A common question from clients when viewing a basement bedroom: “Is that a legal size window?”
Below are some of the bylaw, code requirements and considerations for basement development for the City of Calgary:
- For bedrooms, provide an unobstructed opening of NOT less than 0.35 m² (3.8ft²) in area with no dimension less than 380 mm (15”).
- This window shall be openable from the inside without the use of tools or special knowledge. Normally, only slider and casement type windows meet this requirement.
Does the dimension and area given above refer to the size of the entire window opening or the size of the moveable panel?
The key word is “unobstructed.” The intent of this requirement is to provide an alternative means of escape from the bedroom in case of an emergency. Therefore any obstructions which cannot be easily and safely removed is not acceptable within the area dimensions. Please see picture below for example:
The minimum dimension requirement is waived where a bedroom door provides direct access to the exterior.
Where a window with the minimum dimension is required and that window opens into a windowwell, a clearance of at least 760mm shall be provided in front of the window.
Where the sash swings towards the window-well, the operation of the sash should not reduce the clearance in a manner that restricts escape
in an emergency.
For current information and more details, please visit the City of Calgary website.