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Egress windows provide emergency exits to homeowners in case of fire or other life-threatening situation. While they are not a new concept, the standards and regulations associated with where they are needed and what sizes are required have changed.

During our consultation appointments, we found that many window companies do not properly inform the homeowners about current egress window regulations and often install windows that do not meet the provincial fire code standard. Not only is this unlawful, but it can also be deadly.

To help you become better educated about egress windows, we’ve compiled a list of absolutely everything you will ever need to know. So, next time undergoing a basement renovation and improving the energy efficiency of your home you will be aware of new basement windows requirements.
Although bedroom windows are not typically the main escape routes, they can be used as exits in case of a fire if the size and type meet certain criteria.

When should you get egress windows?

The National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) states that bedroom windows must meet the following requirements:

  • Provide a minimum of 5-percent LIGHT for the floor area of the room.
  • Provide VENTILATION adequate for year-round mechanical ventilation.
  • Must be properly sized to provide EMERGENCY ESCAPE, be opened from the inside without use if keys, tools, hardware or special knowledge.

While building codes vary by province, the generally acceptable egress window styles include casement and slider.