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  R308.4.3 Glazing in windows. Glazing in an individual

  fixed or operable panel that meets all of the following conditions

  shall be considered a hazardous location:

  1. The exposed area of an individual pane is larger than

       9 square feet (0.836 m2);

  2. The bottom edge of the glazing is less than 18 inches

       (457 mm) above the floor;

  3. The top edge of the glazing is more than 36 inches

       (914 mm) above the floor; and

  4. One or more walking surfaces are within 36 inches

       (914 mm), measured horizontally and in a straight

       line, of the glazing.


  1. Decorative glazing.

  2. When a horizontal rail is installed on the

       accessible side(s) of the glazing 34 to 38

       inches (864 to 965 mm) above the walking

       surface. The rail shall be capable of withstanding

       a horizontal load of 50 pounds per

       linear foot (730 N/m) without contacting

       the glass and be a minimum of 11/2 inches

       (38 mm) in cross sectional height.

  3. Outboard panes in insulating glass units

       and other multiple glazed panels when the

       bottom edge of the glass is 25 feet (7620

       mm) or more above grade, a roof, walking

       surfaces or other horizontal [within 45

       degrees (0.79 rad) of horizontal] surface

       adjacent to the glass exterior.

    The key thing to remember about this standard is that all four criteria must be met before safety/tempered glass is necessary. If the window does not meet any one of the specs, based on location and size, ordinary window glass is okay. So, the glass must be larger than 9 square feet and within 36 inches of a walking area, plus the bottom of the window has to be below 18 inches above the floor and top more than 36 inches above the floor.

    There are exceptions allowed for decorative glass, the addition of a sturdy rail in front of the glass, and outboard panes of insulating glass in a high location:

    None of this should be interpreted to exclude using safety/tempered glass for in a location that you decide warrants it. To find out how to verify that a particular window already has safety/tempered glass, see our blog post “How can I tell if a window or glass door is safety glass?”

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
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