Egress Code in Winnipeg
Basements are great. You can use it for a living room, or a games room. You can rent it out to make some extra money. Heck you can even make your teenager move his bedroom down there so you don't have to listen to him stomping around at 2 o'clock in the morning. But a basement that doesn't comply with building code can be dangerous. Without a second exit anyone in the basement could become trapped if there were a fire in the single stairway down. Not good. That's why egress codes were written and that's why you need to follow it. In a basement in Winnipeg, the easiest way to achieve is it typically by installing an egress window. But not every window counts as an egress window in Winnipeg?
What are Winnipeg Egress Window Requirements?
- The window must be openable from the inside without the use of tools or special knowledge.
- It must provide an unobstructed opening with a minimum area of 0.35 sq. m. (3.77 sq. ft.) with no dimension less than 380 mm (1’3”).
- There must be a 760 mm (2’6”) space of clearing in front of the window.
- Where a window sash swings towards a window well, it must not do so in a way that would restrict escape in an emergency.
What are Egress Windows?
Egress means to go out. Egress windows, then, are windows you can use to leave your home. While they may seem like a regulatory burden, these windows furnish occupants with natural light, provide a source of natural ventilation, and can become a lifesaver in an emergency. If there is a fire in your home, for example, a single stairwell may become unusable, leaving family members and tenants without a clear path to safety. For bedrooms and floors with doors that lead directly outside, these windows are not strictly necessary. This is because there are clear escape routes that can be taken in the case of an emergency. In basements, however, egress windows are essential and, if there is a bedroom, required by law.
Winnipeg Building Codes
The City of Winnipeg has released their construction requirements for lower level development in residential dwellings, a fancy way of saying that it is a guide for how basements need to be built. Within the guide, bedrooms have very specific requirements. Egress windows are necessary unless there is a door that leads from the bedroom outside. The window must be openable from the inside without the use of tools or special knowledge, and it must provide an unobstructed opening with a minimum area of 0.35 sq. m. (3.77 sq. ft.) with no dimension less than 380 mm (1’3”). There also needs to be a 760 mm (2’6”) space of clearing in front of the window, including if the window opens into a window well. The window must also not open in such a way that would impede escape in the event of an emergency. If your existing lower level windows do not meet the required size, they will need to be replaced or the bedroom will not be permitted.
With an unobstructed clear opening of 0.357 square meters and the smallest clear opening height being 380 mm, Window A would pass Manitoba Egress. It is important to note that, since the height is so small, the width must be rather large to meet the area requirements.
This window has the smallest square dimensions that will meet the area requirements. 592 mm x 592 mm leaves the window with exactly the 3.5 square meter clear opening required to pass egress.
This window meets the requirements for smallest dimension (380 mm), however it does not meet the minimum requirements for area. This window would not pass egress in Manitoba.
To put it all simply, if you are developing your basement in Winnipeg you will need an egress window that has a wide clearance and be easily opened. The Great Egress Company provides a curated collection of windows that meet egress requirements. The easiest way to get your hands on a code-compliant egress window is to let us ship one straight to your door. Have a look for yourself.
Our windows come in several types and sizes that will pass egress in Winnipeg. If you need a specific size or a specific colour, we can have a custom window made just for you.