Remodeling Inspection Help/Advice Needed, please

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Hello,
I finished my house remodel and called the city inspection for the final approval.
Instead of the inspector who was cominng durin gthe construction steps a new came and said one my windows was not per code and it would not pass.
I showed the drawings with the window's specs, which were approved by the city and the table signed by the previous inspector but it was not avail. According this this "new" inspector they made mistakes and I have to change my wndow.
To change this window would cost a couple thousands or more since walls and window trimming are done.
Anyone knows is the city is liable for this kind of mistake or I can go to court and force the city to approve the window? Any precedents that can be used?
It's amazing that the city recognizes they made a mistake but the expenses are all on me. There must be an intelligent way out of this insanity.
Thanks in advance!
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In many cases I have found the plan approval process a waste of time. It's not until all of the inspectors come out do you really find out what will pass and what will not.
Most likely anything that you do will annoy this inspector so I would tread lightly in pursuing this. Did the inspector say why it did not pass? Is this a window that can be considered a second means of egress? In NJ the inspectors are required to cite the specific code reference that is in violation. You could try asking for that and look up for yourself the violation. Sometimes there is an appeals process. Perhaps you can get his boss to confirm the problem or approve it. If it does not violate any health, safety, or fire code, you may be able to apply for a variance. You can talk to the planning board about that.
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Time to start the appeals process. Go over his head.
s

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Another question that comes to my mind is what is not code about a window? The only violation i can think of is one that is closer than 18" to the floor and not tempered glass. I guess another possibility is a bedroom window that is not big enough to qualify for egress...
s

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That's the catch 22 on the code. It mentions two minimum dimensions and a minimum area for egress. The problem is that if you multiply the two minimum dimensions the result is smaller than the minimum area. My window meets the "two minimum dimensions" but not the "minimum area".
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Who drew up the plans and specified a window that wouldn't meet the egress requirement? They're the one that should have been familiar with the requirement and are largely responsible for the problem. What sort of window is it? Would it be possible to change it for a different type of window that would meet the requirement - substituting a casement for a double hung, for instance?
R
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The current window is a double-hung (I think also called hung sash). Lower part slides up and down.
I am thinking if I can remove the sashes and convert it to a casement window, but using the same frame. That is, I buy special weatherproof wood and make a side-hung casement window. This would meet the dimensions. It would be opaque (no glass) but I do not mind about that since the main window in that bedroom (fixed) is the one I case about.
The question, if anyone knows the answer, is: can this be done or I have to buy a brand new commercial window and replace the whole thing?
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wrote:

Personally, I'd buy a proper window. It is an investment, which you should recover when you resell the house.
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Nobody will want to sign off on a wood 'window'. Forget that idea. Bedrooms have requirements for a certain percentage of the floor area to be operable window for ventilation and another percentage translucent for natural lighting. It's probably a safe bet that making the window obscure would create another code violation. There's no way that a building inspector or building department will waive an egress window requirement because they would be liable if someone died in a fire.
You didn't answer my question about who drew up the plans and spec'd the window. They are the one that has the primary responsibility and liability. If you did it yourself, well, you've just had a learning experience and they're seldom free.
Easiest way out of the situation is to contact a replacement window manufacturer and have someone come out to take a look at the situation and see if they can make a casement window retrofit. Your choice is to spend a few hundred for a replacement window, if feasible, and if you're willing to live with the compromised esthetics, or go with one of the alternatives the building department offered. Frankly I'm surprised they even mentioned pulling the closet and 'de-listing' the bedroom to an office/study. That's still a risky thing for them to do.
R
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The picture window I mentioned is a bit more than 9ft wide and 5ft tall and faces a deck on the second floor. The window the inspector is creating problems with does not face the deck and has the whole second floor's height. However, it's not easily accessible because of a tree.
So, one would imagine that in case of a fire and emergency, the fire folks will break in through the easiest and largest entrance. And anyone inside will break through the easiest way out. Correct?
Of course, I also tried to argue this with the city folks, but they said firemen never break anything.... right...
It's interesting, because the double-hang window locks from inside (like any model). So, if anyone wants to get in they will have to break it. If you will have to break one window, which do you choose? The larger, easier to get in and out from a deck or the smaller that requires a ladder, dodging tree branches and not so much room?
Moreover, regarding natural light. The picture window takes almost one of the whole walls of the room. As for ventilation, the wooden window will also open like a normal hinged window. Just would not have the glass. Is that whything in any code preventing someone from having a wooden window? Provided there's natural light and the wooden window opens and provides a lot of egress area? I'm just asking because this is the fastest solution for me to get rid of these folks. The window the inspector is complaining about was a special order, therefore, even a simple replacement casement will be special order, ergo expensive. And because of the construction I do not have the extra cash now.

I hired an architect who provided clear specifications for all windows. The city evn asked the architect to draw more details of the plan but never mentioned anything about the windows specs. And getting the permit was not free, as it should because of our taxes. I had to pay (not few) for that. So, for a not free service I got a lousy service that anywhere else would be liable.

Right now I can even live with the wooden window. It faces the neighbor lot and, even with the tree, I had to place a curtain for privacy. Therefore, an opaque window for me is not an issue if it does not have any code issue.
Do you know of any code restrictions for wooden windows that operate as a glass window and allow for plenty egress area?
Thanks!

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wrote:

So what does the architect say about your problems with the building inspector? You have asked him/her right? Generally if they made the mistake then they are responsible--that's why they have liability insurance to cover such cases.

You are ranting and raving, and not making any sense. No building permit is free. We all pay taxes. It would seem to everyone else the building inspectors are just doing their jobs.

I think this has already been addressed. It is a DOOR, not a window then, and you'd need to treat it as a door.
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Ultimately, the homeowner is responsible for meeting the building code. Much of the building code is based on safety, so it is a good idea to meet it. So even if you didn't _have_ to make a change here, it would still be a good idea to make a change.

No, it is written that way to provide the maximum flexibility while still providing what is needed. The dimensions are sized so that if a firefighter needs to gain access to the bedroom from outside (e.g. to rescue the occupant in a fire), he/she can fit through. Since a person can turn various ways, it doesn't matter whether you provide the required area tall and skinny or short and fat, as long as neither of the dimensions gets too small.

If the existing window is a double hung, then replacing it will a casement may provide the requisite area. To minimize the disruption, you could use a "replacement window" casement, rather than a "new construction" casement.
Hope this helps.
Cheers, Wayne
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wrote:

The inspector reports to someone. Talk with the supervisor.
Your posture should be that you are seeking help with a potentially costly problem.
Politely explain your problem. Do not show anger or attempt to blame anyone. Ask for a favourable resolution. Don't tell them what the solution should be, just ask that it be resolved favourably. (They know their way around the process better than you or I ever could ... if there is an easy way out, they'll find it for you. The trick is to be someone they want to help, rather than someone who gets their back up.
(I've gained more elegant solutions from civic employees by being a nice guy but a little dumb and confused than you can imagine.)
You don't say what the specific problem is.
The most common are that a window doesn't meet egress code -- it must if it's a bedroom, there is no way around that, or that it doesn't meet code for sides facing neighbours -- if it's close, requirements can be relaxed.
Good luck.
Ken
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On Mar 2, 2:57pm, snipped-for-privacy@nospam.tnx wrote:

I tried. However, the proposed alternate solutions were much worse in terms of cost and disruption than the initial one.

The window meets the minimum dimensions, however, does not meet the minimum area.

It is close, but they are not willing to relax anything. Even knowing they made a mistake approving the plans (with the window specs) and then their own inspector made several visits to the job side and approved everything and never mentioned the window at all.

Thanks!
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You can buy "insert" or "replacement" windows, which are designed to be set inside the frame of the existing window, so as not to have to replace the window trim.
Wayne
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We have several schools with opaque operable sections in the window wall to provide egress. These are commercial units made by EFCO. Ask your inspector before making the decision, but the concept is doable.
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Let's see...window wall, school, commercial unit, egress, liability issues...I'm guessing $3K each, minimum.
R
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On Mon, 3 Mar 2008 05:45:49 -0800 (PST), RicodJour

For a guy who doesn't want to pay a few hundred dollars for a new window, and won't even contact the designer about their mistakes... <bg>
And, I'll bet that those opaque operable sections are either first floor *at* ground level, or have provisions for exits such as a fire escape.
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Hello Folks, I'd like to thank everyone who took their time to provide constructive feedback and advice. This has been a very enlightening experience. Cheers!
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What kind of reply is that?
After dragging everyone through this, telling us the final resolution is the least you could do.
wrote:

Hello Folks, I'd like to thank everyone who took their time to provide constructive feedback and advice. This has been a very enlightening experience. Cheers!
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