When planning their window replacement, most Saskatoon homeowners ask whether they need their windows to comply with fire code. There is a lot of doubts and hearsay because some window companies will say that it is necessary, others will say it isn’t. There seems to be a lot of disagreement about permits for window expansions. Should you get a permit to enlarge a window? By law, in Canada, any room that can be used as a bedroom or a living area, must have a window that allows for escape in the event of an emergency. All work that requires window openings to be expanded must be approved by the municipality and accommodated with appropriate permits.
In order to meet minimum fire code requirements all windows installed in Canada must be at least 0.35m² (3.8ft²) with both height and width not being less than 380mm (15in) in length.
What if your windows do not meet fire code requirements
It is common for some openings in the house to not be smaller than the minimum fire code size. To comply with egress it may be necessary to cut or expand the opening to accommodate a bigger window.
One thing to think about is that most window companies don’t do cut-outs. While a cut-down is often within the scope of a window installers work, expanding the window to the side or cutting concrete is a job that requires a permit. Most companies are happy to work together with cut-out companies, but prefer to leave the work to the professionals. Even if you think your cut-out is not substantial, you should still look into whether your installation needs a permit.
Another thing to be mindful of when picking a window company in Saskatoon, is that sometimes companies will blatantly lie and say that a permit is not required for the cut-out. Because filing for a permit is the responsibility of a client, many companies simply see it as another roadblock to collecting a paycheque and avoid telling the homeowners about required paperwork. Worse yet, sometimes homeowners simply don’t want to deal with this and ask for work to be done without a permit. Best case scenario, you save a couple hours and a hundred dollars if you don’t get a permit. Worst case scenario, someone dies.
Basement Egress Windows in Saskatoon
Basement bedroom windows should comply to 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.
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.
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