Do your basement windows meet the guidelines for egress windows? Recent changes have been made to the fire codes in Canada so that all basement windows must be in 100% compliance with the rules and regulations outlined by the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC).
If the windows in your basement do not currently meet these guidelines, you need to consider window replacement to convert them to egress windows. We will provide you with everything you need to know in the remainder of this blog.
Facts about Converting Basement Windows to Egress Fire Windows
Following are the requirements and basement windows sizes for egress windows.
- If security bars are installed on basement windows, they must be located on the inside of the home. As such, they need to be able to be removed with ease and without the use of tools or detailed directions.
- Basement egress windows must have an opening more than 22 inches between the window unit and the well of the window.
- There should not be any glass panels in the way of escape in the event of an urgent situation that requires a safe escape route.
- There must be a permanent step or ladder affixed to those windows with a window well greater than 44 inches off the floor.
- The egress windows are required to possess an opening with a dimension of no smaller than 15 inches. Nothing must block this space.
- Egress basement windows must be able to be easily opened without the need for special instruction or the requirement of additional tools.
What to Do If Your Basement Windows Do Not Meet Egress Codes
Should your basement windows not meet the aforementioned conditions, you will need to have them converted to egress windows. This may require them to cut into the concrete, which will cause you to acquire the proper permits from your municipal building. As many windows companies do not perform this type of construction, you might need to enlist the help of a professional contractor to complete the conversion. Following are some of the ways you can convert your basement windows to egress windows.
Enlarge Your Existing Basement Window
You might be able to enlarge one of your current basement windows to meet the guidelines for egress windows. This will involve cutting into the concrete, which definitely requires a permit as well as hiring a contractor. The process entails additional expenses, such as relocating sprinkler systems, trenching, and, perhaps, even landscaping costs.
Expanding the Basement Wall
A permit is also required in this manner of the constitution, as it involves the possibility of cutting a new window while expanding the wall. This method can be quite costly, as it will involve working on the actual structure of the basement walls.
This process is the least expensive as well as the least obtrusive, so it will not require a permit. It is always wise to double check first, though, as rules may vary from one town to another. A cut down involves expanding the window downward and will not wreak havoc with the window header or studs. There is less labor involved in this method than the others, which is why it is not as costly.
Check with your local windows company to see if they will do any of the above constructions before installing your egress basement windows. As stated previously, many companies do not do this type of work, so it is advisable to work with a contractor.
The experts at Atlant Windows know everything there is to know about egress basement windows. So, give us a shout out when you are ready to convert the windows in your basement. We can give you a free estimate along with an evaluation.