window egress for bedrooms

I’ve seen some different numbers when in comes to egress size for bedroom windows… but does this include removing a sash? or both?.. i have a newly constructed home with a bottom openning size of 38" wide by 14.5 high… of course double that if you count removing the sashes…

anyone have different take on this?

there is a casement window in same room that is taller but only about 18" wide…

20" min. wide 24" min high wilth total of no less that 5 sq. ft. clear space for ground floor. 5.7 sq ft. for others.

do you interpret that as without removing the sashes? ex. double hung windows?

yes that is clear opening, not tools or tools to operate. no removal


When you say remove the sashes, do you mean they come completely out?
The ones I have seen are attached to counterweight or some type of hardware.

They are for emergency escape.
Who’s going to know to remove the sash in an emergency?

yes these are simple anderson windows… the sashes pop right out… for cleaning…

that was my interpretation as well… someone may not know how to removed… but i wanted to be clear before i wrote it up… i showed my clients how they operate none the less…

by the way that photo is not stretched… .that is how they look…

I right them up as questionable egress window not meeting current accepted building practices and to check with local fire and safety officials for current requirements.


That window size appears to be fine.

“Click to Enlarge”

David where is that from?

It 20" min height in my area and 5 sq ft. Neither of which his window meets.

Someone do the math, I gotta go…

38" wide by 14.5 high

I already did.
3.826 sq. ft. for Mr. Campbell’s window and several of your’s are less that 5 sq. ft. too.

Also should have a total window area equaling at least 8 percent of floor area in the room.

Hi. Jeff;

Here is my take,

Section R310

The net clear opening dimensions required by this section shall be obtained by the normal operation of the evergency escape and rescue opening from the inside.

Minimum opening Areas. All evergency escape and rescue openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5.7 square feet.

exception; Grade floor openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5 square feet.

R310.1.2 Minimum opening height. 24"

R310.1.3 Minimum opening width. 20"

And those are clear openings.

Window size of 38" x 14 & 1/2" = 3.83 sq. ft. in clear area.

So by the letter of the IRC it does not meet that code.

I believe these same requirements are listed under the NFPA 101.
I would check and see if the local jurisdiction enforces this or have their own requirements.

Marcel :smiley: :smiley:

Very true.

I inspect in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The requirements I gave are for Minnesota.

Wisconsin is a bit different in that in only requires the 20" and 24" minimums irrespective of height and width for bedroom egress and does not requires 5 sq. ft. minimum clear space. The 8% natural light requirment is also required.
A typical 12 x 12 room would need 11.52 sq. ft. of window area. So if there is only a single window it would still likely meet the 5 sq.ft. clear area.

Marcel has got it. Around here we want the minimum 20" wide and 24" high to aid the firemen with their backpacks as much as for people escaping.

That height requirement was based on that fact Larry, thanks for bring that up.

I would also like to point out that you could possibly meet the 8% natural light condition for a room and still not meet the secondary means of egress due to the type of window installed in the dwelling.

Single or double hung windows will provide the most clear area, the Casement window decreases the frame opening area.
The awning is out of the question, the jealousy is out of the question.

So the definition of Clear Opening has it’s merit.

Hope this helps.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

thanks for info guys… great input!

Jeffrey…did you take away from these 16 posts that the answer is No, the window depicted in post #1 does not meet the emergency egress requirements?


yep sure did… and that is what i thought… i was second guessing my self by asking if removing the sashes of double hung windows would allow for the larger openning…