Basement Windows : What you need to know!

Are you thinking of renovating your basement?

Before you start, you should be aware of all of Alberta’s safety code requirements.  You will require a Building Permit if your alterations are more extensive than cosmetic upgrades. A Development Permit may be required if your proposed renovations do not meet Land Use Bylaws requirements.

There have recently been building code changes to basement window wells. A window well is a space maintained partially or fully below the adjacent soil for a window – also known as below grade.

Basement windows can come in many shapes and sizes. If you are developing a recreation rooms, games room or office, the size of the window is not a matter of building code concern. However, if you decide to develop a bedroom, the size of the window is very important!

The Alberta Building Code requires that bedroom windows have at least 0.35 m2 (3.8 sq ft) of clear opening that a person could crawl through, with no dimension less that 380mm (15 inches). This requirement ensure that there is an alternative way to escape in case of fire or emergency.

Where basement windows are located partially or fully below grade, a window well is also required. These requirements have been in place for many years. In the 2014 Alberta Building Code, which became mandatory last November, the clearance in front of the bedroom windows increased from 550mm to 760mm. This requires a larger window well. These clearance also applies to any obstructions around the window, like overhead hazards that prevent a safe exit.

Any time code changes, it can present new challenges for the home building industry.  So I recommend that you used a trained professional for your installation and to ensure you are meeting these codes.  Check out 5.0 Stucco for your window and exterior needs.

Excerpt from Home and Renovations – April 2016 (By Vanessa Gash)

 

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