California regularly updates its building codes. This occurs every three years. The next building code update is scheduled to occur in 2016.
Updated California Building Codes go into effect on the first of the year following the update. So any changes made to the California Building Codes in 2016 will go into effect January 2017.
For instance, the California Building Codes regulate the size and location of double hung windows. The codes govern all aspects of the product used including: the size of the double hung window, how wide they open, how many windows should be used in any one residence, the material that the windows are made of and even the type of window glass that is used.
California Residential Building Codes that Property Owners and Investors Should Consider in Relation to Windows Include:
California Residential Code Section R310: Residents have at least one emergency escape route and rescue opening in each of the habitable rooms. This includes basements on the property. The escape routes provided for residents should open directly into a public way or to an area that then opens directly into a public way.
California Residential Code Section R303: Enumerates the percentage of a home's aggregate glazing area. This includes visible glass as well as the translucent pieces of windows or doors. To put it simply, this building code regulates how many windows and the size of the windows in a residence.
California Residential Code Section R327: Regarding exterior windows, this building code lays out requirements regarding the necessary construction of multi-pane glazing (at least one tempered pane) when individual panes are smaller than one square foot or if they are constructed from glass block units or a material providing them with a fire-resistance rating of at least 20 minutes (per National Fire Protection Association requirements).
California Residential Code Section R308: Windows smaller than 9' square are not required to be constructed using safety or tempered glass. The exception is when windows are less than five feet above a bathtub or shower or within two feet of the swing of a door and less than five feet from the floor (in other words, if they present a "walk through" hazard.
For additional assistance in ascertaining which of the California Building Codes apply to your property, contact the experienced southern California real estate attorneys at The Law Office of Retz & Aldover LLP.