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  1. #1
    Eric Parent's Avatar
    Eric Parent Guest

    Red face Double-hung egress window won't stay open...

    Hi all,

    I have a question for you, and regardless of where I look, I can't seem to find the answer. A former client called me with a question on behalf of his relative. Apparently, he (his relative) is selling his home, and he's questioning a finding by a buyer's inspector.

    His bedrooms have double-hung windows. The rear bedroom has only the one window, and therefore it serves as the secondary egress for that bedroom. The problem is that, although the window opening is of sufficient size for egress, the window is disconnected from the counter-balance and therefore does not stay open. This causes the window to be relatively heavy, and therefore requires a bit of a heave to open it and the window needs to be propped up with something to stay open, or else it slams shut.

    The buyer's inspector said that an egress window must stay open on its own and cannot require a "prop" or other device to hold it open. It does make sense if you think about it, since if a firefighter had to pull him out through the window, he wouldn't be able to since he'd have to use one hand to hold the window open. Also, if a firefighter had to climb in through the window, while wearing all his equipment and air tanks, he would get stuck since the window would come slamming down on him and get all caught up in his equipment.

    Anyway the buyers are therefore requesting that the window gets replaced, based on the inspector's recommendations. And although it's just a window, so not a big deal, the seller is wondering if this is actually a true requirement, or if the inspector threw that in on behalf of the buyer as an excuse to replace the window at the seller's expense.

    Funny enough, despite the 5000+ inspections I've done over the years, I've never come across this situation before (and I thought I'd seen it all by now!). Needless to say it's a pretty uncommon issue, which is probably why I can't find any information on that despite my best efforts.

    Anyway, if anybody happens to know the answer to this, I would truly appreciate it, and would gladly buy you a coffee should you ever be in Ottawa.

    Thanks in advance!
    Eric

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Columbus GA
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    Default Re: Double-hung egress window won't stay open...

    That is correct. The window must stay open on it's own.
    There is a specification on the force required to open the window, but I don't know what that is.

    Though I doubt that the window needs to be replaced.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
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    Default Re: Double-hung egress window won't stay open...

    IRC R310 covers EERO. In re-reading that section, there is nothing that the window must fuction normally.

    The issue is the window is NOT FUNCTIONING AS INTENDED. Doesn't matter if it is EERO or not. The window is supposed to stay open without the need for props. If it doesn't stay open on its own, it is broken.

    Step back from the EERO and just take the easy route. The window is broken. Fix the window. Replacement windows run about $300.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  4. #4
    Hector Acevedo's Avatar
    Hector Acevedo Guest

    Default Re: Double-hung egress window won't stay open...

    This might clear things up a little. I 'm reading from the IRC commentary on R310.1.

    The required opening deminsions must be achieved by normal operation of the emergency escape and rescue opening from the inside. It is impractical to assume that all occupants can opperate a window that requires a special sequence of operations to achieve the required opening size. While most occupants are familiar with the normal opperation by which to open the window, children and guests are frequently unfamiliar with special procedures necessary to remove the sashes. The time spent comprehending the special opperation unnecessarily delays egress from the bedroom and could lead to panic and further confusion.

    In my opinion, having to use a tool of some type to prop the window open falls under the classification of special sequence.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,252

    Default Re: Double-hung egress window won't stay open...

    Expanding on what the others have said above:

    1) First and foremost - the window IS NOT operating properly to begin with - EERO or otherwise. That window needs to be written up and should be corrected.

    2) First and foremost (not sure how there can be two 'first and foremost') - the window needs to stay open on its own to serve as an EERO ... no special knowledge can be required for an EERO ... and having to know you have to prop the window open is definitely "special knowledge". That window needs to be written up and needs to be corrected.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
    Eric Parent's Avatar
    Eric Parent Guest

    Default Re: Double-hung egress window won't stay open...

    Wow, thanks guys! You guys are great, I didn't expect to get an answer so quickly, let alone confirmation from multiple sources. I figured as much (regarding the window), but I wasn't 100% sure since it's never actually come up before. From what I understood, he's going to replace the window anyway... I think he was more curious than anything.

    Thanks again guys, the info was hugely appreciated! Keep up the great work.

    All the best,
    Eric


  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Location
    Maryland
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    Default Re: Double-hung egress window won't stay open...

    Point to ponder.
    What if the house is old and the window was not designed to be held open by counter ballance. It was originally designed to be held open by a stick or pin set into jam? The house may be in a Historic District which has strict requirements on any alterations that are done to the property, so it is left all original. Or is just an old house with original windows. That are operating as designed.

    Here is another question to ponder. At what point does something that is older in design become something that requires special knowledge to operate? There are alot of things designed and built today that require special knowledge to operate. The point being the age of the item or the age of the operator be a/the determining factor?

    In the event of a fire, the responder will just clear the opening from top to bottom. They will not mess around trying to go through the lower half of a single or double hung window whether it is operating correctly/as designed or not. And yes being able to open the window would be good since people do not think about just knocking out the window in a panic situation since they have been raised not to break the glass in a window.

    Correcting the balance would be the easiest and least costly repair. Labor: 15min to 1hr on site, Material: $O.25 for sash cord, $ 5 for mechanical, $ 25 if an Amderson with cord and wound spring. In the scheme of thing not a big job. Replacing the unit makes the contractor $$$ happier. Removes a pissy objection by buyer. And gets deal done. All are happy.


  8. #8
    Eric Parent's Avatar
    Eric Parent Guest

    Default Re: Double-hung egress window won't stay open...

    That's a good point Garry, however in this case the remaining bedroom windows are ok so odds are the window is defective and in need of attention, but I will mention your point to him anyway... you never know.

    PS, to Bruce: I forgot to mention that you had a very good point regarding just forgetting about the whole egress issue, and the simple fact of the matter is that the window is broken and needs attention. Sweet, simple, effective.

    Thanks again everyone.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
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    Default Re: Double-hung egress window won't stay open...

    Eric,
    I am from old school of repair not replace unless repair is to costly in relation replacement.

    As for the Buyer's Inspector, I will bet that the HI will stick to original statement and wouldn't try to change it.

    Jerry's first "1) First and foremost" would be easiest problem to resolve with a repair if possible. All depends on negations as to bites the bullet. Krazy market now.


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