BCAB #970 - Windows - Means of Egress, Articles 220.127.116.11., 18.104.22.168. and; 22.214.171.124.
January 26, 1988
Re: Windows - Means of Egress, Articles 126.96.36.199., 188.8.131.52. and; 184.108.40.206.
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 220.127.116.11. - 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 18.104.22.168. limits the extent of travel within the unit, to reach the exit.
Article 22.214.171.124. provides a variation for a detached dwelling unit, or side by side dwelling units. It permits a relaxation of Article 126.96.36.199. provided that the storey in contravention of Article 188.8.131.52. 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 184.108.40.206. - 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 220.127.116.11. would also apply to Article 18.104.22.168.
Article 22.214.171.124. - This merely amplifies Article 126.96.36.199. 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