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Tempering Egress

The Universal Building Code (UBC) has specific requirements for the use of safety glass and for egress. Safety glass includes tempered glass and certain types of annealed glass discussed below.

The theory behind the use of safety glass is just that - safety.

It is required where someone is most likely to slip and fall against the window, i.e.: running towards a door or falling in a bathroom.

Building Code Specifications

Some local jurisdictions have developed their own codes - check for these prior to making recommendations.

CAUTION: It is the customer's responsibility to check that local building codes have been met.

Tempered or laminated glass must be used in the following locations:
  • Glazing in doors and enclosures for hot tubs, whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms, bathtubs and showers.
  • Glazing in any portion of a building wall enclosing these compartments where the bottom exposed edge of the glazing is less than 60 inches above a standing surface and drain inlet.
  • Glazing adjacent to a door where the nearest exposed edge of the glazing is within a 24-inch arc of either vertical edge of the door in a closed position and where the bottom exposed edge of the glazing is less than 60-inches above the walking surface.
  • EXCEPTION: Tempered glass is not required when there is an intervening wall or other permanent barrier located between the door and the glazing.
  • Glazing in fixed or operable panels, other than those locations described in items 2 and 3 above, that meets all of the following conditions:
    • Exposed area of an individual lite greater than 9 square feet.
    • Exposed bottom edge less than 18 inches above the floor.
    • Exposed top edge greater than 36 inches above the floor.
    • One or more walking surfaces within 36 inches horizontally of the plane of the glazing.
    • Glazing in any hand railing regardless of height above a walking surface.
    • EXCEPTION: Tempered glass is not required when a protective bar is installed on the accessible sides of the glazing 34 inches to 38 inches above the floor. The bar shall be capable of withstanding a horizontal load of 50 pounds per linear foot without contacting the glass and be a minimum of 1-1/2 inches in height. Glazing in walls and fences used as the barrier for indoor and outdoor swimming pools and spas when all of the following conditions are present: Glazing in any hand railing regardless of height above a walking surface.
  • Glazing in walls and fences used as the barrier for indoor and outdoor swimming pools and spas when all of the following conditions are present:
    • The bottom edge of the glazing is less than 60 inches above the walking surface on the pool side of the glazing.
    • The glazing is within 5 feet of a swimming pool or spa deck area.
    • Glazing in walls enclosing stairway landings or within 5 feet of the bottom and top of stairways where the bottom edge of the glass is less than 60 inches above a walking surface
NOTE: Refer to Section 2406 - Safety Glazing, 1994 Uniform Building Code for reference of the above information.

Skylights

Skylights must use laminated glass if:
  • More than 16 square feet OR
  • More than 12 feet above the floor
Egress

Codes for egress include:
  • All basement windows
  • All bedrooms below the fourth story
  • Minimum clear openable dimensions:
    • Width = 20"
    • Height = 24"
    • Area = 5.7 square feet
    • Finished sill height = 44" maximum
    • Rough opening height of sill = 42" maximum
    • NOTE: The minimum area requirement prevents you from using minimum height and minimum width on the same window.