When it comes to creating a safe and legal basement apartment in Ontario, one of the key considerations is ensuring that your basement bedroom windows meet the necessary egress window requirements.
Egress windows are designed to provide a safe means of escape in case of emergencies, such as fires or other hazards. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the specific requirements set forth by the Ontario Building Code, offering you a detailed understanding of what is needed to comply with the law
What are Egress Windows?
Egress windows are windows that are specifically designed to provide a safe exit from a building in case of emergencies. They are an essential component of any basement bedroom as they offer occupants a means of escape when traditional exits may be inaccessible. These windows not only serve as an emergency exit but also provide natural light and ventilation to the space. By ensuring that your basement bedroom meets the egress window requirements, you can create a safe and habitable living space that complies with the law.
The Importance of Egress Window Requirements
Egress window requirements are in place to protect the safety of occupants in basement bedrooms. In the event of an emergency, such as a fire, having a properly sized and easily accessible egress window can mean the difference between life and death. These requirements are not just arbitrary rules; they are based on extensive research and are designed to ensure that individuals have a clear and unobstructed path to safety.
Understanding the Ontario Building Code
The Ontario Building Code sets out the specific requirements for egress windows in basement bedrooms. These requirements are designed to ensure that occupants have a safe means of escape in the event of an emergency. It is important to familiarize yourself with these requirements if you are planning to create a legal basement apartment or renovate an existing basement bedroom.
Size Requirements of Egress Windows
The size of the egress window is one of the key requirements specified by the Ontario Building Code. The window must provide a minimum clear opening area of 0.35 square meters (3.77 square feet). Additionally, no dimension of the window can be less than 380 mm (15 inches). These size requirements ensure that the window is large enough to allow for a person to escape easily.
Bedroom Egress Window Requirements
In addition to the size requirements, egress windows in basement bedrooms must also meet certain criteria to ensure the safety and well-being of the occupants. These requirements include:
- Adequate ventilation: The bedroom egress window must provide sufficient year-round ventilation to ensure a comfortable living space.
- Lighting requirements: The window must provide at least 5% of the bedroom’s floor area in natural light to create a well-lit and inviting space.
- Ease of opening: The egress window must be easily opened from the inside without the use of any tools, keys, or special knowledge. This ensures that occupants can quickly and safely escape in an emergency.
- Quick and easy escape route: The window must be sufficiently sized to provide a clear and unobstructed path to safety. This means that the window should be large enough for a person to easily pass through without any difficulty.
Basement Egress Window Requirements
Basement egress windows have additional requirements to ensure the safety of occupants. These requirements include:
- Window wells: Egress windows in basements must have window wells that extend at least 760 mm (30 inches) from the window. This provides a safe and easily accessible escape route.
- Step or stairs: The window well must have a step or stairs to facilitate a safe and easy exit from the basement. This step or stairs should be designed to meet building code requirements and provide a clear path to the ground level.
Additional Requirements for Egress Style Windows
In addition to the specific requirements mentioned above, there are a few additional considerations when it comes to egress windows:
- Height restrictions: The bottom of the egress window, with the exception of basement windows, should not be higher than 1.5 meters (5 feet) above the floor. This ensures that the window is easily accessible for all occupants.
- Sprinkler systems: Egress windows are not required in rooms that have existing sprinkler systems installed. However, it is important to consult with local authorities to ensure compliance with fire safety regulations.
- Operable security bars: If you choose to install security bars on your egress windows, they must be operable from the inside without the use of special tools or instructions. This ensures that occupants can easily remove the bars in case of an emergency.
Converting Basement Windows into Egress Windows
In many cases, existing basement windows may not meet the requirements for egress windows. If you are planning to create a legal basement apartment or renovate an existing basement bedroom, you may need to convert your current windows into egress windows. This process typically involves concrete cutting to enlarge the window opening to meet the required dimensions. It is important to hire a qualified contractor who is familiar with the local building codes and can obtain the necessary permits for the conversion.
The Great Egress Company: Your Source for Code-Compliant Egress Windows
If you are in need of egress windows that meet the requirements set forth by the Ontario Building Code, look no further than The Great Egress Company. We offer a curated collection of egress windows in various types and sizes to ensure that you find the perfect fit for your basement bedroom. Our windows are designed to provide a safe and easy means of escape, while also offering natural light and ventilation. If you require a specific size or color, we can even have a custom window made just for you. Shop our selection of code-compliant egress windows and create a safe and legal basement apartment in Ontario.
Ensuring that your basement bedroom meets the egress window requirements is not just a legal obligation but also a matter of safety for the occupants. By adhering to the specifications outlined by the Ontario Building Code, you can create a safe and habitable living space that provides a clear and unobstructed path to safety in case of emergencies. Remember to consult with local authorities and hire qualified professionals when converting your basement windows into egress windows. With The Great Egress Company, you can find high-quality windows that meet all the necessary requirements, providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones.