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Building Codes and Inspections/windows without tempered glass


We are selling our home that was built in GA in 2003.  The deck windows placed within 6 inches of a double door are not tempered which was found by inspector of a buyer.  The builder refuses to pay for the replacement of the windows due to time but is this not a code violation from even 2003?  The windows are 20" off the floor and measure 36x72.  There is one on each side of the doors that lead out to a open deck.  It is my understanding that there is not a time limit on discovered code violations.

Thank you for your help.

The occupancy certificate issued at the time the home was built indicates that the home met the code and can be occupied. In your position, I would do nothing for the resale, because as far as you know based on the issuance of an occupancy certificate, there are no violations. Just pass along the occupancy certificate. Because a private home inspector mentions that doesn't make it so. Also, if you know of a defect, then you might be obligated to pass that information along to any future buyer. In some states, like here in Pennsylvania, private code inspectors cannot legally make code determinations.

If the windows were added since then, then my suggestion is to copy that inspector's report to the Building Official in the municipality in which the home is located.  The building official is the person with the ability and obligation to enforce the code, and that person will also be aware of any local amendments and the code in effect at the time the windows were installed. Codes change and get more restrictive as time passes, so one must see what code was in effect at the time of construction in that municipality.

Most codes require tempered or safety glazing in hazardous locations, one of which is near a door or close to a walking surface. In the field, an inspector looks for a stamp in the corner of the glazing panels indicating the type of glass. Whoever cuts the glass down from the large sheets into the size needed for your windows should be stamping the smaller glass for the same reason.  Sometimes if this is not done, and the glass is already installed, the Building Official will require documentation of the type of glass used from the design professional in charge of the project, or possibly a sales receipt for the glass from the window builder. If that was the case, the Building Official might have already substantiated the glazing and approved it, even though there's no stamp on the glass.

If it turns out that the glass is the improper type, the glass can be switched, or in some cases, a guard can be placed in front of the pane to prevent it from being struck by the door or a foot if you are so inclined.  

Good luck!  

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Keith Fuller


I'm an ICC Certified Master Code Professional fielding general building code questions. My experience has been heavy in fire related issues.


I've been employed since 1985 as an inspector and plan reviewer, and am a municipal Assistant Building Official and Deputy fire Marshal. I've had fire service experience since 1972, having served as a three time Fire Chief and Fire Marshal in years past. The increasing workload, mandatory certifications, and continuing education requirements in recent years have caused me to concentrate my efforts on code related issues. I hold national fire service certifications as well.

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