Updated Information on Egress Basement Window Size
Are your basement windows up to the current fire codes? The NBCC (National Building Code of Canada) mandates that at least one window in every basement must be an egress style window that fits the requirements for basement window size and other such standards.
Most casement windows meet the standard window sizes for egress windows. However, if your existing basement windows do not meet these guidelines, you are legally required to get them up to code. The following article will discuss the process of converting your current windows to egress windows as well as the NBCC guidelines.
Basement Window Size for Egress Windows
Following are the most recent guidelines set in place by the NBCC for the egress basement window size:
- An opening of 22 inches (0.56 m) or more must be present between the window unit and window well.
- There must be an opening with a dimension of at least 15 inches (38.1 cm) in basement egress windows.
- The window well for an egress basement window must be more than 44 inches (1.12 m) from the floor.
Other Guidelines for Egress Basement Window Codes:
- There must be nothing blocking the egress basement window.
- Residents must be able to open the basement egress window without the need for additional tools or complicated instructions.
- In addition, any security bars must be able to be removed with ease without the use of tools or specialized instructions.
- The egress window must be equipped with either a permanent step or ladder to provide easy access in case of an emergency.
- There shall be no glass window panels blocking the means of escape in the event of an emergency.
Ways to Convert Standard Basement Windows to Egress Windows
Should your existing basement windows not meet the above criteria, you are required to convert them to egress windows. Additional construction may be required. Before you begin construction, you need to check with your town government to inquire if a permit is needed. Failure to do so may result in fines.
Moreover, you should take note that most windows companies do not perform this type of conversion. If this is the case, you will need to hire a professional contractor to do the job properly. Make sure you coincide the construction and window installing at the same time to avoid any issues or additional costs.
Following are the different methods for converting your basement windows to the egress basement window size:
Expand Existing Basement Wall
As this process involves total or partial reconstruction of the structure of the basement wall, it can be quite costly. This method will require a permit before construction can commence.
Most homeowners prefer this method, as it is less invasive when it comes to meeting the egress window size. The existing window must be enlarged going down, which will not wreak havoc with the integrity of the window unit. Depending on the building codes in your town, a permit may be required before work can proceed. As there is less labor and time involved in this method, it is the least costly.
Convert Your Current Basement Window to a Larger Size
Ask your contractor if this option is feasible for you. This does require cutting into the concrete walls, so you will need to hire an outside contractor as well as acquire the correct permit. This method can be quite costly, as it includes such costs as relocating sprinkler systems, trenching, and may even incur landscaping costs.
Contact Total Home Windows and Doors if you have any questions about basement window size or any of the other above stipulations. We can give you an estimate for basement egress windows. Call us today to set up a free in-home consultation.