Everything you should know about egress windows

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Heather Jones
Heather Jones
I'm Heather, an author passionate about home improvements. My writing is your guide to making homes better. Let's explore easy ways to enhance your living spaces, from small fixes to exciting projects. Join me on a journey of making your house a cozy and stylish haven.

When you think about your future house, your head is full of great ideas about how it’s all going to look. So there’s no surprise that when you finally have that perfect place you’ve been dreaming about for years, your focus will be on making all those plans come true. After all, you want to create your own space as soon as possible and turn it into your home, where you’ll be able to relax and spend your free time. But there’s one more thing that you need to keep in mind: your safety.

Egress window

Whether you’re building a new house or renovating a property, you’ll have to meet building regulations to make sure everything is in order and living there will be safe for you and other residents. One of the things your house will need are egress windows. They are often called escape windows, as well. And as the name suggests, they serve as an escape route that will allow you to get out of the house in case of an emergency. And since they can potentially save your life one day, it’s better to acquire some more information about them and the requirements surrounding their installation.

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What is an egress window?

It’s a window that can be used as an exit when necessary. Though to qualify as an egress window, it has to meet specific requirements detailed in the building codes. For example, the opening has to measure at least 450 mm x 750 mm, and the sill cannot be placed higher than 1.1 m above the floor level. You will also have to provide a clear and unobstructed area around it to make sure there’s easy access to the window.

Do you need to install egress windows?

To comply with the regulations, every single habitable room in one and two-story buildings needs a window that can be used as an exit. There’s only one situation when it isn’t necessary. If your room already has another safety exit: a door leading directly outside of the house or onto a corridor with an escape window.

What if your window doesn’t meet the requirements?

The height of a window is important because it won’t be able to serve its purpose if it can’t be accessed. That’s why for the safety of everyone in the house, you have to make sure every escape route can be reached without having to move the furniture aside or looking for a ladder. Yet, if your windows are placed too high and you simply can’t afford to replace them, there’s another solution to your problem. You can simply provide a step beneath it that will enable you to get out without trouble.

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egress windows

Do you need egress windows for your loft conversion?

It’s generally considered too dangerous to escape through the windows placed above the first floor. So, in most cases, converting an attic in a two-story house won’t require installing them, but you’ll have to make sure other safety precautions are in place. For example, if you use that space as a storage, you can choose an Optistep loft ladder, but once you turn it into a habitable space, a permanent staircase will be required.

Check your local regulations

Every egress window you decide to install must comply with the Building Codes, but the details may vary depending on where you live. So just to be sure it’s advisable to check with the local authority if your plans for installation meet the requirements.

Whether you decide to install new windows on your own or hire a contractor to do the job, remember that you’re not doing it just because it’s required. You’re doing it to ensure your family’s safety, so make sure everything is done properly to avoid any unpleasant consequences in the future.

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