DCA Adopts NJAA Supported Rule Change Concerning Retrofits of Windowless Basements

On Tuesday, February 16, 2016, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) adopted an NJAA supported rule change to address situations where many apartment buildings were considered to have windowless basements despite having full size doors that open to an outside stairwell leading to grade level.

Under the new DCA rule, a basement that is 3,000 square feet or less in an apartment building would not be subject to the enhanced fire safety provisions for windowless basements if it has a 32 inch wide door that provides direct grade access to grade level via a 36 inch outdoor ramp, if the following conditions are met: 1) the ramp must be open to the sky and cannot have any overhead obstructions, 2) there must be a 28 by 24 inch breakable glass window in the door, and 3) there must be an additional window that is at least 2 square feet and no more than 24 inches below grade level in the room with the door as well as in every additional room that does not also have a door. This rule change creates an additional pathway for compliance. As such, any basement that is already in compliance with the regulation remains in compliance, and no additional action is needed. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Nicholas Kikis at 723-992-0605 or at nicholas@njaa.com.