Better Business Bureau
about the NFRC
Healthy House Solution
Building Performance Contractors
homes already have egress-compliant bedroom
windows, but some that we encounter were
built before the egress issue became code.
In those cases the windows are higher
above the floor or too small for a person
to easily escape through. Since the home
was built before the current code came
into effect, leaving those windows as
they are is not a violation, but once
a decision has been made to replace those
windows with anything new, they must be
replaced with egress-compliant windows.
least one window in each bedroom must
be of sufficient size to permit the occupants
to escape a fire and also to allow a fully
outfitted firefighter to enter.
width of opening - 20 inches
height of opening - 24 inches
net clear opening: 5.7 sq. ft. (5.0
sq. ft. for ground floor).
sill height above floor: 44 in.
is a good code: it has evolved through tragic
experience and is intended to help save
the lives of your loved ones in the event
of a home fire or other emergency. No responsible
contractor or homeowner would or should
consider non-compliance. There are a few
ways to make a non-compliant window safe
and legal, depending in part on what we’re
first glance, you might assume that
a 20-in. by 24-in. window (A) would
be acceptable for egress. Those dimensions
would yield a net clear opening of
only 3.3 sq. ft.
achieve the required net clear opening
of 5.7 sq. ft., a 20-in. wide window
(B) would have to be 42 in. high.
a 24-in. high window (C) would have
to be 35 in. wide.
and recommendations are part of the consultant’s
job when meeting with homeowners that
are considering an upgrade to energy-efficient
window replacement. You can also check
with your local Department of Building
and Safety and request a printout of their
specific requirements for compliance.