Egress windows can be a confusing topic for those not well versed in building and safety codes. First, let’s start with a definition of an egress window. An egress window is one that is large enough to be used as an exit in case of emergency. According to the code governing egress windows, they must be easily opened from the inside, and must not be blocked by bars, grilles, or grates.
Egress windows are required in any sleeping room in your home. However, there is a caveat to this code: if your home was built before egress codes were put in place, you can replace the window with one of the same size, without having to conform to the California Building Code’s requirements for egress windows. That said, for safety purposes, you may want to bring your home up to current code standards by replacing windows in bedrooms with ones that meet the egress code.
For further clarification, here is the code that addresses egress windows (CBC, Title 24, Part 9, Section 1030.7):
“Emergency Escape Opening Required – emergency escape openings shall be maintained in accordance with the code in effect at the time of construction. Required emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys and tools. Bars, grilles, grates or similar devices are allowed to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings provided the minimum net clear opening size complies with the code that was in effect at the time of construction and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.”
The measurement requirements for egress windows are as follows:
- A net clear opening of at least 5.7 square feet
- A minimum height of 24 inches
- A minimum width of 20 inches
- A sill height no more than 44 inches from the floor
If you have questions about egress windows, or want to replace your current windows with ones that meet the California Building Code for emergency escape openings, contact us at BM Windows.
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