DIY Home Improvement Forum banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Newbie Bill
Joined
·
1,107 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

I was just told by a window company rep that the casement windows in our upstairs bedrooms do not meet the current codes for egress. The house is only 20 years old. The windows are 38 " X 38 " with half a stationary pane and the other half a casement. SEE Photo. With the centre pillar, the window area is 16X38 and the casement area is 16X38. Likely smaller when you take into account hardware etc on the casement side.

Is the guy bull-****tin me about the codes?

I presume that if we don't make any changes we will be OK, but the moment we change a window, it must meet current code?

I guess I am going to have to call our county to find out more.

What a Pane in the arse.
 

Attachments

·
Banned
Joined
·
17,248 Posts
I'm not sure on the exact measurements needed
This is what I found on a search
I'm not sure if just replacing a window triggers the need to meet current code. I think you actually have to be renovating a certain % of the room/house

 

·
Registered User
Joined
·
11,730 Posts
Yes, it has been that way for over 30 years, to get a fireman with a oxygen tank on- in and out your child's window during a fire:

Second paragraph: http://www.codecheck.com/cc/pg07_08building.html

Call your local Building Department for your Province's rules. Be safe, G
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,118 Posts
IRC 2006 R310, window sill not higher than 44" above floor. Min height-24", min width-20", and require no keys, tools, etc to open from inside.
 

·
Newbie Bill
Joined
·
1,107 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the help guys. I am going to call our building department to get their exact codes, but I feel much better hearing your input.

It is good to know the guy wasn't BSing me and that our windows definitely don't meet the standards. And our house is only 20 years old. And he mentioned he is seeing a lot of these size windows so it's not just our house.

His plan is to make the picture pane smaller and the casement larger. Like below. Looks OK to me.
 

Attachments

·
Newbie Bill
Joined
·
1,107 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
OK, I just talked to the County building permit department.

Here is their minimum egress numbers. The wording is mine, not theirs.

Minimum access is 15 inches wide or 15 inches high with a minimum open area of 3.75 Sq Ft.

What this means is if your window is 15 inches wide (like my casement) it needs to be at least 3 feet tall to gain the 3.75 sq ft.

The casement window portion of our windows do meet the sq ft test and they are exactly 15 inches wide. However, it can be argued that we don't have the full 15 inches available for egress because of the casement hardware and the opening limitations of the window.

So here is an example of building to meet the minimum standards when in reality, better than code would have been nice.

So even though I am compliant with code (just barely), I still think I will go with the larger casements when we replace the windows.

Any other thoughts.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
17,248 Posts
When I 1st learned of egress codes I couldn't understand why we needed such a large area - 5.7 here (US). I mean if I'm inside i'm kicking out whatever I need to get out. But then a friend who is a firefighter pointed out that it's so a fully equipped firefighter can get IN.
So bigger is better
In your case it will make the opening pane larger (I think) then the fixed side. I'de be inclined to go with the larger size for safety. Like you said - you usually lose a couple of inches on one side due to the way the window opens
 

·
Registered User
Joined
·
11,730 Posts
Glad to see you are thinking safety. 5 years ago, I checked egress after I had installed a casement unit. Because of the operating hardware, it was restricted by 4-1/2" smaller, not meeting egress. After calling the salesman and getting "we have been selling them that way for years", I called the manufacturer. They said the same thing, 12 years ago they changed their hardware and no one has complained but me. Now they go bigger, or give different hardware. They sent two 7'x5' free replacement windows, which we left with the homeowner after exchanging the operating hardware (15 minutes each). We had already installed and sided around them. Be safe, G
 

·
Registered User
Joined
·
11,730 Posts
I just downloaded a free Canada building code check, which Alberta is under. It stated the same egress window size as I first listed. You may want to download, also: http://rapidlibrary.com/index.php?q=national+building+code+of+canada Scroll the list for Canada Code Check Building, a free download.

You don't have to pay or be a member. Save it to a file, it's more current than mine. It also lists the minimum width and height combinations of different windows. Be safe, G
 

·
Newbie Bill
Joined
·
1,107 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks GBAR, Now I am confused.

I will head on over to the county admin buildings and before I pay my property taxes, I'll ask the question "In person".
 

·
Newbie Bill
Joined
·
1,107 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OK i now have clarification. Alberta has it's own building codes. The Alberta building codes use the minimum 15 inch measurement and the minimum 3.75sq ft opening area.

I searched online and of course the actual Alberta Building Code book costs $$$. I did find notices on adding secondary suites and the bedroom egress numbers for those bedrooms match the 15 " and 3.75 sq Ft.

So my windows are OK, just barely.

Thanks for all your input guys. And if someone has an actual copy of the Alberta Codes, I would love to have their confirmation.

Cheers.
 

·
Registered User
Joined
·
11,730 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
The egress codes that I have used over the years in the US are as follows:
A minimum net clear openable area of 5.7 sq ft
A minimum net clear openable height dimension of 24"(a fireman with his oxygen tank)
A minimum net clear openable width dimension of 20" (a fireman's ladder)
A finished sill height not more than 44" above the finished floor.
If there is a exterior door in the room, that will be your egress opening.
 

·
General Contractor
Joined
·
534 Posts
Basements with habitable space and every sleeping room shall have at least one openable emergency escape and rescue window opening. (IRC R310.1)
Where emergency escape and rescue openings are provided they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches above the floor. (IRC R 310.1)
All emergency escape and rescue openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5.7 square feet. Exception: Grade floor openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5 square feet. (IRC R310.1.1)
The minimum net clear opening height shall be 24 inches. (IRC R310.1.2)
The minimum net clear opening width shall be 20 inches. (IRC R310.1.3)
Emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys or tools. (IRC R310.1.4)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,113 Posts
Check the local requirements, In some areas the bottom of the opening may be 42" in some areas.

I have seen people that did not put in carpeting or flooring until after the final inspection to meet the minimumheight requirement - Set to allow children to get out.
 

·
Chicago, IL
Joined
·
1,037 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
In Ontario the egress code is that you must have a clear unobtructed opening of 3.8 sq/ft with a minimum dimension of 15".
It also states that you require only one window per floor that meets this criteria. Therefore if you have larger windows or a door system on the floor in question then they may meet the criteria and you are OK by code.
However, you may on your own want to ensure egress in all your families bedrooms regardless, for your own piece of mind whether you meet the building code standards or not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
To approach this, I would separate the requirements and look at it in two different ways.

1st is what you feel comfortable with and what you want for your safety. Whether it meets min. code or not, could you actually get out of the window in case of a fire? Even if you have a window that's minimally code compliant, that's not going to help you sleep easy at night if you're not confident you could fit out to use it as an escape window.

2nd is what are the actual code requirements in your area. Most jurisdictions have different requirements for new windows vs existing windows. If you install a new window, it will likely need to meet different requirements than the current window has to. Some areas around where I'm at have no requirements for existing as long as they were legal at the time they were installed. Others have standards that apply even to 100 yr old windows. It depends on the city, county, etc

EDIT: didn't realize how old the original post was, I can't imagine this is still too helpful yet at this point, oh well. Last post was recent but I should have looked at the other dates too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Alberta Bedroom Window Egress Requirements

To clarify, the Alberta, Manitoba, etc code requires any window that when fully opened provides an unobstructed opening that is a minimum area of 3.76 sq ft with a minimum dimension of 15" in any direction. Not a opener with a frame width that is a minimum of 15' wide (the most common mistake). Take the screen out of your window and crank or open the window to its max, in the case of casements you will see that the hardware brings the sash into the opening area away from the side of the jamb as it opens. With sliders or even some single/double hungs the edge of the opened window does not open to the edge of the fixed side of the window.
With the screen out measure the un-obstructed area, from the edge of the jamb to the nearest side of the opened sash, it is this opening that must be a minimum of 3.76sq ft and this area that must not have a measurement smaller that 15".
Because awning windows have thier crank out hardware located on the centre bottom of the opening, (an obstruction) they do not meet egress. Even though in most cases the hardware for the awning windows is easily detached with clips or could easily be broken, the code is a fire related code and though many of your commentors have surmised about fire equipment, this is actually in place for the very young, the very old and the paniced. Firefighters have axes to deal with glass if they need to get in, and if you are too big to get out of 15" perhaps you should carry an axe around with you. So awning windows are not egress compliant even though they were choice number 1 in the seventies for bedrooms (if its raining you can still crack the window). Windows that were installed prior to the current building codes are grandfathered and are not illegal, so if you have them and don't need/want to replace them ensure that everybody in the house knows how to deal with them, ie. regular fire drills for your family in your house, always a good idea. Windows that aren't original to the house provide a much darker shade of grey, technically if you sell your house and the new buyer picks up on the illegal windows, which is rare, it could get messy with either the deal dying, the home owner or in some cases the window company having to replace the window again, or the new owners says meh no worries.
Though these regulations have been in place since the ninties (prior to the latest regulations dated 2006) many inspectors aren`t really clear on the how to apply the code, I have witnessed a inspector measure the frame of a window 2ft x 4ft and surmise that its opening was 4sq ft or half the frame size area, however prior to his arrival I had measured the opening with the screen out, fully opened, which with the frame thickness removed only provided an opening of just over 3sq ft, so if you were confused you were in good company.
One final note, if the room has a closet its a bedroom, it doesn`t matter that you use it as an office or storage or sewing, when your house is sold the realtor will list it as a bedroom, if you want to dance on that knife`s edge, thats your call but its still a bedroom.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
The real question is whether you are grandfathered into the old codes. In the US, as long as you do not change the size or style of the replacement window, you are grandfathered into the old codes. So, you could replace a casement for a casement, but couldn't put a Dh where you had a casement.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top