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Tempered Glass in Bathrooms


Neal Lewis
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Neal;

It's new; that whole section has been re-written since the 06 version.

Sorry I did not pay attention to the word horizontal. The 2006 & 2003 say vertical.

This is from the 2006 IRC SECTION R308 GLAZING

5. Glazing in doors and enclosures for hot tubs, whirlpools,

saunas, steam rooms, bathtubs and showers.

Glazing in any part of a building wall enclosing these

compartments where the bottom exposed edge of the

glazing is less than 60 inches (1524 mm) measured vertically

above any standing or walking surface.

This is from the 2003 IRC R308.4Hazardous locations.

5. Glazing in doors and enclosures for hot tubs,whirlpools,

saunas, steam rooms, bathtubs and showers. Glazing in

any part of a building wall enclosing these compartments

where the bottom exposed edge of the glazing is less than

60 inches (1524 mm) measured vertically above any

standing or walking surface.

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For questions like this, it is possible sometimes to find the answer on ICC's web site. At this address:

http://www.iccsafe.org/cs/codes/Pages/0 ... anges.aspx

one can find the file with the February 2008 proposed changes to the IRC. The idea of re-wording the sections on safety glazing was proposed by Rick Davidson, City of Maple Grove, MN, representing the Association of Minnesota Building Officials. Mr. Davidson said the following about his overall proposal to reword these sections (commenting here on the 2006 IRC):

"This is one of the more difficult and confusing sections of the IRC to use. Exceptions to the rules are not listed after the rule but following the entire section where they can be overlooked. Furthermore, it is necessary to read through all of the exceptions to find any that might apply to the rule being used. There are conflicting rules where one rule will require one dimension and another rule requires a different dimension. Measuring locations vary even within the same rule. And some rules are exempted in every application making them always moot. The modifications found herein are intended to be largely editorial. They are intended to relocate the exception beneath the applicable rule, eliminate unnecessary language, and eliminate conflicts. Also please note that numbering of the items has been changed so that similar rules are grouped together. Following is a point by point explanation of what is proposed."

He then went on to list the specific proposed changes, including the one that has the current 2009 IRC language. Regarding that specific new wording, he also said:

This section includes a new exception to address the matter of hot tubs, whirlpools, or bathtubs adjacent or near windows but not in an “enclosureâ€

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For questions like this, it is possible sometimes to find the answer on ICC's web site. At this address:

http://www.iccsafe.org/cs/codes/Pages/0 ... anges.aspx

one can find the file with the February 2008 proposed changes to the IRC. The idea of re-wording the sections on safety glazing was proposed by Rick Davidson, City of Maple Grove, MN, representing the Association of Minnesota Building Officials. Mr. Davidson said the following about his overall proposal to reword these sections (commenting here on the 2006 IRC):

"This is one of the more difficult and confusing sections of the IRC to use. Exceptions to the rules are not listed after the rule but following the entire section where they can be overlooked. Furthermore, it is necessary to read through all of the exceptions to find any that might apply to the rule being used. There are conflicting rules where one rule will require one dimension and another rule requires a different dimension. Measuring locations vary even within the same rule. And some rules are exempted in every application making them always moot. The modifications found herein are intended to be largely editorial. They are intended to relocate the exception beneath the applicable rule, eliminate unnecessary language, and eliminate conflicts. Also please note that numbering of the items has been changed so that similar rules are grouped together. Following is a point by point explanation of what is proposed."

He then went on to list the specific proposed changes, including the one that has the current 2009 IRC language. Regarding that specific new wording, he also said:

This section includes a new exception to address the matter of hot tubs, whirlpools, or bathtubs adjacent or near windows but not in an “enclosureâ€

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Well, the reason I asked is in new construction the other day, windows outside of the shower space were marked Tempered Glass.

Is this a builder that always builds things to the dead minimum requirement? If so, a couple things could be going on. The designer and/or plan reviewer may have misinterpreted the code section (even though the exception doesn't mention showers), or there is another window someplace that is the same size and was supposed to be tempered. I've seen a few times where the windows were set in the wrong location, and this is a fairly likely wrong location.

Marc - the code section speaks for itself. I think the trap in reading it is to think the converse of the exception must be the rule, i.e., to think that since glazing more than 60 inches away from a tub never has to be safety glass, then glazing closer than that is always required to be safety glass, even though the rule preceding the exception doesn't say that.

In the NFPA Manual of Style, there is a strong push to eliminate code language that contains exceptions, precisely because they lend themselves to misinterpretation; people read implications or hierarchies into them that are not really intended. I wish ICC would to the same.

Douglas Hansen

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Neal;

While quickly glancing it over, there are a few changes that would need our attention and some that don't (unless you're doing phase inspections- if that's the case, section 602 with the braced wall panels and roof/truss connections needs to be looked at).

I don't know if you know this, but NJ has eliminated the option of ARC fault breakers.

Of course the new deck connections are required.

A new definition for an exterior chimney- 'one or more sides to the exterior'

Bonding of CSST piping is required (Douglas explained this and a law suit on the ASHI board)

There seems to be lots of minor revisions (words changes) and I seem to see a lot of the word "approved" as in section 1307.3.1- 'Where protected by approved barriers'. This is going to be problematic as the construction or sub-code official has the last word on approval.

As we go along, I'm sure there will be some sections that will need to be re-read several times -right now I've re-read section 311 (about the required egress door and other exterior doors and the required landings).

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Not there. If it were on the wall behind the throne it would be facing the shower and would need to be tempered 'cause that is way less than 60". If it were in the shower it would also need to be tempered. Given how small that space is it's not a horrible thing that it is tempered though.

BTW, I really like the "bug" on that one[:-dev3] Kinda hard to believe that someone could put that in the wrong opening with a big yellow sticker on it...on second thought, no it isn't.

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In the NFPA Manual of Style, there is a strong push to eliminate code language that contains exceptions, precisely because they lend themselves to misinterpretation; people read implications or hierarchies into them that are not really intended. I wish ICC would to the same.

Douglas Hansen

Looks like I could benefit by becoming familiar with it. NFPA's link to it isn't working this am. I'll try again later.

Marc

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just inspected a 4 year old home this week that had windows 48" above the bathtub's standing surfaces and neither had any safety or tempered glass indications. I had to refer to my Code Check Complete book (thanks Doug) to recollect the 60" vertical requirement.

This home also had little to no attic insulation, a main stack vent that stopped in the attic, no return ducts for the gas furnace (return air was from the utility room), etc. Lots of issues in this 4 year old home.. I'm guessing no code official ever stepped foot on the property based upon what I saw in a relatively new home. I even told the buyer that.

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The attached picture is an example of what the new 60 inch horizontal rule is about. It addresses the question of a window located in the wall facing an unenclosed tub. At a certain distance, it becomes silly to require safety glazing based upon the presence of the tub in the room. In the previous code, the distance wasn't specified, and the 2009 code exception does specify it at 5 feet.

What is unfortunate is the implication that people draw from the fact that the code language is an exception. They see an exception that does not require safety glass at >5 feet, and assume therefore that all glass closer than 5 feet is required to be safety glass. That clearly isn't the case when there is an intervening enclosure or when the glazing is not in a wall facing the tub/shower. It's an example of why we should avoid "exceptions" language in writing codes.

In the example in this picture, it is less than 5 feet and therefore did require safety glass.

Douglas Hansen

Click to Enlarge
tn_20101127175311_308.4#5X.jpg

46.19 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_2010112718343_308.4-5X.jpg

46.19 KB

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