Fire escape windows

Occupants of first floor habitable rooms are at risk if a fire starts at ground floor level or in an adjoining room. This risk is also present for occupants of ground floor habitable rooms whose only escape is through another room and a fire starts in that room.

The solution is to provide an external door or window that meets the following criteria:

  • it has an unobstructed openable area that is at least 0.33m2 with no dimension being less than 450mm. A clear unobstructed opening 450mm wide by 750mm high would meet this criteria

  • the bottom of the openable area should be not more than 1,100mm above the floor. In first floor rooms or ground floor rooms on steeply sloping sites they should also be no lower than 800mm unless precautions are taken to prevent falling risks and

  • the opening should be sited so that the person escaping can reach a place free from any dangers from the fire. This is ideally a street or footpath but could include an enclosed garden as long as the garden is at least as deep as the height of the dwelling.

You may also need to consider the following:

  • the need for safety glass in critical locations and

  • security implications, as escape windows should be capable of use without the need for a key.

Please note that these guidance notes are for advice only and may not cover all situations. It is your responsibility to ensure that they are appropriate for use in your particular circumstance.