BCAB #970 - Windows - Means of Egress, Articles, and;

January 26, 1988

BCAB #970

Re: Windows - Means of Egress, Articles, and;

With reference to your letter of December 31, 1987, regarding the requirements for windows in relation to a means of egress. We understand that the questions relate to dwelling units, and for simplicity have dealt directly with the Code Sections indicated in your letter.

Article - This is a general provision for all Part 9 buildings and states that windows shall not be considered as forming part of a required means of egress.

Subsection 9.9.9. - This deals specifically with the means of egress from a dwelling unit. Article limits the extent of travel within the unit, to reach the exit.

Article provides a variation for a detached dwelling unit, or side by side dwelling units. It permits a relaxation of Article provided that the storey in contravention of Article is served by an openable window of stated dimensions. The window sill is limited in height above the floor, and above adjacent ground level. In this case we take the height as applying to the sill of the actual opening portion of the window unit.

Basically this relaxation requires an available window suitable for use as an emergency exit. To avoid any misunderstanding regarding the size of the window opening, the Code uses the word "unobstructed" and we take this to mean that the window is capable of providing an effective passage of these dimensions when it is fully open, from inside the building to the outside.

Article - This requires the provision of at least one window suitable for use as an emergency exit in all bedrooms, unless the bedroom has a door providing direct access to the exterior. The clarification of opening size included for Article would also apply to Article

Article - This merely amplifies Article to deal with a condition where a window opens into a window-well. It would only involve a window with a hinged sash, and is intended to ensure that the emergency exit provisions are not restricted.

We would point out that two completely different issues are involved. One is a required means of egress from a dwelling unit, provided by doors. The other is the use of windows as emergency exits.

J.C. Currie, Chair