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Basement Windows - How to meet Egress Requirements

Karen Steinmann - Monday, October 26, 2015

Do you have a teenager who is itching to move to a bedroom in the basement?  Are you concerned that the window is not large enough to be a bedroom window if someone needed to escape through it? 

As per section of the Alberta Building Code the following are the legal requirements for a bedroom window:

1.    Except where the suite is sprinklered, each bedroom or combination bedroom shall have at least one outside window or exterior door openable from the inside without the use of keys, tools or special knowledge and without the removal of sashes or hardware.  (As per our extremely knowledgable Job Coordinator, Megan Whiteside, this means that you cannot put awning windows into a bedroom window because they require special knowledge to unlatch the hardware to allow for escape.)

2.    The window referred to in Sentence (1) shall
        (a) provide an unobstructed opening of not less than 0.35 square metres (or 3.77 square feet) in area with no dimension less than 380 mm (15 inches) and
        (b) maintain the required opening during an emergency without the need for additional support.

3.    If the window referred to in Sentence (1) is provided with security bars, the security bars shall be openable from the inside without the use of any tools or special knowledge. 

It is recommended that the sills of the windows intended for use as emergency exits be not higher than 1.5 m above the floor.

If your windows do not meet the size requirements above for a bedroom window, call S.I.S.  We can cut the concrete, (called concrete coring) enlarge the opening and then install a window that meets the above requirements.  The window can be made to meet all fire code Egress requirements. Call us at 403-640-1334 for more details and information or e-mail us at contact@sisltd.ca.  We would be happy to give you an estimate.  

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