Sunday, June 18, 2006

Do Building Codes Require Windows That Are Too Big?

Erin from bearing blog posts on the recent accident in Minneapolis where a 2 year old child fell through a window of her home on the fourth floor of a building. Erin, an engineer by training asks a lot of good questions using her own home with photographs as an example..

This past week, a toddler girl fell from a fourth-story apartment window in South Minneapolis. She's doing better, but is still in critical condition, according to this Star Tribune story.

An issue in this story is the conflict between fire-safety codes (bigger, easy-to-open windows are better) and commonsense child-safety principles (hard-to-open, not-so-big-that-they're-close-to-the-floor windows are better). As far as I know, there aren't any requirements that upper-story windows should be difficult for children to open. It seems that the fire-safety code wins this particular conflict. [snip] Read More

As someone who was formerly employed in city government, without taking a position on what is the proper size and location of a window in a home, I do know that the minimum size of a window is somewhat determined by not how much space is needed for the family to exit, but how much space a firefighter wearing an air pack device would need to enter that room.

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