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Openable windows screwed closed

Discussion in 'Property Maintenance' started by MikeC, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. MikeC

    MikeC Silver Member

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    A local apartment building had recently attempted to become more energy efficient. The hallways and stairways had fixed windows. These windows were replaced with more energy efficient windows. Because sliding openable windows were cheaper they were installed instead of the fixed windows which were in place prior. Almost immediately, tenants began to open these windows, leaving them open in cold weather, completely negating any savings created by installing energy new efficient windows. The building owner decided to screw the windows shut. Last night the fire department responded a fire in one of the apartments. This morning I found a complaint on my desk from the fire officer about the windows being screwed shut.

    So the question is, is there any locking system which would comply with IPMC 304.13.2? I want to do everything I can to help the building owner, but I also have to enforce the code. I have gone so far aas to ask the fire officer who filed the complaint how they addressed fires there when the fixed windows were in place. At the same time, I know, as a firefighter, if a window appears to open and has hardware allowing it to open, it should open.
     
  2. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    It'll open with an axe right?.....What is their issue?
     
  3. Mac

    Mac Gold Member

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    If a non required operable window is intentionally changed to inoperable, is there a violation?
     
  4. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Interesting question

    304.13.2 Openable windows. Every window, other than a fixed window, shall be easily openable and capable of being held in position by window hardware.

    Have no answer, unless it was a bedroom window
     
  5. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    Which code is that CDA?....I would say they are fixed now and play through...Sliding window shouldn't have a problem staying in place
     
  6. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    Was a permit required to replace the windows? Did they get one?
     
  7. Keystone

    Keystone Registered User

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    MikeC - IMO, there is nothing that you can do to be the good guy. The owner made one step by purchasing efficient windows but if did not want the tenants to actually use them he should have purchased fixed windows, spent the extra cash and replace like for like as long as it does not become a hazard. At this point, again IMO, the owner can not make the windows fixed by screws or other method(s). It has the potential to create a life safety issue if that window becomes the only available window during an emergency escape and the operable window is made into a fixed window. As others have pointed out, the window shall remain operable per IPMC.
     
  8. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    If windows are allowed to be fixed, no violation to screw them closed

    If they are used for ventilation, habitable, then it is a violation
     
  9. MikeC

    MikeC Silver Member

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    The code that cda referenced is the reason this is posted here. IPMC 304.13.2 requires ALL windows, other than a fixed window, to be easily openable. An openable window which is screwed shut is not a fixed window. Being that there is no mention of being able to open the window from this inside without a key, special tools, or special knowledge I was hoping a keyed locking system would be allowed.

    After reading through the commentary, I have to agree that these windows have to be openable without the need for a screwdriver.

    As for the permit, the city has never required a permit for replacement windows as long as the rough-in opening size isn't changing.
     
  10. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Ipmc 2009......
     
  11. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Well once you put a screw to them, they are kind of FIXED
     
  12. Min&Max

    Min&Max Silver Member

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    If not required to be operable for ventilation or egress, I would have no problem with a venting window being screwed shut. If the replacemnt window could have been a fixed window it does not matter how it becomes fixed---either by the manufacturer or owner.
     
  13. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    One more reason not to adopt IPMC.....
     
  14. Gregg Harris

    Gregg Harris Saw Horse

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    I personally do not believe the maintenance code has anything to do with this scenario. If the window is not required to be operable for egress then screwing it shut is not an issue.

    304.13.2 is to require landlord to maintain the property (the window) in suitable condition for the tenant to be able to open and close if required.
     
  15. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    so what window in a commercial building is required to be openable???
     
  16. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    Whether manufactuted or field altered, A window with a screw in it is fixed.

    It is not openable. It is not a code violation if the Window is not required to be openable.
     
  17. Mech

    Mech Registered User

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    Remove the handles and lock so it does not look like an operable window (?)
     
  18. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    IMPO not required
     
  19. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    If you're going to require that the window be operable, make sure that they install a bug screen.
     
  20. MASSDRIVER

    MASSDRIVER Registered User

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    Maybe the tenants open them for the cooling or heating effect, as needed, rather than mechanical environment control.

    They are then, maybe, being very energy efficient.

    Brent.
     

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