Windows provide gorgeous views of the outside that often cause people to forget that they are also an important safety feature. You might see that there are many different shapes and sizes for windows, but there is one type that you should find in specific parts of a house or commercial building.
Egress windows are ones that are meant to serve as a potential escape route in the event of an emergency, such as a house fire. Since they must be accessible and large enough for an adult to fit through, you’ll find that there are specified requirements in place for making sure that the windows on your home or office building will provide a safe route away from an emergency situation.
Building Codes Influence the Correct Size
The window size that you need to meet code requirements can vary according to where the property is located. As a general rule, you’ll need to know that the window is big enough for a person to climb through if they wanted to. Currently, the International Building Code recommends that windows be about 508 mm wide by 609.6 mm high. However, provincial codes can vary, so it is best to find out what is required where you live or work.
Sizing Is Only One of Several Requirements
The majority of code requirements also list where these windows should be placed. Typically, there should be one in every room that is used for sleeping purposes. Basements should also include these windows if they do not have another type of exit option, such as a door on a walkout floor plan. You will also find that the windows can only be placed at a certain height since putting them too high could restrict access for shorter people. You will also need to make sure that the windows can be opened without any particular types of tools. Basement windows that require a well will also need to comply with additional requirements, such as having a permanent ladder in place.
Many Older Buildings Are Out of Compliance
Since these windows are so important, you may be wondering why they are not installed on your property. This is usually due to a building being constructed before new code requirements in your area. Replacing windows to get them up to code is a simple way to improve the safety of a building and stay within the guidelines of the law if your property is visited by the general public.
There Are Several Different Window Options
One of the best things to know about these windows is that you can choose from several different styles to fit the aesthetics of a building. Egress windows still function normally when they aren’t being used for emergency purposes, which means that you want to pick a style that fits your preferences. For instance, you might choose casement windows with a hinged sash if you prefer a smaller type of window. Alternatively, you can choose sliding styles that open up easily anytime you want to ventilate a room. Your consultation with a window installer should include a discussion of which styles fit into a specific room while still being large enough to provide an emergency exit.
Window Openings Sometimes Require Enlarging
The majority of window replacements are easily accomplished in a single day. However, there are some times when you may need to have the opening for a window enlarged. This is common in basements where there may only be small windows located near the top of a room. Professional window installation can correct this issue by enlarging the existing openings or even making a new one. This is often an essential part of basement renovations where the plan is to create a new bedroom.
Upgrading Windows Increases Property Value
Safety is a priority, and it is also nice to know that your window upgrade can improve the property value. New windows also come with benefits such as being more energy-efficient than older styles. They also add a touch of beauty that increases your property’s curb appeal.
Considering the important role that egress windows play in a building’s safety plan, it is essential to make sure that they are up to code and easy to access in an emergency. Since building codes can vary, it is best to start by having a window specialist inspect the ones on your property to determine which may need to be enlarged or replaced.