Making windows inoperable

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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
20,045
Philadelphia
My township is making me put alarms on every "operable" window and door falling within the fence line of my swimming pool. This would make up only two doors (fine), but roughly a dozen windows (no bueno). Because we never actually open our windows or put screens in them, and because we have a total of 60 windows (48 of which would be unaffected), I'm thinking I'd be better off just making these 12 within the fence line non-operable.

Half of them are old 1775 construction, I'll fab up my own solution there, but the other half are ca.1995 Andersen 400 series. I've been hunting for a latch block-off plate, essentially a blank plate that replaces the latch assembly and prevents operation, but haven't come across anything. Has anyone ever seen anything like this, either Andersen or generic?
 
Hah... just found a solution. Nevermind!
 
Painting them shut works surprisingly well in my experience. I haven't been able to open them without using a razor blade on the joint.
 
Yeah, but that might not convince the town inspector, however logical the solution was ...
 
So put some of those cheapy stick on "proximity" sensor alarms on the windows/doors...you can buy a dozen for $20 on amazon...
 
Hah... just found a solution. Nevermind!
How about mentioning the name, or inserting a link to the solution you found. Might help others who are looking for the same thing in the future.
 
hmmm what did you change that you had to get a inspection. Another option would be have motion sensors in the area. Alarm system online are pretty cheap and the door/window sensors are inexpensive and you can peal and stick them to any surface,
 
i would like to see the specific ordinance- the air seems to be tainted. Are these window floor to ceiling types ?
 
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So put some of those cheapy stick on "proximity" sensor alarms on the windows/doors...you can buy a dozen for $20 on amazon...
Nope. They must be listed to UL 2017, which puts an $80 price tag on them. I honestly don't care about the cost, I just don't want big ugly boxes with wires hanging out of them all over my pretty windows and doors.
 
hmmm what did you change that you had to get a inspection. Another option would be have motion sensors in the area. Alarm system online are pretty cheap and the door/window sensors are inexpensive and you can peal and stick them to any surface,
New pool, adding another patio... so permits were pulled.
 
I do not understand for in operable windows by pool? commercial yes always see that, residential never head of it before
 
I do not understand for in operable windows by pool? commercial yes always see that, residential never head of it before
yeah, pretty standard. All states/townships seem to follow the same code. Doors and any window having a sill less than 48" above floor must have an alarm. Alarm must have a bypass button which automatically resets to armed after several seconds. Alarm must continue to sound once door is opened, until reset is pressed. Alarm and/or reset must be located 54" above floor. All outlined in UL 2017. An entire industry of door and window alarms has grown up around this code.

So, my plan is to defeat all window latches by pinning them in the locked position. Hopefully that serves as converting the window from "operable" to "inoperable", in the eyes of the AHJ, as I've found no precedent or written guidelines on this.

Doors will get the official UL 2017 alarms, at least for inspection.
 
So the argument they may come up with on pinning the windows is that you can come after the inspection and put them back to stock...i will almost guarantee they are going to say the windows have to be permanently sealed somehow.... I have seen that before in other situations. I know up here if you have a locked fence around the yard/pool then you meet code..

The alarms now days are all wireless you can use a peal and stick sensor that is maybe 1 x1/4 inch and barley visible. I have had these on my home alarm system for probably 10 years and have yet to change the batteries in the sensor, even my alarm panel is wireless. 10 years ago the tech was pretty fresh and i paid about $1000 for the system and now could do the same for less than a 1/4 of the price and have it link to my phone..
 
Yeah, I anticipate the same argument, zrock. At which I can legitimately answer that reversing those window latches will be very substantially more difficult than removing or disabling the alarms they'd otherwise require. It's worth a debate, at least I think.
 
When we moved in All the double hung windows were screwed closed. They had a nice counter bored hole and a screw that utilized a special square head security key that we found in the back of a random drawer. Windows were all painted closed too. Then there were the storm Windows that were installed backwards and could only be opened from the outside.

My point being some device that secures the windows closed and can not be operated by hand, I would think, would render the windows non operational.

Are you adding a pool heater?
 
I guess I don't get it...what are they trying to prevent by securing the windows/doors...someone getting in your pool that shouldn't be there, or someone falling out a second story window into the pool? (I'd rather that than hit the ground!)
Sounds like the next thing they'll want is a full time security guard.
 
I guess I don't get it...what are they trying to prevent by securing the windows/doors...someone getting in your pool that shouldn't be there, or someone falling out a second story window into the pool? (I'd rather that than hit the ground!)
Sounds like the next thing they'll want is a full time security guard.
https://www.edgarsnyder.com/statistics/swimming-pool-statistics.html you really never want to have to hire these guys.


 
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Yes, but is there a lock on the gate in the fence around the pool? Or an alarm?

Here there isn't. I thought code only requires a conscious "breach of perimeter" action to be needed. I.e. open the gate and go in when you know you should not. Or, in this case, open the window and climb thru.

A closed window is the same as a gate without lock and without alarm, imo?
 
Are they requiring guardrails on the roof too?
 
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I guess I don't get it...what are they trying to prevent by securing the windows/doors...someone getting in your pool that shouldn't be there, or someone falling out a second story window into the pool? (I'd rather that than hit the ground!)
Sounds like the next thing they'll want is a full time security guard.
Code doesn't have to make sense, but it does have to be followed. Anytime the wall of a residence is used as part of the barrier fence surrounding a pool, all operable doors and windows in that barrier must be equipped with an alarm. The code actually doesn't specify whether my third and fourth floor windows must also have these alarms, I'd think the fall onto a stone and concrete patio will be a bigger concern than drowning in a pool, if a child makes it out of one of those, but I guess I'll learn about that at inspection.

The goal is preventing child drownings, I suppose, which isn't a bad thing. But often code implemented for one purpose doesn't take all variables into consideration, such as the fact that we have no sash counterweights + very difficult storm windows, meaning there's no way any child could ever hope to get out of one of the windows in the old part of our house. They're honestly more a hazard for the obstacle they create in fire escape, than any child accidentally getting out of one.

When we moved in All the double hung windows were screwed closed. They had a nice counter bored hole and a screw that utilized a special square head security key that we found in the back of a random drawer. Windows were all painted closed too. Then there were the storm Windows that were installed backwards and could only be opened from the outside.

My point being some device that secures the windows closed and can not be operated by hand, I would think, would render the windows non operational.
Had the same setup on my last house. Splitting hairs here, a key required to back out a sash bolt, versus an allen wrench required to remove the set screws pinning the latches. Not sure what argument they'd make against either, as once you require a tool, there's little chance of a child getting out.

If they do make an argument that this is still an operational window, my follow-up question will have to be as to exactly how many tools or dollars are required to make any window from "inoperable" to "operable", as at some point any hole in a wall filled with glass can be converted from "inoperable" to "operable". Even a fixed plate glass window can be converted to an exit very quickly and cheaply, with a sufficiently heavy object thrown through it.

Are you adding a pool heater?
Of course! Heat pump, which really only pulls about 20A. Pool is fully insulated, so heat loss is minimal, especially if you throw a solar cover on them overnight.

Yes, but is there a lock on the gate in the fence around the pool? Or an alarm?
All gates require either an alarm or a latch that must be located on inside of gate and above a certain height. It must be unlatched by reaching over the gate, so even height-challenged adults likely have trouble getting in. Gates must be sprung auto-close with auto latch. All pretty standard for pool fences.

Here there isn't.
I'd be real surprised if that's true. I haven't read every local codebook everywhere in the country, but all that I have read indicate these same requirements, or more.

A closed window is the same as a gate without lock and without alarm, imo?
Yeah, you would think so, wouldn't you! I agree, but again... code doesn't have to make sense, it just has to be followed.

Are they requiring guardrails on the roof too?
This is where I start to wonder about windows more than 6 feet above the patio. The code says "any window with a sill less than 4 feet above interior floor must be fitted with an alarm conforming to UL 2017," or something similar to that. That would technically include all windows on 5 walls of my house, going up 4 stories! The township engineer verbally said "first floor windows and doors", so that's what I'm rolling with now.

Patio has 4 different elevations, comprising about 2000 sq.ft. In some areas, the floor we identify as our basement (which was the first floor of the oldest part of the house) has windows at patio level, and the floor we identify as our "first floor" has windows with sills a good 6 feet above the patio. I'm assuming those windows would not require alarms, as they'd be identified as "second floor" from the outside. But again, we will see.
 
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They're honestly more a hazard for the obstacle they create in fire escape, than any child accidentally getting out of one.
That was where I was going with this...
 
Could you purchase all the alarms and code compliant accessories, get inspected, then remove and return them?
 
Could you? Yes. Would the attorneys have a good time if an accident happened after you removed all the alarms that the inspector documented ? I imagine so.