Volume 43, Issue 10 - October 2008

Guest Book

Stay Safe In Doors
Preventing Liability Arising from Door Repairs

b y D o n n H a r t e r

There are a number of situations where door repair, glass replacement and door relocation may place the glazier in a position of liability when an injury accident occurs. Whenever a door is repaired, such as by replacing hinges, pivots, rollers or closers that require the removal and replacement of the door, the door must be safety glazed. This means that if an older door is not safety glazed, you must bring the door up to code with safety glazing. Insurance company settlements and court decisions hold that you have made an installation when you remove and replace a door for any reason.

For example, when removing and replacing a patio door for replacement of the wheels, it is incidental whether the bottom rail is removed or not. Caution should be exercised when making adjustments to a non-safety glazed door. In a subsequent injury claim sustained from such a door, the trail would lead to you as the technician who last worked on the door. While the code does not require you to change the glazing, the courts may take a different view.

Commercial door adjustments and repairs should never be undertaken on a door with non-safety glass, unless you plan to safety glaze.

Another question often asked is: “Do I have to replace both lites of annealed glass in a sliding door when only one is broken?” There have been situations where the glazier was sued for injuries sustained when an individual fell into the adjacent lite that he never touched or contracted to replace. In the real world it is now the norm “that somebody else must be responsible for my own negligence.” In addition, nobody wants to pay for what appears to him or her as a perfectly good piece of unbroken glass. So what do you do?

Here is a suggestion I have made to glaziers for more than 35 years. This is not guaranteed to save you harm, but will go a long way in reducing your liability. Replace broken lite with safety glass: draw a diagram of the entire door on the invoice (not the work order or separate piece of paper), mark an x on the lite replaced, and write this statement below the diagram: Safety glass was replaced in the marked pane (x) as viewed from the outside.

The importance of drawing on the invoice is that this is the document the customer signs will always be an inseparable part of the proof of sale. Making the statement under the drawing will preclude some unscrupulous individual from reversing and thus implicating you with a location of replacement with which you had nothing to do.

Adding Film
An additional protection is now offered to protect persons against injury from the non-safety glazing. Protective film applies similar protection to laminated glass, it will break upon impact, but remains adhered to the film. The broken lite must be replaced with safety glass. The film does not substitute safety glazing, but offers reasonable protection against impact for multi-lite doors and windows in hazardous locations.

At this time the building codes do not recognize the use of film in lieu of safety glazing since it’s not a permanent safety glazing product.

“Bugging” Multi-lite
Doors & Windows
The 2006 International Building Code has new provisions for permanently identifying multi-lite glazing: 2406.2.1 Multi-lite assemblies. Multi-lite glazed assemblies having individual lites not exceeding 1 square foot (0.09 square meters) in exposed area shall have at least one lite in the assembly marked as indicated in Section 2406.2. Other lites in the assembly shall be marked “CPSC 16 CFR 1201.” This means that one lite in the assembly shall be “bugged” with:
• the manufacturer or installer name;
• the type of safety glass; and
• CPSC 16 CFR 1201 Cat I or II.

Only the temperer may bug its glass. The installer shall bug laminated glass when the manufacturer’s bug has been cut off. There are only two types of tested safety glass: tempered and laminated. All other lites shall be bugged with only CPSC 16 CFR 1201 Cat I or II.


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