Saturday, March 1, 2014
Emergency Egress Window Requirements
By Howard Walsh | London Home Inspector
Minimum Requirements Differ
Few of us think of a bedroom window as a "life-saving" feature. Although bedroom windows are not considered to be ordinary escape routes, if there was ever an emergency situation, like a house fire, having the properly-sized egress window in the bedroom could be the difference between life and death. By the time an occupant is able to respond to a smoke alarm the suite may be filled with smoke and their escape route from the bedroom blocked.
The requirement for a properly-sized bedroom window has been around since 1980 and subsequent code changes since then have made it even easier to understand how a bedroom egress window is defined. Or has it? Depends on which code you reference. Regional requirements can differ from national regulations.
Ontario Building Code
This may come as a surprise to many people, or a relief to those looking to add a bedroom in the basement, but contrary to the National Building Code and popular brief, a bedroom in Ontario does not require an egress window in the actual bedroom! As long as there is an egress window or door to the exterior somewhere on the level, the requirements for egress have been met. However, there are still light and ventilation requirements for each bedroom that must be met, butthat is another topic.