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  1. #1
    Melissa Osburn's Avatar
    Melissa Osburn Guest

    Default Tempered Glass for Replacement Windows

    Had a person call today wanting my thoughts on some conflicting information he received from two replacement window companies:

    "A" company said he was required to use tempered glass in all the windows that were less than 10" from the floor due to building codes. The property was built in 1989 and currently does not have tempered.

    "B" business said it would be a great idea from resale value, safety etc but he wasn't required because it wasn't required from the code when he house was constructed and he wasn't pulling a building permit but just conducting a replacement project.

    Who do you agree with??? Thoughts?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tempered Glass for Replacement Windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Melissa Osburn View Post
    Had a person call today wanting my thoughts on some conflicting information he received from two replacement window companies:

    "A" company said he was required to use tempered glass in all the windows that were less than 10" from the floor due to building codes. The property was built in 1989 and currently does not have tempered.

    "B" business said it would be a great idea from resale value, safety etc but he wasn't required because it wasn't required from the code when he house was constructed and he wasn't pulling a building permit but just conducting a replacement project.

    Who do you agree with??? Thoughts?
    Company "A" must have sold used cars in the past.

    There are many things which lead to the requirement for safety glass, but they are typically used in combination with each other - and 10" above the floor is not one of them.

    There are 11 numbered conditions (some with more than one part) requiring safety glazing and 10 numbered exceptions from those conditions. A bit complicated to go into here in detail.

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Tempered Glass for Replacement Windows

    Melissa,

    Difficult question. I would have thought that windows within 18" of the floor in a home built in 1989 would have been required to have safety glass. I cannot remember the specific date of requirement though. However, as Jerry already indicated, there are some areas where a window near floor level would not be required to have safety glass. For instance windows that are less than 9 sq.ft. in area.

    My primary recommendation would be to contact the local building department with specific questions. Around here, window replacement generally does require a permit, so any window replacement would have to be done to current codes. Ask the inspector if a permit is required for the type of window you are having installed and where safety glass is required. Bringing photographs of each location will help.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  4. #4

    Default Re: Tempered Glass for Replacement Windows

    Whether or not a permit is required for work performed on a house, aren't building codes required to be followed anyway's??


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Tempered Glass for Replacement Windows

    Here some dates courtesy of a prior Jerry Peck post

    Tempered Glass Locations starting with the California Code later adopted Nationwide
    1961...Shower enclosures must be tempered safety laminated or wired.
    1964...Glass doors, glass in doors and glass panels within 18 inches of a walking surface had to comply with the impact-rated glass if subjected to accidental human impact. Tempered-glass must be etched.
    1976...Complete rewrite: Glass in doors, glazing immediately adjacent to doors, glass adjacent to any walking surface, sliding glass doors and fixed glass panels, shower doors and enclosures had to be tempered, safety laminated or wired.
    1979...Wire glass no longer approved for shower and bathtub enclosures.
    1982... Expanded section to include all cases where safety glazing is required: glass doors, sliding and fixed panels, storm doors, unframed swinging glass doors, shower and bath tub enclosures, glazing within 12 inches of a swinging door, fixed glass panels less than 18 inches above the finish floor and within 36 inches of a walking surface. An exemption for protective was included.
    1988...No change except that glass in rails was included.
    1991... Glass windows in shower or bathtub enclosures were included. Glass panels within 24 inches of the vertical side of a door were also added. Exceptions were reformatted.
    1994... No changes except those glass panels forming swimming pool enclosures have to be safety laminated or tempered within 5 feet of a pool deck. Also, glazing enclosing a stairway landing or within 5 feet of the top or bottom of a stairway must be safety laminated or tempered.
    2000 IRC
    308.4 #7 Glazing in an individual fixed or operable panel, other than those locations described in Items 5 and 6 above, that meets all of the following conditions:
    7.1 Exposed area of an individual pane greater than 9 sf.

    7.2 Bottom edge less than 18 inches above the floor.
    7.3 Top edge greater than 36 inches above the floor.
    7.4 One or more walking surfaces within 36 inches of the glazing.
    2003 IRC
    R308.4 Hazardous locations. The following shall be considered specific hazardous locations for the purposes of tempered glazing:
    - 1. Glazing in swinging doors except jalousies.
    - 2. Glazing in fixed and sliding panels of sliding door assemblies and panels in sliding and bifold closet door assemblies.
    - 3. Glazing in storm doors.
    - 4. Glazing in all unframed swinging doors.
    - 5. Glazing in doors and enclosures for hot tubs, whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms, bathtubs and showers. Glazing in any part of a building wall enclosing these compartments where the bottom exposed edge of the glazing is less than 60 inches (1524 mm) measured vertically above any standing or walking surface.
    - 6. Glazing, in an individual fixed or operable panel adjacent to a door where the nearest vertical edge is within a 24-inch (610 mm) arc of the door in a closed position and whose bottom edge is less than 60 inches (1524 mm) above the floor or walking surface.
    - 7. Glazing in an individual fixed or operable panel, other than those locations described in Items 5 and 6 above, that meets all of the following conditions:
    - - 7.1. Exposed area of an individual pane greater than 9 square feet (0.836 m2).
    - - 7.2. Bottom edge less than 18 inches (457 mm) above the floor.
    - - 7.3. Top edge greater than 36 inches (914 mm) above the floor.
    - - 7.4. One or more walking surfaces within 36 inches (914 mm) horizontally of the glazing.
    - 8. All glazing in railings regardless of an area or height above a walking surface. Included are structural baluster panels and nonstructural in-fill panels, intervening wall or other permanent barrier between the door and the glazing.
    - 9. Glazing in walls and fences enclosing indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs and spas where the bottom edge of the glazing is less than 60 inches (1524 mm) above a walking surface and within 60 inches (1524 mm) horizontally of the water's edge. This shall apply to single glazing and all panes in multiple glazing.
    - 10. Glazing adjacent to stairways, landings and ramps within 36 inches (914 mm) horizontally of a walking surface when the exposed surface of the glass is less than 60 inches (1524 mm) above the plane of the adjacent walking surface.
    - 11. Glazing adjacent to stairways within 60 inches (1524 mm) horizontally of the bottom tread of a stairway in any direction when the exposed surface of the glass is less than 60 inches (1524 mm) above the nose of the tread.
    - Exception: The following products, materials and uses are exempt from the above hazardous locations:
    - - 1. Openings in doors through which a 3-inch (76 mm) sphere is unable to pass.
    - - 2. Decorative glass in Items 1, 6 or 7.
    - - 3. Glazing in Section R308.4, Item 6, when there is an intervening wall or other permanent barrier between the door and the glazing.
    - - 4. Glazing in Section R308.4, Item 6, in walls perpendicular to the plane of the door in a closed position or where access through the door is to a closet or storage area 3 feet (914 mm) or less in depth. Glazing in these applications shall comply with Section R308.4, Item 7.
    - - 5. Glazing in Section R308.4, Items 7 and 10, when a protective bar is installed on the accessible side(s) of the glazing 36 inches +/- 2 inches (914 mm +/- 51 mm) above the floor. The bar shall be capable of withstanding a horizontal load of 50 pounds per linear foot (74.5 kg/m) without contacting the glass and be a minimum of 1˝ inches (38 mm) in height.
    - - 6. Outboard panes in insulating glass units and other multiple glazed panels in Section R308.4, Item 7, when the bottom edge of the glass is 25 feet (7620 mm) or more above grade, a roof, walking surface, or other horizontal [within 45 degrees (0.79 rad) of horizontal] surface adjacent to the glass exterior.
    - - 7. Louvered windows and jalousies complying with the requirements of Section R308.2.
    - - 8. Mirrors and other glass panels mounted or hung on a surface that provides a continuous backing support.
    - - 9. Safety glazing in Section R308.4, Items 10 and 11 is not required where:
    - - 9.1. The side of a stairway, landing or ramp has a guardrail or handrail, including balusters or in-fill panels, complying with the provisions of Sections 1003.3.12 and 1607.7 of the International Building Code; and
    - - 9.2. The plane of the glass is greater than 18 inches (457 mm) from the railing.



  6. #6
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    Default Re: Tempered Glass for Replacement Windows

    I question whether just the glazing is being replaced or is it the entire window, frame and all? The question about permits is also interesting in that for years no permits where required, at least in California, if the window’s framed opening was not modified. (enlarged or made smaller) However, many jurisdictions found folks replacing windows that did not meet either tempered/safety glazing requirements, and just as important, emergency rescue and egress. So consequently many local jurisdictions passed ordinances requiring permits for window replacements and I would suggest that you follow Gunnar’s advice and consult with your local building department and stay far away as possible from window dealer A.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Tempered Glass for Replacement Windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    The question about permits is also interesting in that for years no permits where required, at least in California, if the window’s framed opening was not modified. (enlarged or made smaller)
    WC Jerry,

    Here in Florida the window is considered part of the structure, as an exterior door is, as it carries the wind loading to the structure around the windows.

    Thus replacing windows and doors is modifying and altering a structural component and requires permits.

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

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Tempered Glass for Replacement Windows

    And that is why I live on the left coast as I'd rather be shaken and stirred than blown away and/or drowned.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Tempered Glass for Replacement Windows

    So, we recently purchased an older home (1908) in need of much remodeling.

    I have read many posts and articles regarding tempered glass requirements.

    I am familiar with the 18 above walking surface, and >9sqft requirements however, I cannot find a clear statement with regard to distance from a shower or tub where tempered glass is a requirement.
    I just replaced some windows and later decided to make that space a bathroom.
    The window is about 6 ft from a curbless shower, there is no tub. (The shower glass is of course, tempered)

    As I read the code it indicates that the glass in the walls or enclosure need to comply with the tempered requirements - i.e unless they are > 60in of the floor they need t be tempered.

    If I take the above at face value then if I had a huge room with a shower in the corner and a window 50 ft away, by this interpretation, it would need to be tempered.

    Its not that I am particularly anti-tempered glass (I just spent $1500 on replacement sash to meet code requirements) I just want to understand the rules at east as a base line.

    A


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Tempered Glass for Replacement Windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    Whether or not a permit is required for work performed on a house, aren't building codes required to be followed anyway's??
    I say yes. New window should meet current code, when it is not a significant burden to comply.

    If replacing a bedroom window meant that you had to resize the window to meet egress requirements, then I think the AHJ would treat that as an existing structure situation and not require compliance. OTOH, if you substantially remodeled that same house they may may resize the windows.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Tempered Glass for Replacement Windows

    Thanks for your reply - much appreciated.

    So, the original window met egress requirement but was not tempered. I replaced it with a similarly sized window but which was current technology (Andersen 100 series dual pane, low-e etc.etc.) also not tempered.

    My question is, how close does a window need to be to a shower to require tempered glass? (given that the shower in question will be installed with tempered glass)

    A


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Tempered Glass for Replacement Windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy John View Post
    If I take the above at face value then if I had a huge room with a shower in the corner and a window 50 ft away, by this interpretation, it would need to be tempered.
    (bold is mine)
    R308.4.5 Glazing and wet surfaces.
    - Glazing in walls, enclosures or fences containing or facing hot tubs, spas, whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms, bathtubs, showers and indoor or outdoor swimming pools where the bottom exposed edge of the glazing is less than 60 inches (1524 mm) measured vertically above any standing or walking surface shall be considered a hazardous location. This shall apply to single glazing and all panes in multiple glazing.
    - - Exception: Glazing that is more than 60 inches (1524 mm), measured horizontally and in a straight line, from the water’s edge of a bathtub, hot tub, spa, whirlpool, or swimming pool.

    - within 60" vertically and within 60" horizontally -

    The easy way to think of this is to consider you slipping and falling:
    - you slip and stick your arm out to catch yourself - you want that window you are sticking your arm through to be tempered so you cut you vein and bleed to death on your way down
    - you slip and fall and stick you arms out to catch yourself - you want that window 60" away to be tempered for the same reason above

    Beyond 60" high and 60" horizontally and that window is not likely to come into play - unless you are a tall person, but the codes are geared around 'average' people ... as in doors are 6'8" and anyone that tall and taller needs to duck going through the door. Years ago I had two brother's who worked for me, one was 6'9" and the other was 6'11 - had to duck for all doors, and that 60" high window or 60" horizontally window measurements should have been 75" or so for them to be offered the same protection.

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

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