The city of Palo Alto, nestled in the heart of Santa Clara County’s “Silicon Valley”, is well known for being the home of Stanford University and dozens of high profile tech companies like Xerox, VMware, Hewlett-Packard, and Tesla Motors. Just like all the other surrounding communities in the Bay Area, if you want to make any alterations to your home you must comply with specific requirements set forth by city code. When it comes to Palo Alto window permits, the city sets forth the following guidelines:

Palo Alto Window Permits

In a nutshell, a building permit will be required when installing or making an alteration to a window in your home. This means that anytime the window frame or flashing is altered, a retrofit window is installed or replaced, or a window size or type is changed, you will need that permit to move forward with the work. He only instance when a permit is not required is if only replacing glass with the same type of glass as before.

General Requirements

  • If the opening is located within 24” from a door, less than 60” above a walking surface in habitable rooms and less than 60” above a drain inlet, then the new glazing must be safety glass
  • If there will be no changes made to the framing, then the new window must comply with current requirements for new construction as much as possible.
  • Replacement windows must meet certain environmental requirements, with a maximum U factor of 0.40 and a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.40

Room & Egress Requirements

  • All habitable rooms need to have the openings (windows, skylights, glass doors, etc.) equal to at least 10% of the floor area of the room, with 5% of those windows being operable.
  • For all “sleeping” rooms below the fourth story need to have one window that acts as an emergency escape, and have an operable area of 5.7 ft. and a minimum net clear dimension of 24” by 20”
  • For escape windows below the adjacent ground elevation, there must be a window well present, with a minimum clear opening of 9 sq. ft.
  • Any bars, gates or security features must be equipped with a release mechanism that can be utilized from the inside.

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