Building Code

Fall Protection and Egress Requirements for Impact Windows

An illustrative explanation of fall protection guidelines and egress requirements when replacing existing windows for hurricane impact windows in Florida.




June 3, 2017

If you are replacing the existing windows of your property for impact windows, you should know that the new windows must comply with the existing Florida Building Code's egress rules. The Code stipulates that bedrooms must have at least two ways of egress in case of emergency. A door to a different room or to the outside counts as one way of egress. To comply, a bedroom must have a second way of egress through a window or through another door leading to the outside of the property, such as a patio door. If your bedroom does not have a patio door, then at least one window shall meet the egress dimensions determined by the Code as per the following criteria.

Window Egress Criteria as per the Florida Building Code

- Minimum width of 20 inches

- Minimum height of 24 inches

- Minimum net clear opening of 5.0 square feet at grade floor and 5.7 square feet otherwise

It is very important that your window contractor takes into account this egress rule to avoid installing a window style that will not pass inspection. For example, a single-hung which is 37 inches wide by 50 5/8 inches tall does NOT pass egress. However, a casement window of the same dimensions does pass egress.

Fall Protection

Based on Section 1013.8 of the Florida Building Code 5th Edition (2014), design professionals must take into consideration a minimum window sill height if the opening is located more than 72 inches above the finish grade. Where this condition exists, the operable part of a window must not be at less than 36 inches above the finished floor surface of the room in which the window is located. If the operable window sill is less than 36 inches above the finish surface, then design professionals must specify other means of fall protection, such as installing guard rails that do not allow a 4-inch diameter sphere to pass through.

We created a video illustration below to further explain this particular condition.

For additional information about this topic, you can call us at 1-305-328-3198.