Window Replacement Proposals Approved During Code Hearings

May 4th, 2012 | Category: Industry News

The International Code Council (ICC) reviewed two proposed changes to the International Building Code (IBC) yesterday, and two of these deal with window replacements and were approved as submitted. One related to window opening control devices, while the other had to do with the size of the window opening.

The first, G 225-12, proposed that in all windows in group R-2 or R-3 buildings containing dwelling units, window opening control devices (WOCD) complying with ASTM F2090 shall be installed where an existing window is replaced, according to section 3048.1. Julie Ruth, representing the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and Jeff Inks, vice president of codes and regulatory affairs for the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA), both spoke in support of the proposal, which ultimately passed 10 to 1.

Ruth said the proposal would apply to existing openings and that AAMA has been hearing from its members on this issue.

“We think this proposal achieves the objectives of the code when windows are replaced,” said Inks.

Inks also submitted G227-12 regarding replacement window openings. According to the proposal, which relates to section 3408.1 of the code, where windows are required to provide emergency escape and rescue openings in group R-2 and R-3 occupancies, replacement windows shall be exempt from the requirements of Sections 1029.2, 1029.3 and 1029.5 provided the replacement window is the manufacturer’s largest standard size window that will fit within the existing frame or existing rough opening.

The intent of the proposal is to ensure the IBC does not discourage or prevent improvements in fire safety in older residential occupancies by requiring replacement windows meet all of the provisions of Section 1029 when doing so could require increasing the size of the rough opening or altering the interior wall.

“We proposed this because we are getting calls at the local level as to how egress windows apply to this section of the code,” said Inks. “In many cases this is not an issue but we are proposing language clarifying the intent …The intent is to avoid a situation where a window replacement is avoided because a jurisdiction says a window opening must be bigger.”

The proposal passed as submitted 7-4.

The code hearings are taking place this week in Dallas.

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  1. As usual, more questions arise from the new proposal for egress in a retrofit application.

    If a homeowner has a 3 section casement, in an egress situation, if the contractor duplicates that, albeit, inside the old window frame. the question that arises, is what do the regulators mean by the “largest window possible”?

    A, Do they mean that the old wood frame has to be removed, to maximize the window?
    B. Do they mean that if a 2 section casement can be made for the opening that it needs to be used to displace the 3 section window? Often there is a 3 section casement in a bedroom, directly above a 1st floor, 3 section casement. The homeowner may not be replacing the 3 section window below.

    There are plenty of 2 section casements that don’t meet the current egress codes, but a same-sized sliding window would. The clarifications that will ensue should consider all the ramifications of such a broad statement. Building inspectors are just people who are entitled to interpret the codes as they see them. Contractors are the same, but are not the ruling class. I have spoken with many contractors who still don’t understand the rules for safety glazing in residences and proceed with their interpretations, which are most often wrong.

    The code books are lengthy but rules for egress should include more clarification than “largest window possible”. Maybe the rule makers should discuss this with the people in the trenches so they can consider all the contingencies that may arise. The ones I listed above are just a few of the possibilties.

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