Requirements for Installing Windows
Calls came in last week from two homeowners that wanted to install windows in a garage wall and/or house wall that currently had no windows. These homeowners were quite surprised when they were told of the requirements for installing windows in a wall that currently does not have a window. There are guidelines and building code requirements for installing windows in rooms. Our local regulations vary so it is important to contact your building department for the specifics. Listed are standard requirements should want to consider installing windows in rooms that currently have no accessible opening.
If a basement is being converted to living space, especially being converted into a bedroom, there are specific egress window requirements; height and size and opening. If the basement has a closet it will be considered a bedroom. The specific egress requirements for a converted room into a bedroom allow for a firefighter to enter the room and/or allow for home occupants to escape the room through the specific window, so size and opening is critical to safety.
Installing windows will require specific structural header sizes so a draftsman/architect will be required to prepare a drawing with the header size. In the City of Prescott and in the unincorporated areas through Yavapai County Development Services, a permit is required along with a set of plans for the room where the window is being installed. The plans will indicate the window specifics and header size. A site plan of the house on the lot is also required. The building staff then calculates the room wall width, window size to determine if the header that is called out is appropriate to hold the window. Plan review will insure that the window being installed is not in a shear wall opening or to close to adjacent shear walls. Inspections required would be for rough opening, building wrap and the final. Stamped sealed drawings from an engineer are not required.
We hired a contractor to do a small remodeling project. The contractor told us we had to personally pull the building permit. This does not sound right. What are your thoughts? Ed, Prescott
A homeowner can pull a building permit if they are doing the work themselves – the permit is Owner/Builder. If you are hiring a contractor, the contractor should pull the permit and by having them do this, connects the liability of the job to the contractor and not yourself. Reputable contractors will never ask you to pull the permit, they will also do this for you and the cost will be included in your project price. There is a red flag if the contractor is asking you to pull the permit. Is he really licensed? Does he hold the proper license classification for the job? For example, is he a commercial contractor performing residential work, is he licensed to perform painting or plumbing only and now he wants to add a room addition? I cringe when I receive calls from homeowners saying their contractor wants them to pull the building permit so please be ware.