My question was about the square footage recommendations for a window well. It states that for emergency egress from a basement, a window well (which is necessary for a window below grade) must extend a minimum of 36 inches from the window (projection) and the window must be at least 36" wide. This would give a 3 x 3 = 9 square foot area.
However, most wells in my area are window wells that are semicircular with a 36" diameter of the circle. As testament to the prevalence of these wells, our local home depot stocks these:
The description is this:
The 19 in. x 44 in. Plastic Window Well Cover is a heavy-duty cover manufactured from plastic. It helps keep your window well clean by keeping out rain, snow, small animals and debris. The easy-to-install cover is designed to fit window wells of 40 in. or less in length and 16 in. or less in projection from the house. The cover adds to the energy efficiency of your basement and allows light to enter your basement window.
If you do the calculations, you can see that 40 x 16 = 640 square inches, and 640/144 = 4.4 square feet, which is half of the standard allowance.
(and I just found this out because I read it incorrectly before)
This rule applies to basements THAT HAVE SLEEPING AREAS.
As the standards course states (and I overlooked):
“Where basements have one or more sleeping room, an emergency egress and rescue opening should be installed for each sleeping room, but is not required in adjoining areas of the basement.”
I take this to mean that basements that are not used for sleeping have no requirements on window well sizes, and/or window sizes. So for all of the below-grade windows that are prevalent around here (and many are made out of glass block, which is considered masonry), the 9 square foot rule of the window wells is something that should be noted if the homeowner intends to use the basement as residential quarters, and that’s how I’ll document it.
Would this language be appropriate in a report?
“Basement windows are hopper-style enclosed by glass block, and measure 6” x 12". The windows can not be used for emergency egress. The galvanized steel window well projects 18" and is 36" at the window. Both the window and the area of this well is below accepted standards for safe emergency egress. If the basement is to be used as a sleeping quarters, then a window should be installed that meets the following requirements:
- 5.7 square feet in area, with a minimum width of 20 inches and minimum height of 24 inches
- No higher than 44 inches from the ground
- Well with 9 square feet in area