A replacement window project is something that should be done once and not again for many years.

During our consultation appointments, we noticed that many window companies do not inform the homeowners about bedroom window regulation, and end up installing windows that do not meet the provincial fire code standard. Not only is this unlawful, it can lead to death.

We will summarize all the ins and out of Egress Windows size specifications that you should know.

Although bedroom windows are not considered to be ordinary escape routes, they can be used as exits in case of a fire if the window size and type allow for it.

When should you get egress windows?

The Public Health Act states the following:

For buildings of 3 stories or less and except where a bedroom door provides access directly to the exterior, or the suite is sprinklered, each bedroom shall have at least one outside window which may be opened from the inside without the use of tools or special knowledge.

Windows should be easy to operate and obviously openable. Any type of window that requires several steps to operate requires “special knowledge”.

Casement Egress WindowsFull Vent Inswing Egress WindowsSlider_Egress_Windows
Approved Window Styles for Egress Windows

Check out this video above getting egress windows in your bedrooms:

What is the minimum size for egress windows?

Windows referred to above shall provide unobstructed openings with areas not less than 0.35 m2 (3.8ft2), with no dimension less than 380 mm (15 in.). The unobstructed opening must be measured between the window components (sashes, jambs, sills, opening mechanisms, etc.)

Egress Windows

(ii) If the window referred above is provided with security bars, the security bars shall be installed so they may be opened from the inside without the use of any tools or special knowledge.

It is recommended that the sill of windows intended for use as emergency exits is not higher than 1.5m above the floor. Windows in basement bedrooms should have improved access, for example, by installing built-in furniture below the window.

What you need to know about basement egress windows

Basement bedroom windows should comply with the same rules as above ground bedroom windows with the following addition when the window opens into a window well: Where a window required for a bedroom opens into a window well, a clearance of at least 760 mm (30 in.) must be provided in front of the window. Where the sash swings toward the window well, the operation of the sash must not reduce the clearance in a manner that would restrict escape in an emergency.

New requirements in Calgary mandate that the window well opening should be 30in deep, from the previous 22in.
New requirements in Calgary mandate that the window well opening should be 30in deep, from the previous 22in.

In many cases when basement windows are converted into bedroom basement windows, concrete cutting might be required in order to enlarge the existing window opening. In such cases many window replacement companies recommend hiring a company that will enlarge the window opening based on the proper window size that will be given by the window replacement company. This work usually requires a permit from your municipality, so make sure to clarify with your company whether your window installation requires any additional approvals. As the homeowner, you are usually required to obtain and secure cut-out permit. After the opening is enlarged, the new window will be installed.

Egress window in basement
When it comes to getting new windows in a basement, you may need to expand the opening for them to meet egress requirements.

If you are planning to convert basement windows into bedroom basement windows in the future make sure to inform the window product consultant about your intentions at the time of appointment.

Learn everything you need to know about window sizes and egress windows: