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FHA bedroom window above ground

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StephHigdem

Thread Starter
Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Idaho
Why does FHA have very specific below grade window requirements, but very vague above ground requirements?

I currently have 2 older homes for FHA. One has 2'x6' windows over 44 inches from the floor. I said they do not meet FHA egress standards & the lender is screaming. The other has 3' x 3' sliders (1.5' x 3' opening) located 42 inches off the ground. I'm leaning towards stating those don't meet FHA standards. It seems to me if a basement window needs to have a net clear opeingin for 2' x 3' that an above grade should as well. (I have a call in to the local building department; but I'll bet dollars to donuts that they will say for an existing home, they don't care unless they are replaced - then they would have to meet code.)

What criteria do you all use when determining if an above grade window meets egress standards?

Thanks, as always.
 

stefan olafson

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2003
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
North Dakota
Local building codes regulate window size above grade. Below grade FHA standards are there because egress windows must be that size or larger, that far off the floor or lower to allow a fireman with a backpack air tank access to the basement and to allow someone in the basement the ability to open or break out the windows and be able to escape.

A friend of mine had her house inundated in our famous flood in 1997, the water was up three feet on her main floor. When she went to get the building permit to remove and replace the insulation, sheetrock, siding, and flooring, the city made her remove the old awning windows located toward the top of the wall with larger windows lower.

That's my take on it...
 

StephHigdem

Thread Starter
Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Idaho
I got a call back from Santa Ana HOC yesterday; spoke with a very nice young man. He said it's our call, there is no specific guideline (which we knew). However, he felt it should be reasonably possible for a kid to crawl through or for an adult to bust out. (I guess the elderly and/or disable are out of luck on this one.) So I guess if we can defend it as egressable (is that word?), we're good to go with FHA.
 
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