Basement windows are not something that every homeowner takes into consideration when it comes time for window replacement. However, it is imperative to make sure that your basement windows adhere to the current Calgary fire codes. The windows in your basement should be easily accessible in the event of fire or other emergency.
As such, there are many things to keep in mind when you are ready to replace your windows and doors Calgary. There are certain specifications needed for egress windows and all Canadian windows must meet the requirements set forth by the NBCC. In addition, you may need to widen or expand the opening or well area of your basement windows to meet these standards. Read on for more information on basement egress window code.
Criteria for Egress Basement Windows
In Calgary, every bedroom must have an egress window to be used in an emergency situation. If you home has a basement, those windows must also be in compliance with Calgary egress (fire) window codes.
All egress windows, regardless if they are located if they are basement or bedroom windows, must meet the following conditions:
- All egress style windows must be easy to open and not require additional tools, keys or special knowledge.
- Egress windows must have an unblocked opening with a dimension of no less than 15 inches and no less than 3.8 feet in the opening area.
- Residents of the home must not be made to climb over or around a glass or any type of panel when making an emergency escape.
- Any security bars must be operable from inside the home and no additional knowledge or tools must be needed to safely and quickly operate them.
Information about Basement Window Wells
If your basement windows do not currently have window wells, you may need to have them built in as they are a requirement by the NBCC (National Building Code of Canada). This process involved either creating a window will where there is none or widening your current window well to meet the strands size requirements, which are as follows:
- A clearance distance of at least 22 inches must be present between the window and the window well.
- An affixed permanent ladder or step must be present with windows with wells with a depth of 44 inches or greater in order to provide an easy and safe escape route in the event of any emergency.
If you do need to enlarge your opening in order to meet these requirements you might need to enlist the service of a contractor to complete the process as cutting the concrete could be a factor. If this is the case, you might have to acquire specific permits before you can start your basement window replacement. Check with your municipality as these may differ according to the province in where your life and the type of renovation project.
Check with your local window company to see if they will cut into concrete. Not all windows companies will do so. You may need to hire an outside contractor to complete the task. In this instance, it is wise to try to schedule both the contractor and the windows installed on the same day to save time and money.
If you are unsure if your basement windows are in adherence with the egress codes, contact your local windows company. They will be able to do an in home assessment and provide you with any information as well as a free estimate.