ICC Approves Changes to Window Opening Requirements

April 29th, 2021 by Chris Collier

The International Code Council (ICC) voted to make some changes to the International Building Code (E 83-21) regarding window openings. The action occurred during its Committee Action Hearings taking place virtually through May 5. The Window and Door Manufacturers Association and the Fenestration Glazing Industry Alliance were both proponents of the changes which were approved by a vote count of 14 to zero.

Language clarifies window protection requirements, such as window opening control devices (WOCD) and maximum openings on operable windows, as they apply based on the height above grade. It also modifies the specific location of where the height is to be measured: “at the bottom of the clear opening,” instead of “top of the sill of the opening” to be consistent with other code definitions.

The changes also draw a distinction between and separate window opening protection requirements/options for operable windows where the lowest portion of the window opening is located more than 72 inches and below 75 feet above the finished grade, versus those located 75 feet or above from the finished grade.

Industry professionals should note that, while the proposal provides clarity, code officials say changes neither increase or decrease construction costs. There are no substantive changes to the technical requirements nor the application of them, according to the code documents.

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