Egress window code requirements

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Old 07-01-05, 09:01 AM
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Egress window code requirements

I've been told that the requirements for an egress window are 24" openning width, 20" openning height as minimums and 5 square feet of openning... Existing windows on bedrooms I have meet the width and height requirements, but not the 5 square feet requirement. I'm looking into this because I'm going to have to change windows in a room that isn't currently a bedroom.

My question is was there some point where the 5 square feet requirement came about and what's the history on that?
 
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Old 07-01-05, 11:47 AM
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the square footage is to give enough room for a fire fighter to be able to enter the home thru a window with all of their equipment on them. 5 sf is for windows on the first floor. second floor bedrooms must have 5.7 sf.i believe when replacing existing windows the 5.7 sq ft requirement is applied to the entire window opening not just the bottom sash. in other words if you replace existing windows you can replace them with the same size as long as the over all window size is greater than 5.7 sf. if you were doing an addition of a bedroom then the new windows must meet the 5.7 sf for the lower opening. hopefully one of the pros will confirm this for you.
 
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Old 07-01-05, 12:37 PM
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WillK,

tect75 got it right! If you are wanting to see more info and application of one, look at this.

http://dougaphs.smugmug.com/gallery/245141

Hope this helps!

Have a great 4th of July!
 
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Old 07-01-05, 04:15 PM
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WillK,

you are close. Code says 20" width, 24" height. No more than 42" from the floor to the sill. It is for egress of the inhabitants. To make egress from a bedroom the window needs to be 4040 slider (4' wide, 4' tall), or 3050 single hung (3' wide 5' tall) to make code. Single hung 4040 does not allow the moveable panel to lift high enough to make the 24" rule due to the center mullions. The 42" rule is so that in the event of a fire a child can still make it out. In the old days 30 windows (3'-0" tall) windows sil height was to much to high to make it out in an fire. All window manufacturers can tell you which of their windows meet egress requirements. (all of this is assuming 6'-8" header ht. if you lower the header then you can change some of the window dimensions).

I hope this helps.


Brian Garrison
General Contractor/Professional Building Designer
 
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Old 07-01-05, 05:58 PM
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Brian,

I would like to point out one thing and if this is different in your state, I stand corrected.

IRC 2003 -

R310.1 No more than 44" from finished floor to top of sill.
 
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Old 07-02-05, 08:58 AM
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Some general information.

Also, the OP mentioned an other than sleeping room.

In February of this year the three-year code-review cycle required for the International Code Council (ICC) culminated with the publication of the 2003 International Building Code (IBC). The new IBC was developed by the ICC, a blended organization resulting from the merger of the Building Officials and Code Administrators, the International Conference of Building Officials and the Southern Building Code Conference International.

The IBC, however, is not automatically required or enforced by building code officials; it has to be adopted by a jurisdiction, be it state, local, county, etc.
 
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Old 07-02-05, 09:37 AM
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Snoonyb,

Great history lesson, thanks Snoonyb. Surprisingly, most states are using the IRC as it is a mixture of all the different codes. However, no state can lower the standard requirements of the IRC but they can make it more rigid.

As Brian said, it came about primarily regarding fire issues. Loss of life is one reason so many issues have changed within the building codes. It is the intent to keep everyone safe from harm, even within your own home.

Best thing to do is check with your local building official as to what they are requiring.

Happy 4th of July!
 
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Old 07-02-05, 08:48 PM
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Doug,

you are correct that the sill height can be 44" for UBC. Here in Sonoma County it is 42". I am not sure if that is a CBC code or what. I learned 42" as that is requirement for us, I just no longer no where that sill height came from.

You get so used to drawing "to code" you lose sight as to where and why. Nice catch. My godfather was such a major force (Fire Battalion Chief) in Life safety he is to flogged for all the codes he helped change through NFPA. Some make building unreasonable. oh well Live and Live.

Brian Garrison
 
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Old 07-03-05, 12:04 PM
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Egress Windows

Good Responses. You guys did pretty good. However, I noticed that no one mentioned casement windows. Very popular as egress windows. Also just a side note, when talking about window openings to code, these are NET openings with the windows open. Just my thoughts. Have a good day.
 
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Old 07-11-05, 07:22 AM
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Just to be entirely clear, I think I'm getting an answer of my existing rough openning will be okay, but I want to be certain... The bottom line for me is this: Can I use a double-hung window in my existing rough openning of 34" wide by 48" tall?

The bottom sill height requirement isn't an issue, my headers are lower than 6'9, and I think I may be in the 36" ballpark because the bottom of the window is about the height of the back of our couch.

I'd strongly prefer double-hung because I know my existing double casement won't meet the requirement, and I can get double hung windows cash and carry at Home Depot plus it allows me to use a window air conditioner (necessary because I have baseboard heat, thus no forced air ducts)
 
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Old 07-11-05, 08:19 AM
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WillK,

Can I use a double-hung window in my existing rough openning of 34" wide by 48" tall?
Using a Pella Double Hung for example which is similar to most, the minimum size of an Egress unit, that they have which would be close to your opening is their Double Hung, which is 2'-9 3/4" x 4'-9 3/4". So the answer is NO, you cannot. Easiest thing is to lower the sill height to accommodate the correct Egress unit.


allows me to use a window air conditioner
This is not allowed. Egress window must be totally clear of anything - No A/C can be placed in it.

Hope this helps!
 
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Old 07-11-05, 08:35 AM
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I would be replacing 2 windows of identical openning with identical windows, 1 would be for the air conditioner.

I was going by Tect75's response when he said:
i believe when replacing existing windows the 5.7 sq ft requirement is applied to the entire window opening not just the bottom sash. in other words if you replace existing windows you can replace them with the same size as long as the over all window size is greater than 5.7 sf.
So, that is not true then?
 
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Old 07-11-05, 08:47 AM
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WillK,

Glass areas must be 5.7 SF. Minimum Net Clear Opening
 
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Old 07-11-05, 08:55 AM
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WillK,

I think this should help you in ensuring you are doing the right thing.

INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTIAL CODE, SECTION R310
EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS

R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue required. Basements with habitable space and every sleeping room shall have at least one openable emergency escape and rescue window or exterior door opening for emergency escape and rescue. Where openings are provided as a means of escape and rescue they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118mm) above the floor. Where a door opening having a threshold below the adjacent ground elevation serves as an emergency escape and rescue opening and is provided with a bulkhead enclosure, the bulkhead enclosure will comply with R310.3. The net clear opening dimensions required by this section shall be obtained by the normal operation of the window or door opening from the inside. Escape and rescue openings with a finished sill height below the adjacent ground elevation shall be provided with a window well in accordance with Section R310.2.
R310.1.1 Minimum opening area. All emergency escape and rescue openings shall have a minimum clear opening of 5.7 square feet (0.530m2 ).
Exception. Grade floor openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5 square feet (.0465m2).

R310.1.2 Minimum opening height. The minimum net clear opening height shall be 24 inches (610mm).

R310.1.3 Minimum opening width. The minimum net clear opening width shall be 20 inches (508mm).

R310.1.4 Operational constraints. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys or tools.

R310.2 Window wells. Window wells required for emergency escape and rescue shall have horizontal dimensions that allow the door or window of the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened. The horizontal dimensions of the window well shall provide a minimum clear area of 9 square feet (0.84m2) with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches (914mm).

Exception. The ladder or steps required by Section R310.2.1 shall be permitted to encroach a maximum of 6 inches (152mm) into the required dimensions of the window well.

R310.2.1 Ladder and steps. Window wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches (1118mm) below the adjacent ground level shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps with the window in fully open position. Ladders or steps required by this section shall not be required to comply with Sections R314 and R315. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of at least 12 inches (305mm), shall project at least 3 inches (76mm) from the wall and shall be placed more than 18 inches (457mm) on center vertically for the full height of the window well.

R310.3 Bulkhead enclosures. Bulkhead enclosures shall provide direct access to the basement. The bulkhead enclosure with the door panels in the fully open position shall provide the minimum net clear opening required by Section R310.1.1. Bulkhead enclosures shall also comply with Section R314.9.

R310.4 Bars, grills, covers, and screens. Bars, grills, covers, screens or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, bulkhead enclosures, or window wells that serve such openings, provided the minimum net clear opening size complies with Sections R310.1.1 to R310.1.3, and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.

Hope this helps!
 
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Old 02-08-07, 11:45 AM
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how about double hung tilted windows?

Hi there
Here's my situation:
I have 3 bedrooms on my second floor addition with 30x22 rough opening, so yes, it's about 4.6 square feet and the code requires 5. I just wonder it makes any difference if they tilt-in? Any ideas and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 02-08-07, 12:35 PM
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They must comply with Code - Tilt-ins do not comply - check with your local building officials.

Best to change out the windows to be code compliant.

Hope this helps!
 
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Old 02-09-07, 08:55 AM
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Thanks for fast response.
I talked to one person about it, he told me he had the same problem, however, he was told that if the interconnects all his fire alarms he will not have to worry about egress windows. Sounds little funky to me, any thoughts?
 
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Old 02-09-07, 09:51 AM
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The person is wrong in that thinking.

Any time you are remodeling or doing an addition, the inspectors now are requiring interconnected hard wire smoke detectors unless it is considered a "hardship" - Too costly but they will evaluate this.

The issue on egress windows is that any area being modified or added on will have to have egress units to comply with the code.

Again, making a simple call regarding the current codes and what you are planning to do is a wise choice to protect you and yours.

Trying to just get by and not do this is asking for trouble.

Her is one example as required in Iowa

http://www.ci.des-moines.ia.us/departments/Fire/Fire%20Prevention/smoke%20detectors.htm

As what I wrote earlier on Egress units - it is clear that both must be done.

Hope this helps!
 

Last edited by Doug Aleshire; 02-09-07 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 02-09-07, 04:43 PM
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Again, thanks for fast reply.
Here's what my situation is, I already have the new addition, it's all done, nice and dandy. After I had my final inspection last week I learned about requirement for egress windows, however, the windows that I have installed only have 4.6 square feet opening and obviously don't meet the code.
I did all of the work myself and I wasn't aware of egress windows, to be honest, i didn't even know what egress stands for till last week.
Now, another question, I remember reading somewhere that installation of fire sprinklers eliminates need for egress windows. Is this true? I would much rather hire someone to do this, than replace 4 windows...
 
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Old 02-09-07, 04:53 PM
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You're very welcome.

I'm sorry to say that I do not know of such information but can only assume that this again may be a false statement, I am just unsure.

Again, I would suggest talking to your building officials about this. I think it is always best to hear it from your local officials when such information may be erroneous and could cost you more if you did something wrong that is not Code approved in your area.

I'd rather say I do not know than say it's OK just because it may "sound" reasonable. Do-it-yourself strives to give accurate information and not provide misleading information and as a member, I strive to do the same. I caution you to seek the right information from those officials within your area on an issue like this.

I am assuming that you need to not only install the window but also the window well, which if you are doing it yourself is a task and hiring it out is extremely expensive.

Hope this helps!
 
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Old 01-22-11, 04:44 PM
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New Sill height?

This is a seperate question. I understand the code is 44 inches from the floor. Unfortunately the window is 47.5 inches from the floor. Can I add a permanent 3.5 inch platform below the window to make up the height? I do not want to add an entire floating floor in bedroom to make up this 3.5 inches?
 
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Old 01-22-11, 05:40 PM
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You should start a new thread as opposed to digging graves on 5 year old ones. But welcome to the forums!!! It really would be up to your local inspector since he has the final say. A permanent step 7" tall and 11" deep that spans the entire length of the window may get his attention, just ask.
I did a similar thing back in the 60's at a trucking company I worked for. The newly formed OSHA showed up and said we had to have gate protectors on our dock for openings where trailers weren't parked that were over 4' tall. So instead of installing useless gates, we poured a 2' wide x 2' high berm around the dock. It didn't bother the wheels of the trailer as they were inset. Fall to earth was now 2 1/2'. He huffed out and never returned. It's all in wording and translation.
 
 

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