Fire Escape in a Basement

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Posted by: from Maple
1/13/2019 at 1:22:46 PM

I do not have a separate door in the basement.

Would it be wise to extend the size of the window to allow me to escape in the event of a fire?

I live in Ontario and is legal to widen the size of the basement window at an additional cost payable to the multiplicity for permits/city inspections/drawings etc?

Could I DIY without any authorizations from the town/city?

Wouldn't it be wise to keep a hammer to smash the glass window and a ladder to allow me to escape through the window during a fire ?

Is it wise and is it legal to do it?


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Darren from Tackle It Renovations in Barrie
Date/Time1/13/2019 at 4:12:51 PM

It can be done and it's up to yourself whether or not you want to be legal or not and some licensed contractors will do it. Anytime you are changing or altering structure you need a permit. But opening up a basement window opening is not just a simple diy project by any means as need a special equipment and knowledge of structure. Definitely call in three contractors that specialise in this and they can point you the right direction

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Date/Time1/13/2019 at 5:18:45 PM

It must be done properly for structural reasons. The window size must be increased to have a quick release section of the window to escape through. No breaking the glass with hammers. I also strongly suggest a four step ladder be left there. Or a piece of furniture that is easy to hop up on and easy to climb up through the opening, like a drawer unit.

Hope this helps.


James Fram

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Date/Time1/13/2019 at 9:33:44 PM

The building code calls for every bedroom to have egress window.Egress window must be minimum of 3.9 sq.ft. when opened and no less than 18" in any direction.As well the building code calls for 5 sq.ft. of daylight in living area.


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Date/Time1/13/2019 at 10:00:00 PM

of course you need to have an eager window in this basement and to be used in case of emergency and should be done probably and by code

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Date/Time1/13/2019 at 10:12:23 PM

Enlarging an opening in a concrete wall may not be possible due to Code requirements for lateral support and associated limitations on allowable percentage of openings (typically no more than 25% of length of wall without reinforcement).

An exterior alteration may require development approval in your municipality.

Egress windows are required to have a minimum unobstructed opening of 0.35 m2 in area with no dimension less than 380 mm. Window suppliers will ensure that you have a compliant egress window if you tell them it is for a bedroom. Required opening must be achievable without the use of tools or special knowledge (no hammer). In the appendix of the Code it suggests (not required) installing built-in cabinetry (i.e. desk) to facilitate access to an egress window.

You will also have to make sure window wells are Code compliant and once you have a bedroom window installed now you will also need to ensure there is a hardwired and interconnected smoke alarm within the room to satisfy current Building Code.

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Date/Time1/14/2019 at 11:42:46 AM

Might be easier to lower the window sill to increase the size of egress so you don't have to change the headers

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Gerard from Betterbuilt in Burlington
Date/Time1/15/2019 at 6:33:45 PM

Hi there.....

Check-out Rockwell window wells.

Of course this is only for the outside and still needs a new window cut(lower) into the basement concrete/block wall.

.....and a little bit of outside landscaping.

Hope this helps.


Gerard Schoeman

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