Q: We are having a cottage home built. We’re concerned that there is no exit door from the basement, and the builder is not being clear about whether he will provide one.

This is a tri-level house and I will be uncomfortable having guests sleep in the guest bedroom downstairs for fire safety reasons. Is there a requirement for an exit in a basement with a bedroom?

A: I’m with you — I’d be uncomfortable having someone sleep in a basement without some sort of fire escape, either through a window or a door.

Building codes vary from municipality to municipality. But in many places, if you have a basement that is used as a bedroom, you may have to provide a fire exit, either a window or a door.

Please check with your local building department for their requirements. If you can’t read the blueprints, ask an architect or another contractor to go over them with you.