If you want to create a better looking, more energy-efficient and most importantly, safe living space in the basement of your home, contact Green Built Northwest to install and build your egress window and window well. Green Built is up to date on current building codes, drainage requirements, and framing methods to properly build a window well for your egress window.
In order to add an egress windows to a basement, a window well is often required as most basement rooms are partially under grade level.
2015 International Residential Code (IRC)
R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue opening required.
Basements, habitable attics and every sleeping room shall have not less than one operable emergency escape and rescue opening. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be required in each sleeping room. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way. Exception: Storm shelters and basements used only to house mechanical equipment not exceeding a total floor area of 200 square feet (18.58 m2).
R310.2.2 Window sill height.
Where a window is provided as the emergency escape and rescue opening, it shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118 mm) above the floor; where the sill height is below grade, it shall be provided with a window well in accordance with Section R310.2.3.
R310.2.3 Window wells.
The horizontal area of the window well shall be not less than 9 square feet (0.9 m2), with a horizontal projection and width of not less than 36 inches (914 mm). The area of the window well shall allow the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened.
Exception: The ladder or steps required by Section R310.2.3.1 shall be permitted to encroach not more than 6 inches (152 mm) into the required dimensions of the window well.
R310.2.3.1 Ladder and steps.
Window wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the window in the fully open position. Ladders or steps required by this section shall not be required to comply with Sections R311.7 and R311.8. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of not less than 12 inches (305 mm), shall project not less than 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches (457 mm) on center vertically for the full height of the window well.
Window wells shall be designed for proper drainage by connecting to the building’s foundation drainage system required by Section R405.1 or by an approved alternative method.
Exception: A drainage system for window wells is not required where the foundation is on well-drained soil or sand-gravel mixture soils in accordance with the United Soil Classification System, Group I Soils, as detailed in Table R405.1.
R310.2.4 Emergency escape & rescue openings under decks & porches.
Emergency escape and rescue openings shall be permitted to be installed under decks and porches provided that the location of the deck allows the emergency escape and rescue openings to be fully opened and provides a path not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height to a yard or court.
R310.3 Emergency escape and rescue doors.
Where a door is provided as the required emergency escape and rescue opening, it shall be permitted to be a side-hinged door or a slider. Where the opening is below the adjacent ground elevation, it shall be provided with a bulkhead enclosure.
R310.3.1 Minimum door opening size.
The minimum net clear height opening for any door that serves as an emergency and escape rescue opening shall be in accordance with Section R310.2.1.
R310.4 Bars, grilles, covers and screens.
Bars, grilles, covers, screens or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, bulkhead enclosures, or window wells that serve such openings, provided that the minimum net clear opening size complies with Sections R310.1.1 to R310.2.3, and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool, special knowledge or force greater than that required for the normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.
R310.5 Dwelling additions.
Where dwelling additions occur that contain sleeping rooms, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be provided in each new sleeping room. Where dwelling additions occur that have basements, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be provided in the new basement. Exceptions:
An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required in a new basement that contains a sleeping room with an emergency escape and rescue opening.
An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required in a new basement where there is an emergency escape and rescue opening in an existing basement that is accessible from the new basement.
R310.6 Alterations or repairs of existing basements.
An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required where existing basements undergo alterations or repairs. Exception: New sleeping rooms created in an existing basement shall be provided with emergency escape and rescue openings in accordance with Section R310.1.
Seattle Window Well Rules
EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS SHALL BE OPERABLE FROM THE INSIDE OF THE ROOM WITHOUT THE USE OF KEYS, TOOLS OR SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE
Emergency egress rules as per WAC
- Every bedroom or other room designed expressly for sleeping purposes must have a window that meets the minimum requirements of at least 5.0 square feet of opening for emergency egress.
- Rooms that have a door, with a minimum clear opening of twenty-eight inches wide by seventy-two inches high, which opens directly to the outside do not need to have an emergency egress window.
- Windows and devices must be installed in a manner which allows for proper operation.
- The bottom of the opening of an egress window shall be no more than thirty-six inches above the floor.
Note: In some cases, the height of the bottom of the window can be increased to forty-four inches when the clear net area is increased to 5.7 square feet of opening.