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Egress window sill height

Discussion in 'Residential Building Codes' started by alaskajoe, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. alaskajoe

    alaskajoe Registered User

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    I have a sill height of 44" but code says clear opening is where the measurement is taken. With the bottom rail the clear opening is 46". Would a 12" deep by 4" tall step for the full width of the window be acceptable. I would have it solidly affixed to the floor and wall. I realize anything can be removed at any time in the future but on inspection it would meet the intent of the code.
     
  2. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    Put a step below it on the interior.
     
  3. Inspector Gift

    Inspector Gift Sawhorse - Made in USA

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    Our code states the 44" is "measured from the "floor". We would not accept a step. However, we have accepted raised floor areas (ie., landings) that are as wide as the window opening, and at least 36" deep
     
    Ty J. likes this.
  4. my250r11

    my250r11 Sawhorse

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    If you have the 5.7 sf. and 20" W by 24" H clear opening you still meet the minimum. The grade floor openings have the exc. to only have 5.0 sf of opening.
     
    #4 my250r11, Aug 15, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  5. Ty J.

    Ty J. Sawhorse

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    This is our interpretation as well. A step does not constitute a floor area.
     
  6. Ty J.

    Ty J. Sawhorse

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    Huh?

    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.
     
  7. my250r11

    my250r11 Sawhorse

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    I fixed it.;)
     
    #7 my250r11, Aug 15, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  8. alaskajoe

    alaskajoe Registered User

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    Here we are again in the mud wrestling with the same guy. He says a fixed permanent 12" step in front of the windows meets the intent of the code. I am going with a 36" landing the width of the windows or lower the window is what I want. No comply no CO. If this was a remodel or an attempt at code upgrades ,maybe, but there is no excuse on new construction. Am I being too harsh?
     
  9. Builder Bob

    Builder Bob Sawhorse

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    NO - the platform makes for a ripping hazard for fire fighters when they are in a smoke filled house.
     
  10. ADAguy

    ADAguy Registered User

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    Also be wary of replacement windows installed within the existing sill which may raise the height.
     
  11. mtlogcabin

    mtlogcabin Registered User

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    2012 IRC
    Where emergency escape and rescue openings are provided they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118 mm) measured from the finished floor to the bottom of the clear opening.

    The 2012 was very confusing since the clear opening and the sill height usually are not the same. The 2018 uses the sill height to determine code compliance and you measure from the floor not a step

    2018 IRC
    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;
     
  12. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    Have him move the sill way below the window. :p There is no definition of sill in the code book. The code book should say opening.
     
  13. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    2016 CA Residential Code R310.2.5 Replacement windows

    Replacement windows installed in buildings meeting the scope of this code shall be exempt from the maximum sill height requirements of Sections R310.1 and Sections R310.2.1 and R310.2.2, provided the replacement window meets the following conditions:
    1. The replacement window is the manufacturer’s largest standard size window that will fit within the existing frame or existing rough opening. The replacement window is of the same operating style as the existing window or a style that provides for an equal or greater window opening area than the existing window.
    2. The replacement window is not part of a change of occupancy.
     
  14. JPohling

    JPohling Sawhorse

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    I am confused as to your responsibility on this project. Your last post indicates that you want the window to be lowered and it is new construction. It sounds like your the homeowner? If that is the case I would require them to lower the window to provide a code compliant situation. The step/landing is a band aid for a improperly installed window. also 12" tall step? how is that compliant? Have them do it right.
     
  15. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    We allow a step...

    (Amd) 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.
    Exception: The 44-inch (1118 mm) maximum sill height shall be permitted to be measured
    vertically above a fixed, permanent platform, step or steps whose minimum width shall equal
    or exceed the operable width of the opening and shall be centered on such opening and which
    shall comply with Sections R311.7.5.1 and R311.7.5.2. Glazing in windows complying with
    this exception shall not be subject to the provisions of Section R308.4.6 or R308.4.7.
     
  16. Bryant

    Bryant Registered User

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    A little back story on the window well. Originally in the Fire prevention code and as such, a way for rescuing the occupants from within. The 3 square area if memory serves me well, is for a firefighter with running gear to be able to enter the SFD. Several code cycles back the window well was introduced into the residential code along with all the requirements for height, width, etc. When looking at it from the depth of the window well being over 44 inches, what does the code require? rung/ladder type of exiting apparatus. What is the difference inside the home? The ability to get out. In a former jurisdiction, applying a rung to the framed wall that allows escape was considered a viable option instead of a box stair or landing, granted this is in an existing condition. In new construction, no way nor no excuse on the builder. I suppose a code modification could substitute in that case if the BO accepts it as such.
    Some years ago during an inspection for a renovation, the window opening met the height requirement, but the window was, I swear 2 feet deep (double block wall) and you really had to make a grab to get to the window. A semi/permeant step fixed the problem basically bolted to the floor and lagged to the stud wall....:rolleyes:
     
  17. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    My 5' - 2" mother would never be able to get out that window if it is 44" high.
     
  18. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

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    If the contractor can't get the window sill height, might want to check the window egress measurements. In the future maybe this guys plans need a call out so it doesn't have to be revisited? This isn't anything new, been in the code for awhile.
     
  19. alaskajoe

    alaskajoe Registered User

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    What year is that exception in?
     

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