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Emergency exit Code (Egress)

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Emergency exit Code (Egress)

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What if your children’s lives depended on it?

The “Fire Code” standard of the National Building Code (NBC 9.9.10.1 & A-9.9.10.1) refers to windows or doors being used as emergency exits in bedrooms.

This requirement exists to ensure the evacuation of a building in case of fire. This is not a recent National Building Code standard; rather that, in recent years, we have seen a renewal of this requirement from municipal inspectors and architects. If the blueprints identify a room as a home office, once you receive building approval, you can no longer use it as a bedroom!

So, if you recently applied for a construction or renovation plan, there is a good chance that the architect required the installation of “Egress” windows for main floor or basement bedrooms. The safety of all family members, especially the safety of your children, is at stake. For this reason, Egress-certified windows are equipped with a simple operating mechanism that requires no additional tools, so that a child can easily get out in case of an emergency if normal exits cannot be used.

Fenplast doors and windows can of course be Egress-certified. Only the dimensions of doors and windows influence compliance.

If you are planning to set up a basement bedroom for your teenager in the near future and the room does not comply with the National Building Code for emergency exits, the following section will offer you an interesting option!

Window wells: the solution for a bright and secure basement!

Scapewel
One solution that can be both secure and attractive, and will make your new basement development project compliant with the National Building Code are window wells.

Depending on their design, window wells — first and foremost safe — can indeed serve as emergency exits. As a matter of fact, municipalities are looking to apply more and more the National Building Code standards for emergency exits in bedrooms. So, if you want to build a new room in the basement, you will need to provide an opening for evacuation in the event of a fire.

There are different kinds of window wells, such as Scapewel, Stakwel and standard window wells. The first two have the advantage of allowing more natural light and respecting the requirements of the National Building Code regarding emergency exits. The main difference between these two window-well styles is that Scapewel can be landscaped with plants and flowers, which allows better integration into the décor. Note that, with Scapewel, several variations in design and materials can be used. Given its more attractive appearance, Scapewel is slightly more expensive than Stakwel.

Standard window wells (curbs) are even more economical. These are used when the threshold clearance of a window is not adequate in relation to the ground level. They help reduce rotting window sills and improve drainage around them. Good drainage limits problems related to humidity and water infiltration. Despite these benefits, standard window wells are not recognized as exit routes (egress).

Stakwel
In conclusion, window wells should be installed around each window located near or under ground level. For security needs regarding a basement bedroom, choose a Scapewel or Stakwel type window well.

For more information on window wells, please contact a foundation expert.

Sources : SMR Experts et Bilco.

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