Ordering Windows for my new home...tempering windows question
kellerj
September 17, 2013 in Other
If I'm ordering windows for my new home and lets say I go to Home Depot for assistance and they bring in the Anderson Window representative for the large order, who do you think is responsible for making sure the windows are tempered if need be?
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PRO
Ironwood Builders
If they are doing take off from plan specifications that state window types, etc. then the seller is. If they have a list of windows and no specifications...you and your architect/designer. Typically, I worry the details of a window order like a rat terrier. I am responsible as soon as the order is acknowleged I have a beautiful 5'X4' bay window from Marvin in my back yard right now. First $500 takes it (worth $2600 new) the window was never installed and is a high quality unit. What else are you gonna do?
0 Likes   September 17, 2013 at 7:01PM
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kellerj
I presented my blue prints and they "upsold" me from going from double hungs to casements. Than they told me they had to go larger because they didn't have the same sizes. They assured me I would not need my windows tempered because they would be 18" from the ground however they are less than 10" from the ground. These windows are already installed. Also the representative thought that my windows next to my bathtub may need tempered but they didn't have them tempered. Shouldn't they have known that?
0 Likes   September 17, 2013 at 7:09PM
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Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
We do not order from places like Home Depot because the employees are not trade professionals and are not trained in building code requirements.
1 Like   September 17, 2013 at 8:33PM
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PRO
ReSquare Architecture + Construction
Generally speaking, the most qualified individual involved in making the decisions would be the one most likely to be liable. And I think it not unreasonable to expect a window sales rep to know the code regarding safety glazing requirements. But "responsibility" is a complicated issue that can leave anyone in the chain the most liable depending on a number of factors:

Did the drawings call for any of them to be tempered?
Did you have a General Contractor involved in the ordering?
Did you have an Architect involved in Contract Administration in a way that required their review of the order?
Did anyone selling the windows make a claim about code compliance requirements of the products being sold that is now found to be incorrect?
Was the installation permitted and reviewed for code compliance by a city official?

For all you know, your windows are all ok. That also needs to be reviewed by a qualified professional before jumping to any conclusions about there even being a problem. A window can be within 10" of the floor and not tempered if three other conditions are not present. A window near a tub can be without tempered glazing if it's high enough. Etc., etc.

First, you need to determine if you even have a code issue. That takes a professional well versed in code. In most States it is an Architect that is licensed to do that and make a definitive recommendation to you, but others can certainly interpret code enough to at least render their own opinion on it.
1 Like   September 17, 2013 at 8:55PM
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kellerj
I'm building my own home so no a licensed contractor was not involved. the heights they picked were bigger than the drawings;Except the bathroom which states on my blue prints to speak with your window manufacturer regarding if window needs tempered. (my bath window will be right next to my tub). The representative and home depot associate discussed code requirements with me and told me they didn't need tempered.
0 Likes   September 18, 2013 at 5:54AM
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S. Thomas Kutch
Sorry to say KellerJ...........if you're ordering the windows, you are responsible for insuring the order is correct before you sign your name.

Now, if you took your plans with the window schedule into HD and the units that were to be glazed with tempered glazing (per Code) were called out, and you asked them to do a takeoff from the plans and pull together an order for you, HD and the Rep are responsible.

Unfortunately, you are learning that this "construction" business is way more complicated than it looks on HGTV or DIY. As a designer, I spend hours upon hours factoring in such things as Codes and constructability into the design along with the "looks" of the finished product..............that includes the specifications. As the contractor, it is my responsibility to properly order the elements and materials to satisfy that design. I think most contractors experience the "hair rising on the back of the neck" when the Owner says "I'll provide that material or element" .........especially when it comes to doors, windows and cabinets. My first response was always, "that's fine, but please, let me review the order before you place it to make sure that it's all inclusive and correct.......just so I can plan accordingly on the construction schedule."

You've heard the phase "location, location, location" when it comes to real estate...........well, in construction (including ordering) the phase is "details, details, details."

And in the future, don't put so much confidence in the HD employees...........a few hours watching instructional videos and wearing a vest full of badges and "Pro PIns" does not a Pro make. It makes good for advertising and appearances, but that's about it..............they'll take just about anybody and call them a Pro.
1 Like   September 18, 2013 at 7:34AM
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kimdee24
Question -- which windows in a home are required to be tempered? I didn't know this was a requirement. I think the only tempered glass windows in my house are the ones that are in the front and back doors... I think? Makes me want to go look.
0 Likes   September 18, 2013 at 7:45AM
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kellerj
My windows are less than 18" from the ground and my bathroom window which is beside a tub.
0 Likes   September 18, 2013 at 7:47AM
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kellerj
@ Kutch....did you read my previous comments on what happened? I was dealing with the window manager and Anderson representative. All of the windows that don't meet code were discussed with them prior to ordering. Never once was I informed to take the printout of the windows they put together and check them over to make sure they meet code. They are the ones that were educating me on Egress and going over code requirements with me. Shouldn't they have informed me that they aren't resources for that?
0 Likes   September 18, 2013 at 7:53AM
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PRO
Linda
I know that windows in a stairwell and at the bottom or the side of the landing are required to be tempered. Although there are a couple of exceptions for windows above normal body level (maybe 5 feet or higher?)

I remember a building inspector telling us that the stairway landing window was OK, but if we broke it or chose to replace, we had to do safety glass. That seems a bit much to me since it was a small decorative window but we just left it alone
0 Likes   September 18, 2013 at 7:54AM
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kimdee24
Well, on inspection, I discovered that my sliding patio door and its stationary windows are tempered. I learn something new everyday on Houzz...
2 Likes   September 18, 2013 at 7:57AM
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S. Thomas Kutch
KellerJ, one would expect for the window rep to know the code.........the department manager knows how to run the department (still, a questionable assumption), he is not a Code expert.........but with that said, acting as your own GC, the responsibility for code compliance falls in your lap.

A very basic summary of code requirements for tempered glazing is anything within 18" of the floor and within 36" of an established path of egress (walking, inside or out), or any window with a top pane greater than 36" above the floor and within 36" of an established path of egress, or any window within any wall forming a shower, tub, or steamroom enclosure where the bottom edge is within 60" of the water edge, standing level or floor level, an egress door, a window adjacent to an egress door within 24", stair landings or stairs.........requires tempered glazing per code....... this is very basic summary of the code and doesn't include any Exceptions that maybe made. You would need to check the current code adopted and in place by your code authorities having jurisdiction (permitting office).

I would check with your local authorities and request an on site meeting (if the windows are already installed) to determine which windows are code compliant and which are not.................but, again, the responsibility for understanding and meeting the code requirements is yours, not the manager's, not the rep's...........this is the nature of our business.
2 Likes   September 18, 2013 at 8:59AM
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PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
I agree with STK. Here, if you act as your own contractor, you are held responsible by the inspection departments to know and understand the applicable codes. The inspection department is supposed to give a homeowner a test if they plan to act as the contractor, but I've never actually seen them do it. . If you placed the order, then you are responsible for knowing what it should be and for doublechecking everything.
2 Likes   September 18, 2013 at 9:22AM
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kellerj
I know I did ask for everyone's opinion. upselling windows to a customer from what would have met code but now doesn't (because they are larger) sounds like fraud to me. Selling $15,000 worth of windows that are useless only so the customer has to go and purchase another round of them.I will meet with the code inspector though to see what I can do.
0 Likes   September 18, 2013 at 9:24AM
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PRO
LOTI ENTERPRISES INC
someone may have already mentioned this but the existing glass can be replaced with tempered panes. egress is another story but the tempered solution may cut your losses.
0 Likes   September 18, 2013 at 12:48PM
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Jolene
When we did our windows the company told us the code and asked if we wanted them to pull a permit. Of course we had them do it and tell us where to put tempered.
0 Likes   September 18, 2013 at 4:40PM
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PRO
ReSquare Architecture + Construction
I hate to say it, but if you GC'd this yourself and had no Architect on board to advise, you took on the responsibility.

That's one of the reasons those professionals get paid: they know the code, and they are responsible for it being met when they are on the job for you. Window reps sell products, they don't provide code compliance services. They should know code requirements to be good ones, but they are not required to nor are they are responsible for your meeting them.

But ...

Who is telling you your windows are not to code for safety glazing requirements? And precisely based on what condition having been met or not met?

Just because the bottom of a window glazing is less than 18" off the ground next to a walking surface does not mean it needs to be tempered. It's top also has to be taller than 36" off the walking surface and its area greater than 9sf. And if there is a rail in front of it the requirement can also be lifted.
0 Likes   September 18, 2013 at 5:46PM
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Jolene
Our had to be tempered if with 3 feet I'd a door or slider and of course around the bathtub... We are in Ca.
0 Likes   September 19, 2013 at 1:21PM
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stara
You CAN temper a window IN PLACE with a film that has the same specs characteristics for safety. google it. Johnspon and Johnson I think make it? It runs a hundred bucks+ or so per window but you'd PASS and not have to pull them all out. HOPE U found this solution as its been a year! aloha
1 Like   October 15, 2014 at 1:28PM
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