What Are the Legal Requirements for Bedroom and Basement Windows?

Building your home from scratch can be a freeing experience, especially if you’re particular about architectural style and décor. Building or renovating allows you to take complete creative control; however, some design aspects can’t be changed. To respect building codes and avoid fines, here are the legal requirements for bedroom and basement windows:

Bedrooms

In real estate, a bedroom is not merely four walls and a bed. It must possess a certain number of characteristics in order to be legally considered one. Otherwise, it’s false advertising. Provinces and municipalities have their own building codes by which contractors must abide. In Alberta, all bedrooms must have an egress window or a window that can provide occupants with a speedy exit in case of emergencies. Here are the particulars from the 2014 Alberta Building Code:

9.9.10.1. Egress Windows or Doors for Bedrooms

  • Except where the suite is sprinklered, each bedroom or combination bedroom shall have at least one outside window or exterior door openable from the inside without the use of key, tools or special knowledge and without the removal of sashes or hardware.
  • The window referred to in Sentence (1) shall
  1. provide an unobstructed opening of not less than 0.35 m2 in area with no dimension less than 380 mm, and
  2. b) maintain the required opening during an emergency without the need for additional support.
  • If the window referred to in Sentence (1) is provided with security bars, the security bars shall be openable from the inside without the use of any tools or special knowledge.
  • Where a window required in Sentence (1) opens into a window-well, a clearance of not less than 760 mm shall be provided in front of the window.
  • Where the sash of a window referred to in Sentence (3) swings towards the window well, the operation of the sash shall not reduce the clearance in a manner that would restrict escape in an emergency.
  • Where a protective enclosure is installed over the window well referred to in Sentence (3), the enclosure shall be openable from the inside without the use of keys, tools or special knowledge of the opening mechanism.…/

Window Mart offers a wide range of window styles for every room of your home. Our popular bedroom window choices include casement windows, sliding windows, and single and double hung sliding windows. If you want to know more about the style of windows available, check out our catalogue.

Basements

Because basement windows are positioned perpendicularly to the ground, they come with their own building codes, especially when it comes to providing a safe and quick exit for occupants in case of an emergency. If you’re building a bedroom in the basement, your window must give occupants a clear opening of a minimum of 0.35m2. This may necessitate the use of a window well, which is a built-in cavity around the window that gives the occupant enough room to climb out. If you choose an awning window, the opening must give the occupant enough clearance.

At Window Mart, we ensure that all new installations meet your municipal and provincial building requirements, as well as your design needs. Call us today for a free estimate.