Technical Notes

Energy Code

The City of Rochester enforces the Michigan Uniform Energy Code.

The following building types are exempt from the energy code:

  • A portion of a residential building that is not heated or mechanically cooled
  • An addition to any existing residential building
  • An alteration of any existing residential building
  • An existing building

Egress Windows

Egress (rescue) windows are required in all bedrooms including any located in the basement. Egress windows are also required for any habitable space below grade (finished basement areas). This requirement applies to all newly constructed and remodeled sleeping rooms.

Egress windows must have a minimum clear opening area of 5.7-square-feet, a minimum clear opening width of 20 inches, and a minimum clear opening height of 24 inches. The window must be within 44 inches of the finished floor. The window must be able to open without tools, special knowledge, or special effort.

Egress windows located below grade must have a window well nine-square-feet in area minimum, 36 inches wide minimum, and must allow the window to open fully. A ladder effect or steps will be required for an egress if the well is more than 44 inches deep.


For most buildings, the bottom of trench footings must be on undisturbed soil a minimum of 42 inches below finished grade. Detached accessory buildings 400-square-feet or less are only required to have an 18 inches rat wall.

Smoke Detector Awareness

Smoke detectors are required in every sleeping area and on each level of all buildings including residential homes. Detectors should be AC/DC and interconnected so that all alarms sound at once.


Any questions about these technical notes may be directed to the Building Department by phone at 248-733-3700, or in person at 400 Sixth Street during normal business hours.