Location: Springfield, IL, USA
Job Type: Egress Windows for Basements
Springfield Homeowners Meet Strict Illinois Building Codes By Installing Egress Window Wells
Recently, we were called by homeowners in Springfield who wanted to make improvements to their basement that would not only increase the overall value of their home, but help keep the living space safe for family and friends to gather. In order to finish a basement with a legal bedroom, the homeowners knew that they had to meet stringent Illinois building codes that required basements to have a means of escape in case of emergency.
The Springfield homeowners turned to Helitech for our over 30 years of impeccable home improvement projects and experience in window well installation. We were able to quickly install an egress window system that:
- Met international building codes commonly checked by home inspectors
- Gave first responders easy access to the basement during an emergency
- Increased the safety of family and guests
- Brightened up the basement area with natural light
- Enhanced the appearance of the home
- Boosted curb appeal by adding to the overall square footage of the home
- Improved basement ventilation
Read below to learn more about this project or contact us for a free consultation on installing an egress window in your basement today!
Springfield Homeowners Unable to Renovate Basement Without Installing Egress Window Well
The Springfield homeowners wanted a finished basement with a livable space meant to keep family and guests safe for years to come; however, they couldn’t do this without following strict protocols set forth by the International Residential Code (IRC). These rules mandated that any legal bedroom in a below-ground living space needed to have an egress window system installed. If the homeowners failed to do this, they would’ve risked failing an inspection from a building inspector.
The reason that these rules are in place is so that individuals and, most importantly, beloved family members have the best chance of survival in the event of an emergency. For example, only one quarter of all reported fires in the United States occur inside the home, yet these fires cause almost three quarters of all deaths and injuries because they have a higher tendency to get out of control. Many of these tragedies could have been avoided with proper planning on how to evacuate the home safely.
Therefore, an easy-to-open egress window and properly-installed window well both contribute to a proper emergency exit system; however, to be considered a legal egress, it must meet the requirements below:
- Window has to have an adequate amount of square footage for the opening (normally 5.7 sq. ft.) — this is to permit the occupants to get out safely as well as to allow a fully outfitted firefighter to get inside, if necessary
- Minimum width of opening: 20 inches
- Minimum height of opening: 24 inches
- Maximum sill height above basement floor: 44 inches
These codes can vary by state, which is why our Springfield window well installers had to determine the requirements specific to the state of Illinois for this project. Contact us to learn more about the requirements where you live!
Foundation Cutting And Waterproofing Create Problems For Homeowners
The Springfield homeowners knew that they couldn’t install an egress window system on their own because of the scale of the project and the obstacles of doing it themselves. For example, egress windows are installed below grade which requires a person to cut a sizable hole through the foundation. This hole needs to have proper placement while also having an adequate header to compensate for load that was initially held by the section of foundation wall that was removed. Performing this task is not only dangerous to an unskilled person, but it can easily cause many problems down the line if done incorrectly.
Furthermore, perhaps most important is the drain system. Heavy rains, like those typically experienced in the Central Illinois area where the homeowners lived, can quickly fill a basement window well and create enough pressure to collapse the window itself and flood the basement/finished area. A proper drainage system had to be designed, placed, and sealed by a professional to avoid potentially thousands of dollars in damage.
Helitech’s Trained Professionals Installed a Fully-Functional Egress Window System
The trained and insured professionals at Helitech installed an egress window system that not only met stringent Illinois building codes, but also exceeded the homeowners’ expectations for timing and price.
It all started with one of Helitech’s Certified Project Estimators coming out to the Springfield home for a free consultation. Once a fair quote was agreed upon, our professionals got to work excavating for the window well using an arsenal of advanced equipment.
The team then measured and removed sections of the wall following the strict requirements outlined in Illinois’ IRC criteria. Our trained and insured professionals were able to use special sawing equipment to cut out portions of the wall safely and accurately.
Then the window frame had to be firmly anchored to the block wall first before securing the window in place. These windows may swing inward, easily slide out of the way, or have easily-removed screens for quick and easy escape.
Finally, an adequately-sized window well needed to be installed—it needed to be large enough to fit a person and have stairs or a ladder attached for an easily accessible emergency exit. Helitech selected a window well that mimicked stone, so that the light source in the basement looked like a landscape instead of an industrial eyesore.
Springfield Home is Safer with Egress Window Well System
Overall, the Springfield homeowner can now rest easy knowing their window well was built right the first time backed by Helitech’s warranty! With a proper emergency exit system in place, they are not only able to better protect their friends, family, and loved ones, but they can also benefit from adding natural light to the basement area, in turn, making it a welcome and inviting space for years to come.
Egress windows are one of the most vital, lifesaving elements you can add to your home. Helitech’s services are superior because of our years of expertise in structurally-sound foundations and waterproofing. We are the #1 choice for egress window well installation in Illinois, Missouri, Quad Cities, and Western Kentucky.