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County Department: DHCA
Basement Emergency Egress Windows
The windows shall be at least five (5) square feet in net clear opening and must be operational from the inside without the use of keys, tools or special knowledge. The window must have a minimum net clear opening height of 24 inches and a minimum net clear opening width of 20 inches, with the bottom of the opening not more than 44 inches above the floor. If double hung removable sash windows are installed, the five (5) square feet in net clear opening must be achieved without removing the upper sash. If you have to install window wells in order to enlarge the windows, the well shall have horizontal dimensions that allow the window of the emergency escape opening to be fully opened. The horizontal dimensions of the window well shall provide a minimum net clear area of nine (9) square feet with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches. The depth of the well will have to be whatever depth is required in order to lower the interior window sill to no more than 44 inches in height measured from the floor to the window sill. Window wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches below the adjacent ground level shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the window in the fully openable position. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of at least 12 inches, shall project at least three (3) inches from the wall and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches on center vertically for the full height of the window well. A drain line in most cases will be needed for proper drainage of the well. A certified engineer or a professional builder should be consulted for advice and for the installation of the window well. You must also contact the Department of Permitting Services by calling 240-777-0311 (311 from inside the County) to determine if a building permit is required for enlarging the window(s) and installing a window well.


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