How New Egress Window Requirements Could Impact Your Renovation Plans
In the past, basements were not built with windows, allowing control over the air and temperature of the room to store food for long periods of time. Today, basements are used for recreation, sleeping, and more. However, if you plan to convert your basement into a bedroom or living space, you need to note that there are specific building codes and regulations from the City that you must abide by. One of the main requirements for a basement renovation project is window wells for egress windows.
Window wells are semi-circular excavations which surround basement windows. They are usually built from solid barriers of plastic, corrugated galvanized metal, masonry, or pressure-treated wood. They are meant to allow the window to open completely, and most importantly help people escape in case of emergencies.
However, before you call your contractor, you should know that window wells must be of a specific size. Previously, they had to be twenty-two inches out from the house, but quite recently this measure has been revised to thirty inches. In other words, even though you may have an unfinished basement, if you want a bedroom added, the window well will have to be expanded.
Given this new change, we found that many clients do not want to invest in expanding their window wells, so most of them do not call their basement bedroom a bedroom. In this case, the basement would have to be called a den or office for the City to approve your permit.
From the point of safety, this rule gives you a larger window well to get in and out of, as it is essential for firefighters if they ever need to get in during a fire. The cons of this change are the cost that clients must bear and the requirement for space on the outside of the house. If there is a sidewalk right outside, you may not have the room to expand the window well.
At Affordable Basement Renovations Ltd., we can take care of all the work and permits associated with well-windows, including all exterior excavations and drainages. We have completed over four hundred basement transformations, and we are fully licensed, bonded, insured, and have an A+ BBB rating.
With over twenty years of experience, Affordable Basement Renovations Ltd. is capable of creating the basement you’ve always wanted. We are a full-service basement renovation company in Calgary, AB, and as we’ve seen what looks and works great for different situations, we can help turn your dreams into reality.