does the 3rd floor finished area require 2 means of egress to pass CofO in the City of Rochester, but there are other potential issues as well. We see many properties in the city that have had these areas finished without the city's knowledge and it can cause problems. in some cases for rentals it may need to be secured, or written into a lease as finished storage. I have even had clients who have had to tear out their work in order to get the proper paperwork to market and rent as finished living space. If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to contact me. I can also put you in touch with my contact at the city to discuss more specifics.

Phil Kovach
mobile (585) 746-3692
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 6, 2012
First and foremost, I would strongly recommend talking with the City of Rochester.

When I had a house listed in Rochester a couple of years ago I was told that a third-floor finished area was required to have more than one way of exiting in case of fire, hence the fire escape. When you think about it, it really makes sense. If you were on the second floor and a fire prevented you from using the stairs, you could jump from a window and probably be ok; however, if you were on the third floor and couldn't use the stairs, a jump would be pretty dangerous. It's all about safety.

Diane Wurzburg
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 6, 2012
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