Volume 41, Issue 4 - April 2006


New Code Slows Glass Replacements

A quirk of timing and code changes has left many Florida victims of last year’s hurricanes unable to replace the windows in their homes, putting glazing contractors in a difficult position. Even though Hurricane Wilma occurred more than six months ago, the glazing in many buildings there has yet to be replaced because of a change to the Florida Building Code to reference and enforce the 2003 International Building Codes (I-Codes).

The I-codes require that when buildings are repaired they be brought up to the current code in effect, rather than be governed by the codes in place when the building was constructed. Under the “old code,” for example, condo residents would have been allowed to close their blown out openings with tempered glass and shutters, rather than the impact-resistant glass that is now required under the I-Codes. 

Glazing contractors report that they are unable to get permits for many jobs due to the changes in the codes and that many residents do not have the money to upgrade their windows.

The Oceania III condominium in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., is one such building caught in the crossfire. The Miami-Dade County Board of Rules and Appeals (BORA) heard an appeal from that condominium community on February 16 requesting that the replacement windows be glazed with tempered glass and covered with shutters. According to Jaime Gascon, acting product control division chief for Miami-Dade County’s Building Code Compliance Office, the board voted in favor of the appellant with a vote of seven to four to allow the reglazing of undamaged frame window units in the same manner that originally existed. 

“The discussion was limited to only the specifics of the appeal, and BORA moved to create a subcommittee to discuss the broader items,” said Gascon. “Broward [County’s] Board of Rules and Appeals staff was present at the meeting and will be participating in the subcommittee,” he added.

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