Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Before Starting a Residential Window Project in Glendale

Did you know that a permit is always required when changing, installing and/or updating your windows in Glendale?

Over two thousand permit applications are processed through the City’s Permit Services Center each year.  A large portion of these permits involve the installation of new windows. Too often we find out about  changes to windows after they've been purchased and installed. Property owners may be surprised to find out that the windows they spent time and money installing don't meet the City's requirements and must be removed. If you’re thinking about changing the windows in your residential property, there are some basic guidelines and requirements you should be aware of before purchasing your windows and moving forward with your plans.

We’ve outlined these important requirements that must be met before, during and after your window installation project takes place. We hope this helps you successfully navigate the City’s permitting process while avoiding unnecessary delays.

You Must Get a Permit

First and foremost, you must obtain a permit for all window installations at all building types including residential and commercial. Let’s take a look at the City’s process in issuing these permits for residential properties. It involves two separate reviews which address different aspects of the project. These two reviews occur simultaneously, and take place conveniently in the same location at the City’s Permit Services Center located at 633 E. Broadway in Room 101.

  1. Building and Safety reviews the project for compliance with building code standards; and
  2. Planning staff reviews the design of the new windows to ensure that they are consistent with the architectural style of the home.

Building & Safety Review

Building and Safety will review the following 3 key elements in a residential window project:
  1. Emergency Egress
    Windows play an important role in our personal safety by providing a way for people to escape in emergencies and allowing access for emergency personnel to assist during emergencies. Windows in sleeping rooms must conform to certain size requirements. You may be required to increase the size of your windows if you are updating existing windows.
  2. Energy Efficiency Standards
    Windows can be source of substantial energy waste in a home. Certain energy standards ensure that new windows meet the solar heat gain and solar reflectance standards the State has established. Be aware of the RSHGC (Reflective solar heat gain coefficient), and U-factor requirements. Make sure that the windows you want to install meet State standards.
  3. Requirements for Homes in High Fire Hazard Zones
    High fire hazard zones are areas in and around the hillsides that require tempered windows to help control damage in the event of a wildfire. Tempered glass can resist shattering in the heat of a fire and has been demonstrated to help keep the interior from catching fire.

Planning Review

Planning staff primarily looks at the following elements.
  1. The window material such as wood, aluminum and vinyl.
  2. The method of installation, for example block frame, nail-in or z-bar
  3. The type of window being installed such as (single hung, double hung, casement, fixed, or slider – to name a few; and finally
  4. Whether or not grids or divided lights are being proposed and how (exterior vs internal)
All of these factors affect the way the City processes permits for the replacement and installation of windows on a residential property. It is important that you hold off on purchasing and installing windows until your plans are approved and the permit is issued.

How to Prepare Your Permit Application

When submitting your permit application, you must come prepared with your plans and submittal document. These consist of 6 basic items
  1. Clear color photographs of the building fa├žade(s) showing the windows which are to be replaced and a close up of the subject windows. The photos should be keyed to the site/floor plan and window schedule described below.
  2.  A site plan and floor plan.  The windows that are to be replaced should be identified on the floor plan and keyed to the color photos and window schedule.
  3. A window schedule which indicates the size, operation type, window material, visibility from the street, whether external grids are proposed, and glazing type of the windows.
  4. Product information for the windows.  This will show the style of the product and contain the required energy classification information.
  5. A Building Permit Application
  6. Sometimes a window detail or section drawing is required to show how the window will be installed and its relationship to the walls.
This package should be drawn on 11’x 17’ paper, (that’s the size of two regular copy sheets)
 3 copies of the package should be prepared. Make sure that the building address is noted on each set of plans.  Please make sure the required documentation is legible and complete.

Preparing all the needed documentation in advance will help prevent delays in the processing of your application. These documents allow a planner who is not familiar with the project site to quickly understand how the change of windows will affect the look of the building. Building & Safety staff will be able to properly ensure that the change will comply with important building safety requirements.

Submit Your Permit Application

Now that you have gathered the needed documentation and filled out the Building Permit application, you are ready to submit your application at the City’s Permit Services Center. The Center is open from 7am to 12pm Monday through Friday.  In some cases, your permit could be issued on the same day.   

If you have any questions about this process, please contact the Permit Services Center during regular business hours at (818) 548-3200 for more information or visit us online.

Additional Resources