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Refinishing a basement is an exciting endeavor, but before you lay new carpet or hang a wall-size flat-screen, you need to make sure your windows meet Omaha’s building code requirements1.

As the popularity of basement finishing has increased and evolved over the past few decades, so have the city’s building codes. Updates in Omaha’s building codes now require egress windows to be installed in finished basements.

An egress window is a window big enough and low enough to the ground so that it can allow occupants to escape through the opening on the window in case of an emergency, such as a fire. The city of Omaha has a policy on egress windows that pertains to the remodeling of existing residential homes and buildings. You can read the city’s policies at the

In addition to the egress window, a window well must be installed outside with a step to allow for easy evacuation in an emergency.

But egress windows are not just for safety, they add natural light and fresh air to a basement, too, especially if you do not have a walk-out basement.

Whether your basement already has egress windows, and you want to replace the existing windows, or if you are installing new ones, you’ll need a building permit from the city of Omaha, something your Pella Omaha team will handle.

There are egress window requirements for bedrooms as well, whether those are in the basement or on the upper levels, with specific size and height requirements for openings to allow for escape in the event of fire or other emergencies.

An important thing to remember when it comes to egress windows – whether you are installing new ones or replacing old and out-of-date egress windows – is that you don’t need to spend a day at city hall deciphering all of the city codes to make sure your windows meet regulations. Your Pella Omaha representative will do all of that for you.

1Building codes are subject to change. Reference your local building codes for the most up to date information.

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