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Community and Q&A

Egress window needed?

Roger_S39 | Posted in General Questions on

Hi all,

Is an egress window required for a master bedroom walk-in closet if:

– Closet is accessed by walking from master bedroom through master bathroom and through an interior door to the closet. 
-Closet is ~150-200sq.ft. and has two ~3×6 windows that are planned not to open…. better seal is the thought.

*Concern is:
-What happens if a quick burning fire breaks out in master bedroom and there is no window opening in the closet or bathroom and someone is in the closet?
-Does code say it is not a sleeping area so no need for egress window?
-Does code say egress window needed because closet has a door and is its own area? 

-Code followed would be 2012 edition.
-House is slab on grade.
-1st floor master bedroom/closet

Thank you.

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  1. Expert Member


    I'm not as familiar with your code as with ours, but I've never heard of egress requirements within a dwelling unit for any room except a bedroom. There can be provisions that mandate more than one exit from a floor, and maximum distances to an exit from a floor area, but nothing I've ever seen about a specific room, except bedrooms, and never for the situation you describe.

    Edit. This may help clarify things:

    1. Roger_S39 | | #2

      Thank you for the response Malcolm.

      The link is great for anyone wanting to better understand the topic... Much appreciated.

  2. bob_swinburne | | #3 is a place to look up the text of your local code for free.

  3. walta100 | | #4

    Try to remember code is the minimum standard you are allowed to build.

    The real question is how do you feel about the closet with only one exit and will your local government approve your plans without one?


    1. gary__b | | #5

      Personally I'd feel quite fine. But if one is really concerned, keep a hammer in the closet.

  4. rockies63 | | #6

    All the code requirements in the world won't matter if you are trapped in that closet during a fire without an opening window.

  5. Expert Member

    The logic behind requiring egress from sleeping areas is that they are rooms where occupants spend a considerable amount of time while being unaware of their surroundings. That's a perfect storm of circumstances which might allow a fire to develop and block escape. None of that is present when using a closet, and I don't see practically much distinction between the threat posed by a closet accessed through a bathroom, and a bathroom with no closet attached - or for that matter any room without a window that can be closed off from the house by a door.

  6. MattJF | | #8

    If possible, make the window in the bathroom operable. There are times direct fresh air supply can be very beneficial in that room. This is even with a ventilation fan. Besides human bio related reasons, bathrooms require use of cleaners like bleach at times that benefit from ventilating quickly from the space. A casement of single hung window would make sense.

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