Bedroom window sill heights

Does any body know when the rule came in effect for bedroom egress windows. (44 max. rule to sill) Had a home that was built early 80’s. Window sill was at 47.5 :slight_smile:

As far as I know this was a new requirement of the ICC Codes when they were created for the 2000 Code cycle.

And if I understand correctly, Texas allows ICC Code adoptions by municipality and not as part of any mandatory State Code.

That said, unless you know under which building code (if any) this house was constructed, there really isn’t anything to report ‘rule’ wise…

You could note to your client that these windows could hinder emergency escape or rescue during a fire or other emergency, but few existing homes would comply with the modern 44" sill heights for emergency escape and rescue openings for bedrooms and sleeping rooms.

My own personal residence, built in 1956, does not have a single window in any bedroom that meets the 44 sill height/20 wide-24 high net clear openings.

I believe it was some time in the 60’s, but I can say with absolute certainty, a home built in the 80’s would have been subject to that rule.

I thought that was just basement egress. The 44" rule applies to all bedroom windows?

Yep. . .

No. An “Emergency Egress and Rescue Opening” is required in each sleeping room, but only one such window in the room is required. The dimensions vary from IRC code version to IRC code version. The requirement did not exist before the 2000 version of the IRC, I don’t believe. The 44" maximum sill height is the same from version to version, but the size of the clear opening varies, from 4 square feet to 5.7 square feet, depending on the code version in effect. The 2006 IRC also has a minimum sill height, which complicates matters somewhat.

My house was built in 1967, and all the windows are sill heights of 44", but are only 28"x 16". Well half of it was right. ha. ha.
Maybe it’s because people were smaller back then.:mrgreen:


I don’t know if you done any permit research, but this would be under the exsiting building code for today. If they done some recent renovations then it would depend on how much (% of floor area) they done to the structure. That would determine how much they would have to bring up to code. If there has not been any renovations then it is considered legal nonconforming.

I assumed that’s what he was referring to - not all windows, but all bedrooms.

So if a bedroom has, say, 3 windows. Only one of them has to meet the egress requirements, right?


Thanks Jeff

I noted it in the report. The home had 3 upstairs bedrooms and all windows (9 of them) had sill hieghts of 47 to 47 1/2"). Let them know its not up to todays standards.