A question that we often get from customers looking to buy new windows in Calgary is this. When do I need to add an egress window in Calgary? We tell them that the law requires egress windows (or doors) for every habitable space in your home. This is especially true for a bedroom or any room in which someone might sleep from time to time. However, the law and local Calgary building codes require egress windows for any and all “habitable spaces.” This term includes dens, family rooms, media rooms, offices, home workout room or gyms, or rec rooms. At Royal View Windows & Exteriors, we know and follow all building codes and will be happy to advise you when you need an egress window in Calgary.
An egress window is any window that you can open easily and that has an opening large enough and is easy to get out through in case of an emergency. The common windows for this purpose are casement windows and sliding windows. To meet the International Residential Code for egress windows, your windows must open to at least a 20” width and have a 24” opening height. The size of the opening must measure at least 5.7 square feet of unobstructed area. And, the maximum distance from the floor to the window sill has to be 44” or less. The larger opening requirements are meant to allow adults to get out and the floor to window sill requirement is so that children will be able to use the egress window in an emergency. And, you have to be able to open the egress window without having to use any tools! At Royal View Windows & Exteriors we have years of experience putting in egress windows and will be pleased to help you with your planning.
Homeowners in Calgary are smart people. After we answer their question about when they need an egress window the follow-up question always has to do with what else they need to do. The “what else” often involves a bit of exterior excavation. This job may require that we install a proper window well which in turn may require removing debris, cutting concrete, excavating, adding gravel for drainage, or even adding a pressure-treated frame in the concrete.
These are all routine tasks for our staff at Royal View Windows & Exteriors. But, as we noted, we have lots of experience in this area and can help with your planning. For example, if you are doing to totally remodel your basement and put in “habitable rooms,” you may have a choice as to where to place these rooms. And, that choice could lead to more or less work and expense in regard to egress windows. If, for example, you have a thick concrete slab on one side of your home and drainage is an issue because it faces “uphill,” you may want to put the “habitable rooms” on the downhill side where there is no concrete!
Note: Windows referred to above shall provide unobstructed openings with areas not less than 0.35 m2(3.8ft2), with no dimension less than 380 mm (15 in.). The unobstructed opening must be measured between the window components (sashes, jambs, sills, opening mechanisms, etc.)
As an example of an egress window, this photo was taken of a job we just finished in which we added an egress window.
The home now has a new “habitable room” in the basement and an attractive egress window that meets code and safety standards!
You can follow this link if you wish to check with the City of Calgary regarding home renovations and basements, or you can let us take care of the paperwork as well as installing the egress window(s) that you need.
Contact us at Royal View Windows & Exteriors for any questions that you may have about egress windows.