Increasing the window opening in your basement is a good idea. If you own an older home with basement living space or are building a brand new home, there are a few things you need to do.

The windows serve a purpose. They can be used as an exit in a fire, flood or other emergency. You have to install them on a permanent basis. You need a permit to open the windows.

You need a building permit to make sure the windows are up to date. You will be able to keep any other local and state basement waterproofing regulations. Permits make sure the safety of the people in your home and keep problems at bay.

It doesn’t mean that it will fit all your needs, you only have to meet the least amount of specifications. If the home is older, you may have to make some changes.

The idea is that a healthy person can get into or out of a building with ease. You may have to plan your windows according to the size of the space you are in.

You can ask your building department and inspectors’ offices any questions. Every state and city may have their own version of the irr. They may have a way to get the permit.

What is the IRC?

The International Code Council created the International Residential Code to set global standards. This code has been adopted by local and state legislators.

The code is updated every three years. All new single- and two- family homes are influenced by the IRC.

You need to check with your local authority. You can find out which version is being enforced at the time you plan on installing them.

Section R310 is the reason you need a permit.

In the case of an emergency, all basement and below-ground bedroom areas should have at least one rescue or escape. Free access into a yard, alley, court, or street should be given.

If the basement is a living space, you have to have an exit window in every instance.

There are a few exceptions If there are adjoining areas, you only need one window. When the below-ground space is for storing equipment, you don’t have to have an exit window.

Egress Window Requirements Under the IRC

The size, shape and opening size are very strict. Make sure that the windows in your home are safe.

  • The window should be at least 24” long.
  • The window must be at least 44” from the floor.
  • The smallest opening clearance is 5.7 square feet.
  • The window must be at least 20” in width.
  • The glass of the window needs to be at least 8% of the floor’s total area.
  • The opening area has to be at least 4% larger than the floor in order to allow for good air quality.

You need window wells if the window is below ground level. The window opening mechanism has no obstructions. The window to the back of the well has to start at 36” and the area of the well has to be 9 square feet.

Well Grates; Covers

A person should be able to open the well without using a device.

Steps; Ladders

If the well is going to exceed 44” and be deeper than the base requirements, steps or ladders are needed. They need to be off the back of the wall by three feet.

Acquiring a Window Permit in Your Area

If you decide to build a new structure or update an old one, you must follow all local and state building codes. If you don’t, you could end up in trouble that may cost you more.

It is important to contact your local building department and officials because you are going to need a permit for the window. Getting a permit will save you from legal issues that may arise down the road and ensure that specifics meet the standards.

Depending on your local laws, some contractors will be able to get the permit for you on your own. The home owner is the only one who can apply.

The cost of a window permit should be less than the entire cost of the window permit. The price for your permit will depend on the total estimated value. When determining the budget and how much to spend, keep this in mind.

The Importance of the Permit Process

It is necessary to have an egress window in order to be safe during an emergency. If you don’t keep your home up to code, you may run into legal problems. A permit is the first step.


“2018 International Residential Code” (

“Building Planning Codes: IRC Code Section R310” (

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.